Saturday, April 4, 2009

Creative Cardio

I admire people who look forward to their 1 hour of treadmill or cross-trainer, day after day, after day without feeling a tinge of boredom!
For the rest of us who cannot even think of more than 15-20 minutes on any machine, fret not! There are many creative ways to ensure a cardio workout that lasts atleast 30 min to an hour.

One of the easiest and most popular ways is – Interval Training. Other options include cross-training, boot-camps, circuit training etc.
The basic concept of Interval Training is to alternate periods of high intense and low intense activities and thus extend the total period of exercise routine. In special cases, the low intense activity could also mean rest, however it is not useful if your target is a cardio activity to burn fat!

You can really use your creativity to spice up your routine. A few examples are given below -

a) Incase you cant sustain the treadmill/cross trainer beyond 15 min either due to boredom or low capacity, alternate the 10-15 min of cardio with callisthenic (using your own body weight and no additional weights) workout using either abdomen or leg exercises.
Perform a couple of sets of 3-4 exercises of each muscle group and then return to the Cardio machine. Remember to end with a stretching based cool-down.

b) You can also alternate cardio machines with other cardio activities like a jog in the surrounding area, skipping, stepping, climbing steps up and down or spot jogging.

c) Another way is to alternate Cardio machines with weight-based activities, using low weight – high reps especially of the upper body like for example push-ups or pull-ups. You can also focus on legs using exercises like squats, lunges or step-ups.

The combinations can be many, as you can see above. The only care to be taken is to ensure that all activities leave enough energy to perform the next activity and hence, it is preferable to alternate high intensity activities with low-intensity ones! End with a proper cool-down for best results.

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