The fitter you are, the better you’ll feel. That’s why you should get the most out of your cardio routine, while working around your commitments to work, family etc. Three to four times a week is all you need to stay in shape, build muscle and control your weight. To give you an idea of how to ramp up your cardio routine, here are eight tips:
Set realistic goals
If you’re a seasoned pro, doing 30 minutes of cardio may seem like a breeze. For those who are new to working out or have only just started, set a goal before every workout. For example, if you are running and can only make it for 12 minutes before becoming winded, don’t try to get to 30 minutes right away. Start slow and aim for 13 minutes. After a few days of reaching 13 minutes, try for 14. Eventually you will be able to run for 30 minutes non-stop and get some sprints in there too.
Become acquainted with the machines
Cardio machines like treadmills, stationary bikes and ellipticals can seem scary at first. If you are a gym member or have your own exercise machine, you should use them regularly. Machines allow you to ramp up your cardio workout by changing speeds at intervals. You can also maintain a steady pace for 30 minutes on a treadmill while increasing the incline as if you were running up a hill.
Maintain healthy eating habits
An important aspect of ramping up your cardio routine is having the energy to do so. If you have eat a Big Mac trio then try and go for a run, your body won’t have the energy to keep you moving. Instead, it’ll focus on trying to break down the fat, processed sugar and heavy carbs in the meal. Make sure you are eating whole grains, fruits and veggies and lean proteins regularly so your body has the energy to keep you going during your workout.
Get enough sleep
When we don’t sleep enough we simply won’t have the energy to get in a proper cardio workout. Even if we do manage to get to the gym or go for a run, it won’t be nearly as effective as it would be if we were refreshed and alert.
Some people are able to get by on four hours of sleep while others require at least eight hours to properly function the next day. Find a number that works for your body and try and get that amount of sleep every night. Establishing a proper sleep routine is also an important. If you can, sleep the same amount of hours each night. If you’re unsure as to how many hours you need to sleep nightly, 7-9 hours is what is generally recommended for adults.
Go on an unstructured run
Running is great cardio and is something you can do without going to the gym or owning a treadmill. Runners and athletes use a common method that involves unstructured interval training. Based on the idea that your body will better respond to fast and slow movements, this type of running is done by moving for a total of 30 minutes and switching between sprints and jogging. Unlike traditional interval training, you won’t be stopping and starting again. You’ll be running for 30 consecutive minutes but, you’ll be alternating between a fast and slow gait.
If you are running outside, choose a street or trail that has landmarks such as benches, street lamps, etc. Set a timer for 30 minutes and start jogging. Every time you reach a landmark, sprint between it and the next one. Follow your sprint with a jog until you reach the next landmark. Sprint again and continue to alternate between sprints and jogging until the 30 minutes is up.
For treadmill running, you can set the machine to speed up at certain intervals before returning to a jogging pace. If your treadmill does not have this feature, you can manually change the pace when you feel like it’s time for a quick sprint. Make sure you stay on the treadmill for 30 minutes in total.
Unleash your inner climber
Climbing a hill is an ideal aerobic workout because it involves the whole body. When you walk or run up a hill you are lifting your knees high, pumping your arms and pushing off with your toes. Although, hills are easier on our bodies than sprinting on a flat surface, they do require us to be constantly moving against the incline.
You’ll need to find a semi-steep hill (gravel would be best but grass can work too). Sprint up the hill for about 15 seconds then walk down it. Do this 8-12 times and you’ve got yourself and incredible cardio boost. If the hill is too steep to sprint up, walk up as fast you can for 15 seconds before walking down at your normal pace. You can also walk up the entire hill quickly then walk down it.
Race your heart
Your heart rate plays a key role in keeping you healthy while you workout. If you are not reaching your maximum heart rate (MHR) while doing cardio, you’re not working as hard as you can and your body won’t burn as much fat and calories. Most smart watches and exercise machines come equipped with heart rate sensors or monitors that can help you see if you’re reaching your maximum rate.
To determine what your maximum heart rate is use the following formulas:
215 - (1.09 x your age) = MHR
202 - (0.55 x age) = MHR
If something hurts, stop
Getting the most out of your cardio workout means pushing through to the end. However, if something hurts, don’t make it worse by powering through until the pain is so intense you can’t function. Sprained ankles, pulled muscles and other injuries happen to everyone, including professional athletes. Don’t be a hero and try to keep going even though it feels like someone is stabbing your back with knifes. You can walk off a cramp in your side but you can’t walk off a broken toe.
if pain persists, seek professional help, contact Physiomed today.