Most people across the world have now begun realising the importance of good health, which is very important to stay happy and positive in life. Despite living a fast paced life where time is money, allocating few hours from our daily routine for maintaining health is a must. It is no surprise that obesity and sedentary lifestyles are the leading causes of other life threatening diseases like diabetes, heart attack etc. So you need to work it out, and particularly include cardio vascular exercises in your fitness routine.
Cardio can help in burning that unwanted body fat which leads to obesity. The best part is that you don’t necessarily need any equipment to perform cardio workouts. Swimming, running, walking, bicycling and aerobics are all forms of cardio exercises. One may choose a cardio vascular exercise which they enjoy doing, and include variations in the routine to avoid boredom. Cardio not only contributes to weight-loss, but once the optimum body weight is achieved, it can also help you gain good muscles. Muscles which are hidden within the unwanted layers of fat become visible once the upper fat layers are thrown out of the body.
Benefits of Cardio
Cardio exercises are responsible for a good respiratory system and heart condition. It strengthens the heart and also aids in lowering one’s blood pressure by increasing the red blood cells count to mobilise oxygen within the body. In addition to weight loss and a better heart, cardio has a lot more benefits which are listed below:
- Increase in endurance
- Good state of mind
- Healthy and glowing skin
- Increases blood flow to the muscles
- Lowers heart resting rate
- Improves body metabolism
How to Perform Cardio Exercises at Home
Here’s a high intensity at-home workout session to help you stay energized and keep your metabolism high throughout the day. In order to boost your results with this workout regime, perform the 4-move warm-up exercises, and then immediately begin with the main circuit. Perform each exercise as fast as possible for 1 minute, without resting between the moves. After you finish the whole circuit, rest for 1 minute, and then repeat the main circuit 2 more times, 3 if you have time and energy left (no warm up). Finish off your fat-blasting session with the yoga cool-down.
Start with Warm-Up: A pre-workout is very essential to condition the body for a nice cardio session. It includes a set of reverse lunges, squats with arms overhead, bridges and planks with shoulder touch.
1. Reverse Lunges: Take a big step back with your left foot. Bend both knees to lower into a lunge, making sure your right knee is above the ankle and does not go too far beyond your toes. Drive off the ball of your right big toe to return to standing. Repeat, this time stepping back with your right leg. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps total, keeping your chest up the whole time.
2. Squats with Arms Overhead
Stand with feet hip-width apart and arms up, palms facing each other. Bend both knees and shift your hips back as though you are sitting in a chair. Draw shoulder blades down and back. Use your glutes to return to standing. That’s one rep. Do 10 reps in total.
Lie face up on the floor with your feet directly below your knees. Keep your hands by your sides and engage your glutes to lift your hips off the ground. Slowly lower back to the floor. Keep your neck and back relaxed as you use your glutes and hamstrings to lift up and down 10 times total.
4. Planks with Shoulder Touch
Come into a straight-arm plank position with hands directly under shoulders, forming a straight line from neck to feet. Without moving hips, touch right hand to left shoulder. Bring hand back underneath shoulder. Touch left hand to right shoulder. Repeat 10 times each side.
Moving On to the Main Set: It includes mountain climbers, burpees, squat jumps, skier jumps, pilates 100, downward dog, cat and cow, and warrior II.
5. Mountain Climbers: Come into a straight-arm plank position with your hands directly below your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from neck to your ankles. Lift your right foot and drive your right knee up into the center of your body. Quickly switch legs, driving left knee up into the center of your body. Try to keep your hips level and your shoulders directly above your wrists. Do as many as possible for 1 minute.
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend both knees, swing arms back, and drive off ground as high as possible. Land softly and immediately bend your knees, place hands on the floor in front of you, and jump your feet all the way back so you end up in a plank position. Lower your chest to perform a pushup. Jump both feet back in and stand. Immediately jump up to repeat. Continue to do as many reps as possible for 1 minute.
7. Squat Jumps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat (in preparation to leap). Explosively jump as high as you can. Land softly, and then immediately squat down to jump again. Imagine that you’re pushing the floor away from you as you leap. You can use your arms to help you jump higher. Do as many squat jumps as possible for 1 minute.
8. Skier Jumps
Stand tall with your feet, ankles, and knees glued together. Jump from side to side as fast as possible, keeping your chest lifted and landing softly. The height of the jump does not matter. Focus on the speed. Do as many jumps as possible for 1 minute.
9. Pilates 100
Lie face up with your knees and hips bent 90 degrees, hands by your side. Lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the ground, and begin to pulse your arms, taking long, deep breaths. Your core should be engaged the entire time so that everything but your arms stays completely still. Continue taking deep breaths until you get to 100 arms pulses.
10. Downward Dog: Come onto your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below hips. Spread your fingers wide and tuck your toes under. Inhale and lift your knees off the floor, pressing your hips up toward the ceiling. Draw your heels down to the floor or keep a slight bend in your knees. Press your hands firmly into the mat and draw your shoulder blades down. Keep the head between the arms. Take 5 deep breaths or as many as desired.
11. Cat and Cow
Come onto your hands and knees with hands directly below your shoulders and knees directly below your hips. Inhale to lengthen your spine. Without bending elbows or moving hips, roll your spine forward to arch your back. Lift your chin, chest, and hips to the ceiling, allowing your stomach to sink toward the floor. Once you’ve reached the fullest expression of your arch, round your spine toward the ceiling and release your head toward the floor. Move in a fluid motion for 5 deep breaths or as many as desired.
12. Warrior II
Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Turn your right toes out and left toes slightly inward. Bend your right knee and lower your hips down. Make sure your right knee is directly above your ankle. Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders and press the outside of the left foot into the mat. Continue to sink lower into your hips as spine stays long. Take 5 deep breaths or as many as desired.