Monday, August 4, 2014

Cardio Is King

Apart from proper diet and nutrition, cardio is king when it comes to weight loss. Cardio is such a great weight loss tool because it gets your heart rate up, making your body work extra hard to provide oxygenated blood to all your muscles, allowing you to burn more calories. Cardiovascular activity can include anything from biking to swimming to jumping rope to dancing, and anything in between. It's always a good idea to switch up your workouts, but here's a few basic forms of cardio to get you started.

1. HIIT Workouts- HIIT (short for High Intensity Interval Training) workouts are amazing because they can be done in the comfort of your own home. They involve a series of high intensity bursts followed by short periods of rest/ recovery. Click here to read the article about HIIT workouts posted a few weeks ago.

2. Running- Running is awesome because it's a surefire way to get your heart pumping. Because it is high impact, it will raise your heart rate much faster than a low impact exercise, in addition to increasing the strength of your bones and tissues. The best thing about running is that you can do it practically anywhere. All you need is a good pair of shoes and you're set! If you want to burn some extra calories, try adding some simple intervals or hills to your run. By changing up the pace/difficulty of your run, your heart rate will constantly be changing, which will allow you to burn more calories.

3. Swimming- If you're body can't handle the rough impact caused by running or you're recovering from an injury, then you should jump in the pool. Swimming is great because it is extremely low impact, saving you from unwanted stress and pain on your skeletal system. Not only is it low impact, but it can do wonders for you in terms of building muscle. Because the water provides such an increased resistance to your natural movements, you will be able to build/ tone your muscles while getting your cardio in at the same time.

4. Hiking- What's there not to like about hiking? It's got everything you need in a workout...and its fun! Walking up and down uneven terrain will definitely get your heart rate up, tone your legs, and improve bone strength. Being outdoors will also provide you with your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun. Hiking is so great because you can make it as hard or as easy as you want. Trail maps always show you the easiest and most difficult ways to get up the mountain, which makes it super simple to decide which routes to take depending on how intense of a workout you're up for. If you really want to challenge yourself with the ultimate workout, you can even try running the trails.

For those of you who want to burn a few extra calories without doing an actual workout, try these simple ideas below:

  • Choosing a parking spot that's farther away so you'll have to walk a little further 
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
  • Take your dog for a walk
  • Get those pesky house hold chores done
  • Go play outside with your kids
  • Spice things up- spicy foods have been proven to help burn more calories
  • Do some calf raises or squats while you brush your teeth
  • Bike to work once or twice a week
Comment below with your favorite forms of cardio!


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