Cardio is one of the least glamorous and appealing aspects of exercise and physical fitness. Why? Because it’s boring.
Being confined to a treadmill for an entire hour five times a week does help you lose weight, but it’s dreadfully uninteresting. Maybe watching TV helps (which most gyms will allow you to do now while in the cardio area), but doesn’t that sort of defeat the purpose of exercising?
Besides, when you’re running hard and keeping your heart rate up, it’s hard to focus on anything else, much less a TV show that reminds you of fond memories at home on the couch.
So maybe watching TV isn’t the best solution.
The good news is that there are ways to “mix up” your cardio and incorporate different types of training that will get you off the treadmill and get you a little variety for your quest to burn calories. In truth, the treadmill isn’t even the best place for burning calories and keeping your heart rate up.
First, let’s look at a few different types of exercise that can elevate your heart rate and increase your cardiovascular strength.
Types of Exercising with Cardiovascular Benefits
You can’t just break a workout down into cardio and weightlifting. In fact, those two categories are kind of junk drawer terms that don’t properly categorize exercise. Weightlifting would actually fall under the category of resistance training, which can come in a lot of different forms.
For simplicity’s sake. We’ll steer clear of resistance training as an option.
Now, as far as cardio goes, increasing cardiovascular strength happens when you exercise with an increased heart rate. The higher your heart rate, the more “cardio” you’re accomplishing. Right away that puts the treadmill on ice as the “only” way to accomplish this.
While resistance training can increase your heart rate, it’s not the best way to do so. Here are a few other types of exercise that will get your heart pumping in no time:
Metabolic Training — Metabolic training is a type of exercise that involves fast explosive movements that usually incorporate some level of resistance, whether it’s your body weight or another small amount of weight. Repetition of these movements both challenges your muscles and gets your heart pumping fast. It’s sort of the “parent category” of the next two.
- Plyometrics — You might be familiar with this term from P90x or Insanity, but it basically just means jumping. Any movement where you use power and explosive strength to go up or side to side would be categorized as plyometrics.
- Interval Training — Interval training (sometimes referred to as HIIT — “High Intensity Interval Training”) is when you train at different intensity intervals. For example, you might sprint at full speed for two minutes, then jog at a manageable pace for five minutes.
Using These Exercises
The nice thing about these different types of exercises is that the movements they use don’t require you to be on a treadmill or a bike; not to mention they’re more effective.
So instead of having a cardio day, go through your list of workout knowledge and pick out all the exercises that fit into these categories. Battle ropes, lunges or any exercise where you’re using your bodyweight to get from one point to another quickly, will fall under these categories and ultimately be beneficial to your cardiovascular strength.
Chances are that you’re already doing a lot of them without realizing it. Feel free to use them to free yourself from the boredom of the cardio section.
Jared Coleman is a professional blogger that shares tips and advice on health, training and nutrition. He writes for Fitness 19, a leading fitness facility with affordable month to month memberships