It’s no secret that regular cardio exercises are a great way to stay in shape. We’ve known that sweating off the pounds was good for us ever since Jack Lalanne made it popular in the 1950s. My grandma was a huge fan and often quoted him to remind us that “people don’t die of old age, they die of inactivity.” Her hero was pretty old by the time I laid eyes on him, so I figured she must be right.
Grandma would take us on day-long walks and make sure that we did plenty of cardio exercises naturally by running, jumping, and playing at the park. Of course, she fell in love with Richard Simmons too in the 1980s. By then, I happily exercised in front of the television with her. It was more like a dance party. Not only did I get in the habit of exercising with grandma, but she also gave me memories I cherish. She knew children love attention and used that to get us up and moving around, as well as to help herself get a workout. Not to mention that she was a great role model who lived into her 90s. Thanks, grandma.
We want to give you a full array of cardio exercises to try, but don’t take this article as medical advice. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking on any activity that increases your heart rate.
Benefits of Cardio Exercises
Regular cardio exercises give you more energy because they increase blood flow. As a result, your heart doesn’t have to work as hard when you’re not exercising, and your blood pressure gets lower. Accelerated blood flow to the brain dramatically reduces your chances of having a stroke. Your memory and thinking ability will improve too, along with a reduced likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. The increased oxygen that comes with being physical will help your muscles get stronger than if you’re sitting on the couch, and soon you’ll need to modify the routine you started with because it’ll be too easy. The Cleveland Clinic recommends that you do either a 30-minute workout five times a week, or break it down to three 10-minute workouts five or more times per week.
You may not have much endurance when you begin an aerobics routine; however, walking, jogging, and swimming are all activities that will give you more stamina. Set goals based on where you are now and boost the action as your endurance develops. You have a better chance of maintaining an exercise routine when you’re a beginner if it’s associated with something you enjoy, like dancing. Monitor your heart rate by checking your pulse regularly. It’s a good idea to keep a journal to check your progress as well.
Low impact 30-minute cardio exercises for beginners
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that low impact means there’s not as much of a workout as high impact. Low impact cardio exercises test your stamina. It’s easier on your knees, though. The movements give you an option of going more slowly if needed, too. Therefore, you can stick with a routine that is easier when you’re starting out, but flexible enough to increase its impact as you get stronger. This 30-minute workout from the Body Project is easy to adjust to fit your ability by merely slowing down or speeding up with each action. As the instructor points out, you’ll want to have a towel and plenty of water.
Marching in place is a typical warmup to an aerobic workout. The higher you lift your knees, the more effort you’re putting into the movement and the more you will increase your heart rate. Next, we go into intervals, so you can look forward to 15 seconds of rest in between 30 seconds of each of three exercises, starting with modified jumping jacks.
Three movements with three rounds each
There’s no jumping though, that’s what makes modified jumping jacks low impact. Don’t worry; they’re still a serious workout as you stretch one leg at a time out to the side, while you’re lifting your arms. The next move involves switching between squatting and standing while you continue to punch straight out in front of your body. First, you squat and punch for 15 seconds, then you stand and punch for 15 seconds. Then relax for 15 seconds. It’s helpful to move even during the relaxing phase. Finally, the third part of the exercise is known as the squat and hamstring curl. For this move, you’ll squat down, and stand up. Each time you stand, you’ll curl one leg toward your backside. Alternate legs each time you stand. These three exercises are done one following the other and are repeated three times for a total of 30 minutes.
Quick sweat cardio exercises from Fitness Blender
Work up a quick sweat with eight different exercises lasting 45 seconds each. Music is the one thing this video is lacking. It’s good to be able to hear the instructors voice, but training is a lot more fun with tunes. You can add your favorite songs, once you get the moves down. Fair warning, this one takes some coordination!
These are high impact exercises because you are going to be doing some jumping as soon as you start. That means these actions are harder on your knees. We begin with delayed pendulum swings, which has you hopping as you swing one leg out to the side at a time.
High-impact cardio exercises
The next move is a combination of punches and jumping jacks. First, you do two hooks, then two uppercuts, and finish with two jumping jacks. Repeat for 45 seconds. The third movement is a lateral cross lunge which combines a lateral jump with a lunge. Next, the instructor moves into four jack steps and two cross-over jumps, followed by lateral burpees.
To do a burpee, you drop down into a pushup stance then jump your legs back to your chest and stand. Next, jump-step to one side then and do the whole thing over again. To complete the move, you jump back to the center, do the rotation. Then jump to the opposite side, execute the movements, and return to center.
