The first thought that pops into the mind when cardio is mentioned is often running. The two words cardio and running have become feared by many, who will do their best to avoid such an unpleasant experience. Luckily, you can work ‘cardio’ without having to pound the pavements or treadmill.
If you enjoy running, whether for long or short distances, then carry on your programme, you don’t have to stop if you enjoy it. However, if you shudder at the thought of going for a run down the street simply to get fit and in shape then there are many other ways to boost your cardio fitness. Plus if fat loss is your goal then you may find that these other styles suit you better.
First, let’s take a look at three benefits of adding cardio to your training programme.
Benefits of Cardio
- Heart Health – It can’t be denied that doing some form of cardio will help to keep the heart healthy. However, don’t think you have to go for a one hour run in order to be healthy. Your heart is a muscle just like any other and in order for it to become strong it must be worked. By getting the heart pumping at a faster rate on a regular basis you will keep it in shape and healthy.
- Increased Metabolism – This is a super bonus point! With the right type of cardio you can increase your metabolism alongside a well-structured resistance training programme. Generally, the more intense the cardio session, the better your metabolic rate. For example, intense interval sprints will work wonders for increasing the metabolism. An increased metabolism means a simpler solution to fat loss.
- Improved Recovery – Adding in a few easy going walks in the week will help your body to recover from other types of intense workouts. It will benefit the mind and body by allowing you to de-stress, reduce muscle soreness and feel fresh for the next harder session.
So in order to lose fat, feel fit and energised you can do something other than running? Yes.
Here are seven ways to do cardio without running:
- Walking – Yes, going for a walk is cardio and is in fact one of the best ways to improve your cardio health. This is a simple and effective movement that can be done almost anywhere without equipment. Do this for enjoyment, do it daily, take the dog with you, take different adventures; most importantly go at your own pace. Aim to do a daily 30 minute walk.
- Skipping rope – This is a fantastic tool to get the heart rate up, and a perfect piece of equipment for being cheap, effective and take on your travels.
- Kettlebell swings – Another great piece of equipment that is effective and can be taken on travels. This would pair nicely with a skipping rope for a super-efficient interval heart busting session. The kettlebell is fantastic for conditioning as it works the whole body and will work muscle strength as well as cardiovascular health.
- Battling ropes – These are incredibly fun! If you can get your hands on a set of battling ropes then be prepared to get your heart rate fired up – this beats going for a run any day. Performing a short burst of intervals is a perfect addition to your programme.
- Sled – The sled is a mighty tool that will bring out your inner warrior. It is great for working the muscles, especially the legs and booty, whilst feeling the power of the heart beat. Adding sled work to a session is a great way to aid fat loss!
- Hill sprints – This does involve running, however at a much better pace. The beauty of this is you can do the session in a much shorter time compared to a long run and greatly increase your results for fat loss and fitness.
- Dancing – A perfect way to add fun to your week without feeling like you have to “workout” for better cardio. You could join a dance class at a studio, go with a friend or partner, or bust out some moves around the house. Get the heart rate up by feeling the vibes of the music!
An Example Workout
Perform as a circuit as an interval workout. 3 to 5 sets, 30 seconds of work with minimal rest between each movement:
- Rope skipping
- Walking lunges (no weight)
- Kettlebell swings
- Push ups
- Mountain climbers
Give one of these suggestions a go and start to feel the benefits of working your cardio without the long drag of a run!