Friday 29 November 2013

Get Fit Friday: Cardio tips...

With the temperatures in Korea recently dropping to low single digits, I have noticed how incredibly difficult it is to keep up my cardio fitness….so I thought I’d give you some simple tips today on how to stay fit during Winter. For those of you who are heading into Summer, I’m sure these tips will help you regardless.

What is Cardio??

Cardiovascular exercise is basically any type of physical exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs. {Running, cycling, dancing, walking, hiking, swimming…}

Why do Cardio??

Whether you want to get fit, stay fit, lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, cardio is essential to your wellbeing!!!! Gym workouts/ toning/ stretching are all good and well but they often fail to increase your heart rate and you thus cannot expect to lose much weight, or gain significantly in fitness, by avoiding cardio.

My top 5 Winter Cardio choices:

1.   Running
Being an enthusiastic runner, the idea of losing my running fitness due to chilly winter mornings is a no-go. Come rain or shine, I love hitting the road/trails a few mornings a week.

Yesterday, however, we woke to snow, so running outdoors was out of the question…That's where Treadmills come in!! I’m not a huge treadmill fan as I tend to get bored quickly while running on a treadmill so here are some tips that I go by:

A - In order to mimic road running, put your treadmills incline onto 1.

B - Keep your treadmill run interesting by choosing 1 or 2 of the following ideas:

- Starting with a 1 – 2km warm up run (average speed)
- Do intervals (Sprint for 1 minute, then jump onto the sides of the treadmill for 30sec) – repeat 5 times
- Do a pyramid run. Up your speed by 0.5km/hour (i.e from 9km/h to 9.5km/h) every km. When you reach your peak speed (or a set number of kilometers), decrease your speed by 0.5km/h every km until you reach your warm down pace.

2.   The Elliptical Trainer
The elliptical trainer is one of the most popular cardio machines at the gym and it's no wonder. It is a GREAT cardio workout, burns plenty calories and is fortunately done indoors J win win, in Winter!!
{This pic is for those of you who don't
know what machine I'm talking about}
This whole body workout can be done from anything from 15min to an hour. The longer you go for the better {be realistic though} and you can also increase the resistance in order to make your workout a bit tougher.
I usually use the elliptical trainer for at least 10 – 15mintues before I do my toning workouts at gym. It warms me up quickly as well as getting my heart rate up. 
3.   Spinning
Spinning is a FANTASTIC cardio workout for anyone who enjoys working out in a group, with a trainer and is somewhat comfortable on a bike. Although spinning isn’t quite the same as riding on the roads, it is so much safer and is a brilliant way to keep fit, burn LOTS of calories and have a good sweat!!

If you’re worried about over-committing yourself {not coping}, then arrive early and grab a bike near the door, that way you can always slip out early if need be…although I can guarantee that after 1 or 2 classes, you’ll be right there in the swing of things! 

4.   Home workouts
Depending on how intense your home workouts are, you can definitely call them ‘cardio’ if they get your heart rate up significantly!

-      Skipping: You can burn calories and up your heart rate with just 5 minutes of skipping.
-      Burpees: Although exhausting, they are oh-so effective. Here’s a youtube clip I found to help you master those Burpees.

There are also some great home workouts on the blogilates website – I love Casey’s videos! 

5.   Walking
I’m not a big ‘walker’ per say as I tend to start running whenever I go out for a walk…but in saying that, brisk walking can definitely be considered a cardio workout. A brisk walk will not only get your heart rate up but will also help you enter into your ‘fat-burning’ zone.

Lastly, there are no wrong or right cardio exercises; find the one or few that you enjoy doing most and stick to those. Remember that cardio should be fun so if you haven’t found your fix just yet, keep looking – Cardio doesn’t only benefit your health but with endorphins being produced while you exercise, it positivity affects your mood too!!

Happy Cardio-ing J


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