For the next set, you’ll be doing running man kicks. They create a rocking motion in which you start with your right leg, kicking out front, followed by your left leg, kicking behind you. You’re swinging your arms at the same time, so when your right leg is in front, your left arm is coming out in front of your body as well. You’ll switch off and start with your left leg in front during the 45-second interval. Next, you’ll be doing two hop squats and follow them up with the last move, a side lunge with two jumping jacks.
4 minutes of cardio exercises for your heart
If you want high-intensity cardio exercises, but the last video we looked at was too intense for now, take a look at this one. The four activities in this routine are 20 seconds of high-intensity movements, followed by 10 seconds of rest. You’ll do the whole thing through twice for a total of four minutes. We start with the fake jump rope, jumping for 20 seconds. Then you’ll rest. You’ll still be moving during the rest period, but it’s light jogging in place, reminiscent of low impact aerobics.
For the second exercise, we go into cross-jacks. They’re similar to jumping jacks. Except with crossjacks, you cross your arms over one another when you jump, instead of raising them over your head. At the same time, your legs go in a scissors motion, crossing over each other and switching the lead leg with each jump. After resting for 10 seconds, we move into skaters, which is a variation of the side lunge we looked at earlier. The routine finishes with 20 seconds of burpees, and you do the whole thing one more time through.
23 cardio exercises for your core
By now you may be getting excited about the variety of cardio workouts you can do to work up a sweat. But wait, there’s more. In the following video, you’ll get 23 exercises that will not only get your heart pumping, but they’ll also help strengthen everything between your shoulders and knees.
One example of the moves you’ll learn in this video is the push-up back walk, which has you falling forward into a push-up position. Next, you walk your arms back to your body and stand. Repeat this move rapidly to get the full cardio effect. Another one of the fantastic cardio exercises from this video is the roll-to-stand move. It’s opposite of the push-up back walk in that you start in a standing position, then fall back into a sitting position and lie down. Next, you raise your legs in the air and push down with your arms on the floor for leverage as you use your legs to raise your body back up to a full stance.
Get in the Zone with Zumba
Zumba combines cardio exercises with dance. It’ll help you work up a sweat and build muscle. Plus the music keeps you going. Who wouldn’t want to give it a try?
20 minutes of Zumba cardio exercises
Strong by Zumba isn’t a dance class; nevertheless, each move in this 20-minute workout is choreographed to fit perfectly with the music.
We always start with a warm-up before going full-on into cardio exercises, and Zumba is no different in that respect. Each of the exercises is easily modified. There’s a participant in the right-hand section of the video that models how to do each piece in a low impact way. Zumba takes a whole lot of endurance and likewise will build yours. Be prepared; the music starts out slow and comfortable, increasing in speed as the workout intensifies. Fortunately, you can slow your roll to low impact at any point. So if you get tired, don’t stop, ease up a bit. You’ll get a little recharge break every five minutes at which time you’ll do a slow march while you ready yourself for the next set.
Another form of high-intensity cardio exercises, a Tabata workout is a challenge that is sure to increase your stamina. Each Tabata movement lasts for four minutes. You work hard for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds, for 8 intervals. As with the other aerobic workouts we’ve explored you always have the option to modify a move to fit your endurance level.
30 minutes of Tabata cardio exercises
Our article is meant to give you some ideas about what you can do to make cardio exercises a part of your life. Nonetheless, while we’re talking about Tabata, it’s a good time to remind you that you always need to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.
Here’s a full-body workout that will burn some serious calories. This warm-up starts with a kick, how high you kick depends on your level of fitness. Next, you’ll move into rotating those kicks. Now, you’re going to run in place for high intensity, and do butt kicks. Once you’re done running, you’ll be springing up and landing softly with a slight bend in your knees. Guess what? That was the warm-up. Now you’ll get into the Tabata interval training. It starts with full-on high intensity jumping jacks.
Working up a Sweat with Cardio Exercises
Whether you jog, jump, or workout with a video, getting your heart rate up and pumping will help not only your blood pressure but also your brain. It may be difficult to think about getting off the couch if you’re tired from working a long day. Let’s face it, with work and our busy lifestyles it’s hard to fit in an exercise routine. But if you get motivated to do so, you will only get more comfortable with the routine. And, committing to daily cardio exercise is one thing you’ll never regret. Maybe try it in the morning before work to kickstart your day.
Featured Image via Pexels