Cardio Exercises

Following are a few of our favorite cardio exercises (scroll down or click on the link to go to that topic):

Jump RopeCalisthenicsClasses

Walking Walking is an activity most of us have been able to do since we were infants. If done the right way, can also be one of the best cardio exercises that is not only enjoyable, but something we can do hopefully do for the rest of our lives.

When I say "done right", I don't mean putting one foot in front of the other. I may to make your walks a little more strenous than a leasurly stroll. To get a cardio workout, you're walks should be at a brisk pace. You should be able to have a conversation with a partner, but you should feel warm when done. A casual walking pace is about 3 miles per hour. You should be targetting closer to 4 miles per hour.

One of the biggest advantages of walking is that you can do it almost anywhere, at almost any time. No special equipment is needed, though comfortable clothes and good sneakers will make your walk more enjoyable. On a nice day, take a walk around your neighborhood. If you have a dog, treat him to a long walk. Let him do his business in the beginning, then train him to walk without stopping (this was hard to do with my labrador, who liked to stop every 5 feet to smell everything).

My favorite walks have been on vacations, where I'd wake up early and see the sights before everyone else gets up. Since walking isn't too strenous, I can easily go for an hour or more and still have plenty of energy for the rest of the day. Half an hour one direction away from the hotel and then back. Each day, I'd head out in a different direction and return before breakfast.

If you're new to exercising, walking is the best exercise to start with. If you can walk at a good pace for 5 minutes, work towards increasing to 10 minutes. When you can easily do 10 minutes, set your goal to 15 minutes. By slowly but steadily increasing the time of you walks, you'll be surprised how long you'll be able to go in no time.

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Running Chances are, you either love running or you hate it. If your somewhere in the middle, you probably haven't been a runner for very long.

In my opinion, there is no better cardio workout than running. You're in complete control on the type of workout you want. Some days, when it's nice outside and I have a lot of free time, I'll go long and easy. Some days I don't have much time so I'll run hard and make the workout quick. While some days I'll run some fast and some easy, almost as a child would play.

If just starting out, run easy and take plenty of walking breaks. I very popular type of cardio workout is to mix running and walking. Run for 5 minutes then walk for 5 minutes. Keep doing this until you reach your desired time or distance. As you get in better shape, the length of time of each can be modified. A popular approach for completing a marathon has been following this pattern. You may not set a world record, but you should be able to finish.

You may think that running takes no additional equipment. Just put on your sneakers and go. I have to disagree. Running shorts and shirts may feel more comfortable, but not necessary to enjoy running. The one piece of equipment I strongly recommend is properly fitting running sneakers. For a first timer, you may want to go to a running store, who has experts in determining the best sneaker for you. Once you know your sneaker type and size, you may then want to be over the internet to save some money.

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Swimming Most agree that swimming is the best, low impact workout. Swimming gives you a total body workout, improving your muscle tone and endurance. Since it is low impact, you should be able to continue swimming well into golden years.

The only real negativity of swimming is that it's not easily available. You need access to a pool or body of water (ocean or lake). If outdoors, you need warm weather. If indoors, the cost of joining a gym with a pool may be expensive.

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Bicycle Just like swimming, bicycle riding is a low impact activity allowing you to do often and continue as you age. Most gyms have stationary bicycles, or purchasing one for your home isn't too expensive. There are a lot of options when purchasing a stationary bicycle. Below are just a few examples of the different types of exercise bikes available:

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Rowing Rowing machines have been around for many years, but only recently have been gaining in popularity. New rowing classes are being added to health clubs to join spin, boxing, etc. When done right, using your legs along with your back, shoulders and arms, rowing is a full body workout.

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Jump Rope Remember jumping rope on the playground when you were a kid? Boxers were one of the first to realize that there's a lot more to jumping rope than just the fun of it. Though you can get by with just a simple rope, buying a good jump rope will only cost a few dollars and worth the investment. You don't need much space to jump rope, but you do need a fairly high ceiling (or do it outside).

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Calisthenics Jumping jacks, burpees, etc.

Cardio exercising can be defined as anything that gets your target heart rate zone and keeps it there for a defined length of time. Not very easy, but you can make calisthenics become part of your cardio workouts. You just have to jump from one exercise to the next, will little time in between. If you have the motivation and the drive, give this a try.

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Classes Aerobics, spin, cardio boxing, etc.

If you belong to a health club, taking a class is a great way to get in a painless and fun cardio workout. Try different classes until you find the ones that you like best. It's likely you'll like some instructors more than others. So if you take a class and don't like it, don't give up on classes. Just pick another type of class or a different instructor for the next workout.

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