Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Different Kind of Cardio

"I have a very eclectic Ipod, so I've got my cardio ... anything from Beyonce to Jay Z to Janelle Monae, her song 'Tightrope,' that's a good cardio song." - Michelle Obama

I hate running. Most of my friends are runners. They often invite me to go running with them, especially on the stairs at seacliff. If you live in the 831 area and you don't know these stairs, you've probably either been living under a rock or don't live a very active lifestyle.  

I'm not a runner. My knees swell up, my ankles hurt, and I get dizzy because I tend to already have very low blood pressure. This uphoria all my runner friends tell me about, this great feeling after you run, I've never felt. I just feel like I need ice and a little faint. But hey, it's not for everyone. And if you aren't a runner there's some good news- there are great cardio alternatives out there:

Structured running or agility training- This is great because it allows me to still kind of run but not for the long distances that kill my body, but in shorter more intense sessions that leave my heart pumping and legs looking fab! For agility training- set up an obstacle to jump over, a ladder to run through/hop through/whatever, get a workout band and run banded squats forward backward and sideways, throw in some jump squats (try one legged!) and you'll be burning calories as well as muscle, hardcore. 

Biking- obviously

Elliptical machines/ bike machines/ tread mills- This is always a go to at the gym for cardio. Mix them up regularly for more results. I like ellipticals because they are low impact on the joints, so I will do that for ten minutes at the beginning of my workout but hop on the bike, stair master, or tread mill for an additional 10-15 minutes at the end.

Spin class- So good! I loved it, but haven't been going lately. Read my other post on spin class for more details!

Arobics/ Zumba/ Dance- It's fun and calorie burning, and hey, Michelle Obama is into it. Dance it out!

Jumping rope- The best cardio workout you will EVER do. I talk about this in several other posts. A recent SHAPE magazine article also raved about the benefits of jump roping, read it here. It boosts your metabolism all day and works every muscle in your body if you do it properly. Find out more at fitness magazine jump rope basics. Also, I have heard from someone who goes to the gym with John Basedow that he is all about jumping rope, and we know he's got his cardio on point! If it works for him, it works for me!

High intensity interval training- HIIT- Interval training is my favorite workout right now, and doing it at high intensity with no or few breaks will leave you glowing, heart racing, and feeling the burn. There are lots of HIIT workouts you can find on the internet. The most important thing is to mix it up and not do the same workout all the time for maximum impact.

Hiking, walking, and other outdoor activities- While not exactly a cardio workout, being active outside promotes healthy blood flow and circulation. It's part of a healthy lifestyle and promotes a good cardiovascular system.