It’s a well known fact that cardio-centric exercises should be a part of every workout routine, but do we truly know why cardio is so good for us? There are some obvious standard lines of thought you likely go to, like “it can help me lose weight” or “it’ll help tone my body,” but cardio exercise is much more than a diet supplement. Cardio activities can help to lower stress, strengthen your heart and lungs, help promote better sleeping habits, relieve anxiety and depression symptoms and reduce the chances of heart disease and cancer.
What if that’s not what’s really holding you back from cardio, though? You know the benefits, but you just don’t have time for lots of running or going to the gym for fitness training. The good news is that cardio exercises are actually quite simple, which makes them easy to do every single day — whether you’ve got 15 minutes of time to spare or a full hour.
These four cardiovascular activities are easy to do, don’t require lots of equipment and don’t take up much time. Do as many or as few as you can and you’ll still be on the right track to heart health and a slimmer waist.
The best thing about aerobics is that as long as you aren’t incorrectly stimulating your muscles, there aren’t many rules. In general, aerobics is simply movement that gets your heart pumping continuously, and there are a variety of ways to make that happen. Something like dancing can be considered an aerobic exercise, or step aerobics if you want something more simple. The point is that 15 minutes of continuous movement that gets your pulse elevated can be considered a cardio workout.
Kickboxing is best done in a classroom environment, but the beauty of the Internet is that you can learn pretty much anything online. Find some credible workout videos on a fitness site or YouTube and get to practicing! Kickboxing is an excellent form of exercise that can tighten your core, build up your upper body strength and can be used as self-defense in sticky situations.
Remember that playground game you used to love as a little girl in school? There’s no age limit to jumping rope, especially considering how great it is for your health. Put on some music and get on a flat, outside surface. No need to get fancy and play Double Dutch — just have fun jumping for a few minutes at a time. You’ll be amazed by how invigorating it actually is!
You can get all of the cardio benefits of running while you stay inside — and in the same place! High knees only require that you lift your legs up as high as they can go while jogging in place. This exercise helps with flexibility, heart stimulation and builds up your leg muscles. It can be exhausting, but the long term results are well worth it.