Discover the ultimate way to get started with cardio exercise here. Did you know that cardio exercise provides a host of benefits to the body, and it does not stop in fat loss alone. It is one of the core workouts in any fitness routine. Although you know the importance of cardio, getting started with it is a different story. In your mind, you are already envisioning yourself with a lean body, but in reality, you can’t even seem to get yourself to move actively for half an hour. So how do you get the ball rolling and finally get yourself off that couch?
To get you started, choose an enjoyable cardio. Yes, cardio is an exercise. But no, you don’t have to feel miserable for wanting to do it. Getting started means finding the motivation and the enthusiasm to do so. And in terms of exercising, you should choose the ones that will make you want to do it instead of antagonizing on which ones you should do. Pick an activity that involves continuous movements and does not feel monotonous at all. Go swimming, running, cycling, dancing. Whatever it is, it should not stop you from moving and it should pump your heart rate up.
If this is your first foray into exercising, you might still not be aware of how much your body can handle. To avoid over training yourself and losing motivation in the process, start with a twice a week schedule with rest days in between. Observe how your body responds to the type of routine that you are doing. At the same time, you should also create a schedule on what you should do on that day. Scheduling and tracking your workouts will show if you are progressing in your cardio activities.
When creating a schedule, make cardio a part of your day. A lot of things can get in your way of working out. But the thing is, you will only push off the things that you think are not really your priority. Thus, if you really want to start doing cardio, you need to place it as one of your priorities. If you have a 9 to 5 job, you can schedule it in the morning, before going to work. If you already foresee a busy week ahead, schedule it in your most available day or on your free days.
You should also prepare your body for the training ahead. Provide your body with the nutrition that it needs to fuel your cardio. Do not go into a cardio session on an empty stomach as it can be detrimental to your fitness goals. Stay hydrated all throughout the session.
Although you would want to see results, don’t rush into your workout. Over training yourself at the first week can only lead to injuries. So listen to your body and only do what you are capable and comfortable with. Once you feel that you can do more, then push yourself up to your limit. Rushing into your workout will not only make you feel fatigued, it will also zap you of your motivation. Give your body the right amount of time to recover. On your first weeks, set a rest day in between cardio. Make sure to get sufficient amount of sleep. And on days when you feel sore and tired, don’t push yourself to do more. Take an extra rest day to help you recover better.
It can be very exciting to start your cardio exercises when you have the right outfit for it. Prep your workout gear and buy quality shoes for the activity. You can also download apps on your mobile to track the progress of every workout.
To streamline your cardio workout you need to know what goes on before, after and during your cardio session. Begin your session with a warm-up. Warm-ups aid in the gradual increase of heart rate. Aside from that, it also helps in improving your mobility for the physical activity and in decreasing the risk of cramps and other injuries. Finish off by cooling down after your workout. Stretch your muscles with a light cardio. Aside from relaxing your muscles, cooling down also aids in faster recovery.
Choose sprints over steady state cardio. Opt for cardio exercises with varying intensities and paces. Sprints help in building your leg muscles and also aid in increased metabolism, compared to a steady workout. Steady state cardio are only helpful when you are training for long endurance marathons. Otherwise, you would fare better if you have high intensity combined with intervals in your training.
Challenge yourself. Start out within a comfortable level and then push yourself to something more challenging. Discipline yourself not to quit and to not lose motivation. Fitness requires both of these factors for you to become more consistent and effective in your training.
Be progressive. Do not stop at where you feel most comfortable. When you are still starting out, it is normal to just do cardio for a few minutes. But as you move from one week to another, increase your workout time up until you can already do cardio for more than half an hour.
Put variations in your routine. Break up a boring monotonous routine. Introduce new components such as higher intensities, increasing your distances and prolonging your time. Pretty soon, you will be working out more than what you have originally planned. After a month, change your routine.
Track your workouts. Want to see how much you’ve progressed? Keep a log of your workouts, the intensities, your distance and the amount of time you have done it. This will help you understand which workouts have been effective and which ones you can do without.
With cardio, your main goal is to increase your heart rate up to get the full benefits. Monitoring your intensity keeps you in line with what workouts are more effective. One of the strategies to do this is by tracking your heart rate with the use of a monitor. In cardio, your targeted heart rate should be within the 60 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate. When doing low intensity cardio such as warm-ups and cool-downs, your heart rate will be at 60 to 70 percent, while maximum effort cardio will place you at 90 to 100 percent.
Another way to determine intensity is through perceived exertion. Here, you will rank how much you think you have exerted in your workout, with one as the lowest and ten as the highest in the scale. Lastly, a very simple way to monitor your exertion is through the talk test. When you are exercising and you can talk comfortably without panting, then you are doing it lightly. During intense cardio, it will be difficult to talk even with short sentences and you will already be running out of breath.