If you’re like me, you have to push yourself to do your cardio workouts. They can get boring and take all your willpower to get up to do them in the first place. Then it seems like you work and work at them and the scale doesn’t budge. Am I right?
Okay, that was me as an average guy talking. But, as a cardiologist, I want you to understand that cardio workouts are necessary annoyances that will keep your heart, and the rest of you, healthy and living much longer. So, I’ve come up with several cardio workouts that not only will build heart and lung health, but they’ll torch between 300-400 calories and finally get that scale moving downward. Best of all, you’ll be done in only 30 minutes. Deal? Here they are…
Your Cardio Workout: The Best Results in the Least Time
Before I tell you which cardio workouts will benefit your heart the most in the least amount of time, I want to explain one of the cardinal rules of cardio that you may never have heard of. That is, in order for cardio exercise to be effective, it needs to be a type of workout that you are the least efficient at. What does that mean?
It means that, if you’re walking frequently throughout your day, every day, your body has gotten used to it. It’s learned how to adapt itself to performing that activity without expending much energy. When you do it, your heart rate doesn’t increase much (like it should to strengthen your heart and burn fat), you don’t sweat much and you’re not out of breath. You’re body has become “efficient” at walking. So, the same type of walking you do everyday, then, would not be the type of cardio exercise you should do if you’re trying to lose weight and strengthen your heart.
You need to choose a cardio workout that you’re not efficient in. Like running, incline treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike, using an elliptical with the resistance set up on it, whole body TRX or plyometrics, aerobic dance, etc. It has to be something that you don’t do very often, or better yet, have never done, that will challenge your cardiometabolic efficiency.
Becoming efficient in a certain workout is caused by doing the same workout over and over. You need to switch up your routine. So, one day you might do a stationary bike, incline treadmill the next, running on another day, swimming one day, aerobic dance, boxing, etc, on other days. You have to keep your mind, heart and body challenged in order to make progress.
So with that explanation out of the way, here are some of the best cardio workouts that I’ve put together for you. Their number on the list doesn’t mean one is better than the other; they all work equally as well.
1. Aerobic dance. Like Zumba, Hip-Hop, Salsa, etc. Moderate-to-fast dancing like these routines build heart/lung capacity and endurance. They get your body moving in 3-dimensions and that ignites your heart rate to burn fat. But you have to keep moving, no standing around, to burn about 350 calories in 30 minutes for an average weight person.
2. Jump rope. One of the favorite fast cardio workouts for boxers and a throwback to an old childhood favorite. Jumping rope is an excellent cardio workout and fat burner. It involves jumping and balancing, and because the large leg muscles are involved, you can torch calories pretty quick. Now, it’s not for everyone, especially anyone with ankle, knee or hip problems. But if you’re up to the challenge, continuous rope jumping can torch off between 350 calories in 20-30 minutes, for an average weight person of about 160 lbs. Doing 1-2 minute intervals of more intense/faster rope jumping, then resuming a slower jump, will boost your heart rate and calorie burn even more. Be sure you wear well-supported athletic shoes to avoid sore feet and ankles.
3. Running. Long the “holy grail” exercise for burning calories faster, running can be done anywhere and passing scenery helps sustain its interest. It builds endurance in your heart and lungs by greater intake of oxygen. As you’re using primarily your large leg and buttock muscles, it fires up your metabolism faster, and builds bone as well. If you don’t want to run outside though, you can run on a treadmill, just be sure you set the incline at about a 2-3 to start. You can also do intense bursts of interval running (sprints) balanced with slower “jogging”. Burns about 400 calories in 30 minutes. That’s 3/4 of a pound of fat per week.
4. Swimming. Another top aerobic workout for heart and lungs, continuous swimming doing “laps”, burns about 300 calories in 30 minutes, more if the water is cooler. Plus it’s an amazing overall body “streamliner” exercise that tightens muscles and builds strength. It’s also a great stress buster that really relaxes you. I like to plan swimming for evenings because it’s excellent for helping you fall asleep fast.
5. Soccer. A great cardio workout to do with friends or pick up a game at your gym. Soccer involves running, jumping, upper and lower body movement, as well as core movements, which can up your heart rate quickly. But, you’ll be having so much fun, 30 minutes will go by like 5, and you won’t notice what a great cardio boosting, fat burning workout you just got. Burns 300 per 30 minutes for an average weight person.
So, there you have 5 heart-helping, metabolism boosting aerobic workouts that you can do in only 30 minutes. They’ll build your heart and lung capacity and endurance as well as help you torch off extra pounds. You can do these at the gym or even in your own home. Check out Daily Burn which, for an affordable yearly rate, offers online video trainers who lead you through many different cardio workouts. Just remember to mix up your routine to avoid getting too efficient at them.
Ron Blankstein, M.D.
Calories Burned, http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com/calories-burned-soccer.php
Which Exercise Burns the Most Calories? http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/exercise/which-exercise-machine-burns-the-most-calories?page=all