Cardio for Fun

We already know how great aerobic activities are for your heart, body and mind. After all, regular cardio exercise has been shown to reduce body fat, decrease total cholesterol, boost mood, lower resting heart rate, and improve heart and lung function but how can we add to traditional cardio fitness to keep your workouts interesting.Try something fun, something that you wouldn’t really think is a cardio workout. Get your trainer involved too. They will keep your cardio routines fresh so you don’t start dreading it. You may not realize that a lot of the activities you may do around the house, or do with your kids are great cardio workouts.

There are hundreds of cardio options out there. The trick is picking a few that you like and then doing them at an intensity that is high enough to count as cardiovascular exercise. To be considered a cardiovascular workout, you need to meet two principles. 1) Intensity has to be high enough to elevate your heart rate into an aerobic zone which is 55% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. 2) For any activity to count as cardio, it has to last at least 10 minutes per session. And for best results, you need to do at least 3 days of cardio (with no more than 2 days off between sessions) per week.

There are fun activities that we did as kids and may do now while playing with our kids. Try some out to get your heart rate pumping and those lungs working.

  • Walking the dog
  • Playing Dodge Ball
  • Tag
  • Hula Hooping
  • Obstacle Courses
  • Jump Rope
  • Water games
  • Skipping
  • Hop Scotch
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Trampoline Jumping

There are many other forms of cardio activities that you can add to your regular fitness routine including classes or group training so speak with your trainer to discuss what’s available.

Have fun finding some new favourite cardio exercises. There are so many choices now, there’s no excuse to get bored or dread cardio ever again.

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Cardio Exercise Classes

There are virtually thousands of cardio classes advertised in facilities, not to mention the apps now available and even classes offered on television. While any cardio exercise will be beneficial, most people struggle with maintaining exercise for long periods of time. This usually happens for a myriad of reasons, but most commonly people quit their classes due to boredom or because the class they have chosen simply isn’t suitable for their interests or fitness level. By choosing the proper cardio class, you will not only reap more benefits, you will be more likely to stick with it for the long haul.

Which Class is Right for Me?
The cardio class you choose should be aligned with whatever fitness goals you currently have. These goals will be dependent on various factors such as how much weight you want to lose, the time frame you have set for your weight loss and what your body is capable of. You should also select classes that truly interest you so that you will keep going and remain committed.

Most people that exercise and take cardio classes will encourage others to choose classes that directly speak to their interests. It is also helpful if you convince a friend to engage in the classes with you. Those who have exercise partners tend to lose more weight and are less likely to abandon their goals because it provides a social outlet and also promotes accountability to someone other than themselves. On days where motivation is lacking, there is always a partner to motivate and get you moving when you don’t want to.

Cardio Classes for Quick Weight Loss
If your fitness goals are rigorous and you need to lose weight in a short span of time, the cardio class you choose will need to be high intensity and the number of classes per week will have to be increased. High intensity classes which burn hundreds of calories in one sitting include Zumba (a salsa dancing inspired class) which incorporates some basic dance moves, as well as core moves for toning.

Other classes such as Boxercise are also intense classes that burn a lot of calories and are great for those who like classes that are varied and keep them moving (and who have short attention spans!) If dancing or mock punching bag intervals aren’t your thing, then engaging in a cycling class will also maximize calorie burning but are more stationary for the non-dancer.

Physical Limitation Classes
Many people have physical limitations from previous injuries or surgeries. Although this makes finding a cardio class more challenging, there is absolutely no reason that even with physical limitations, one cannot engage in cardiovascular exercise. The trick is to find a class that will benefit you but won’t cause further injury or irritation and there are plenty of them.

Such classes include ones like water aerobics where the intensity is still pivotal but working out in the fluidity of the water lessens the pressure and shock absorbed by muscles, limbs and joints. Because the water acts as a resistant, you can still get the benefits of the exercises but are less likely to agitate existing physical problems.

Other classes such as Yoga although not typically classified as cardio, can also be beneficial for those with limitations. The classes focus on breathing and core exercises and although there is no jumping or quick movement, a ton of calories can still be burned in each class.

Sport-Minded Classes
If your injuries are not serious, other cardio classes that are still mid-impact such as spinning classes or ballroom dancing are great ways to burn calories and drop inches and are suitable for those with some limitations.

For those who are not limited in mobility and who want to see fast results in both inches lost as well as toning, taking classes that are seasonal is a great option. Classes such as cross country skiing are excellent for toning, weight loss and cardio exercise, as are group hiking classes in the warmer months. And because these ‘sportier’ exercises are more like hobbies, most don’t feel like they are exercising so they tend to stay committed to the classes for longer periods of time.

Kickboxing is another popular cardio infused class that almost every gym offers and it burns upwards of 600-900 calories per class. The highly intensive class is great for those that want to work on balance, toning and stamina as well as reaching their weight loss goals.

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