It’s official. We all hate cardio.
It makes our lungs hurt, it makes us excessively sweaty, it makes us want to cry. Particularly running.
Unfortunately, cardio is a really crucial part of your fitness regime – not only for burning calories, but for improving your heart health and your overall fitness levels.
If you’re not a natural runner, jumping on the treadmill or pounding the pavement for a morning jog might be your idea of hell – luckily there are plenty of other forms of cardio that can be just as effective in getting you fit and toning your body.
‘The world is your oyster when it comes to different options of cardiovascular exercise,’ explains Dan Barrett, instructor at FLYKICK.
‘I’m a big believer in the best option being the one you enjoy the most, are able to do the most frequently and that corresponds best with your goals.
‘For example, if you hate sprints and interval training, the likelihood of you dragging yourself to the treadmill and doing them regularly is a lot lower than if you chose a form of exercise that you at least can bare or look forward to doing for 40-55 mins at a time.
‘So the big take away, there is no one perfect style of cardio. Different exercises serve their purpose in different ways, so find an option that works best for you, that you can fit into your schedule, training goals and current fitness level, but most importantly that you enjoy.’
We asked Dan to break it down for us and explain the benefits of alternative forms of cardio if you’re not a fan of running.
This is a great low-impact alternative to running and what’s brilliant is that it’s easy to do anywhere.
A lot of people find going for a long bike ride therapeutic and use it as a way to get that cardio in and sustaining it for a long period of time without feeling too much like you’re exhausting yourself.
But equally, depending on your training goals, you can mix it up by incorporating hills or changing the tempo and adding some sprints.
This is a brilliant full-body cardio workout, particularly good for joint health and improving your range of motion.
If you are suffering from an injury that mean’s avoiding impact is necessary, then introducing swimming will help you to rebuild your cardiovascular fitness during your recovery to full health.
Body weight HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT can be extremely beneficial, especially for goals such as fat loss, as well as building strength and maintaining muscle mass.
A good programme will incorporate elements of resistance training (this can be body weight exercises such as squats, press-ups and lunges) as well as cardiovascular exercises like high-knee sprints and tuck jumps.
Working out in this way can produce Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (the EPOC effect) which means that you can continue to burn calories for 24 hours post workout, making it particularly effective.
It’s worth noting though that HIIT puts your body under higher stress than some of the lower impact alternatives, and therefore it wouldn’t be advisable to train in this way every day as you need to give your body time to recover – which is when the real magic happens!
Aside from being incredibly fun and an incredible stress reliever, kickboxing will give your whole body a phenomenal workout.
Engaging your core when punching and kicking the bag works your abdominal muscles in a way that you will struggle to get from any other cardiovascular exercises – and will actually help you feel stronger when you do come to other activities like running or swimming.
Going the distance for multiple rounds will help build your stamina and as you’re too busy remembering the combinations, which also helps your coordination, it makes it easier not to think about beginning to fatigue.
At FLYKICK, classes are a combination of HIIT and kickboxing; which means you’ll struggle to beat it when it comes to building both strength and cardiovascular fitness.
Multiple rounds on the heavy punch bags act as conditioning work, but with the great music and encouragement from the instructor you can lose yourself in the workout, forget about being tired and keep going for longer.
The HIIT rounds incorporate body weight and free weight exercises which work your full body, building up that power and muscular endurance so you’ll emerge feeling fitter and stronger.
And who doesn’t want to take all their stresses out on a bag for 45 minutes?
I am Team GB
Toyota has teamed up with Team GB to re-launch the hugely successful participation campaign ‘I am Team GB’.
Inspired by the achievements of Team GB athletes and the amazing efforts of local community heroes, Team GB has created ‘The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day’, which will take place on the 24thAugust.
Over the weekend, there will be hundreds of free and fun activities across the country, put on by an army of volunteers; the ‘I am Team GB Games Makers’.
To Join the Team and be part of The Nation’s Biggest Sports Day sign up at: www.IAmTeamGB.com
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