When it comes to working out, one of the most important things to take into consideration would be the cardio. Many gym rats opt to skip their cardio routine in favor of strength exercises because they don’t want to lose on the muscle mass.
This, however, is a mistake, because increasing your endurance and stamina through cardio will also help you achieve greater results when it comes to other forms of exercise!
In this article, we’ll talk about ways you can make the most out of your cardio exercises. As you will see, there are plenty of ways that you can make your cardio fitness sessions more exciting and useful for your overall fitness goals – especially if you look at the long-term results.
Right then, without further ado, here’s the deal.
6 Ways for Boosting Your Cardio Fitness
1) Do a Sprint-Walk Routine (Outdoors)
The recipe for pulling off an excellent sprint-walk routine is quite simple, indeed.
Choose your area of choice where you’ll do the sprint and then run as though the hounds of hell are after you! But then walk a certain distance, as well.
The thing is, this form alternating exertion represents a great way to stimulate your heart rate without putting too much pressure on it too early into your workout.
As you probably already know, cardio workouts are called ‘cardio’ because they stimulate your heart, so a routine that can enable you a steady stimulation of your heart rate can be an interesting addition to your workout plans.
The idea behind the sprint-walk approach is to warm up your body by walking fast and then the cardio part comes in when you start sprinting. The bursts of sprinting should last from 10 to 20 seconds, while the walking parts should be longer, so your body can climb down from the heightened energy levels you get from sprinting.
2) Track Your Heart Rate
If you fancy spicing up your workout routine, while also hauling in some technology onboard your workout train, so to speak, you can get a heart rate tracker and put it on your wrist during your workout sessions.
This little thingy will tell you exactly what your heart rate is after a short and explosive sprint, for example. Also, it will tell you what heart rate you’re averaging while running at a normal pace.
You can use this information to get an idea of what sort of shape you’re in at the moment. You can then determine what you need to do to bring yourself in a position where you’ll be able to run farther and faster while retaining roughly the same heart rate as before.
So, if you’re in doubt when it comes to how you should measure your progress when cardio’s in question, consider getting one of these heart rate monitors and write down the readings you get during your cardio workouts!
3) Sprint Up, Walk Down (Outdoors)
Even if you live in Vojvodina, Serbia, which is the flattest piece of land on this green Earth of ours, you’ll probably be able to find a steep street or a hillock somewhere in your vicinity.
The reason you need an incline is that to pull off this sprint up, walk down routine, you’ll need something steep to sprint up against. Also, the walking down part wouldn’t work if you don’t have an area to walk down from.
So, the main idea for this workout session would be the following:
Jog lightly to the place you’ve chosen. (If it’s not too far away. If it is, take the bus.) The jog itself should warm you up sufficiently so that you can start doing the exercise straight away. (If you’ve taken the bus, make sure to run about for a couple of minutes to get warmed up.)
Now, once you’re ready, sprint up the hillock and then once you’ve reached your vantage point, start going down slowly at walking pace. Simple as that!
4) Consider Taking Your Bike For a Rough Terrain Ride
While biking in itself represents an excellent form of cardio exercise, if you want to take it a notch up, what you might want to do is consider taking your bike rides to a hilly area.
Of course, you would need a mountain bike for this exercise, as those slim-wheel types they use on Tour de France won’t cut it. For riding your bike through tough mountain passages, you’ll need a model with a stronger frame and wide wheels. And also possibly with that bottle holder, for good measure.
The idea is to try to defeat various forms of rough terrain while pedaling. To achieve this, you’ll have to work hard to go over awkwardly-shaped rocks, slippery passages, and gravel, as well as balance so you don’t fall off a cliff.
So, what you get is a great cardio workout that also engages virtually all muscle groups to an extent. What’s not to love?
Also, in case you need some spare parts for your bike, you can check out some bicycle accessories online, rather than frequenting bike shops.
5) Use a Smartphone App
One of the best ways to track your fitness progress and set goals before you would be to use a special smartphone workout app. The main thing you need to take into consideration with these apps would be the fact that there is a sea of them out there in the online shops! This is why you’ll be able to find the one that suits your interests the most quite easily.
As you’ll see, having your workout routine set in detail within an app in your smartphone is something like having your coach! There are even some applications that allow you to track your progress and pursue different rewards as you go forth on your fitness path, so to speak. So, it’s like playing a mobile game and working out at the same time.
One other important aspect of these smartphone apps is that they also help you maintain the workout pace throughout the week, for example. So, they’ll help you maintain accountability, as well as tell you what to do and when to do it. Quite handy, isn’t it?
6) Use an Elliptical Machine (Indoors)
Now, here’s a doozy.
What if we told you that you can have almost all of the aforementioned aspects of a hefty cardio workout – in the comfort of your home!
That’s right, elliptical machines allow you to cycle and run (well, sort of) indoors and without ever leaving the spot you’ve placed the elliptical machine on. This option is a great workout strategy for folks who don’t have enough time to get an outdoors workout.
The interesting thing about this machine is also that you get a pulse measuring a thing, as well as various training apps as a part of the deal! (Well, to be fair, this is the case with most of the modern-day elliptical machines. Some of the older models probably don’t have the app and heart rate-measuring features.)
Of course, if you can, you should always try to go out and breathe in some fresh air as you’re doing your cardio workout. If your busy schedule won’t allow it, an elliptical machine can do the trick, as well. What’s important is to keep up the pace and to try to increase the threshold of what you can do while working out!