In college I had a roommate who was becoming rather discouraged because she couldn’t seem to keep the weight off. I found that odd since I saw her leaving the house in gym clothes every day, and the kitchen was always stocked with fruits, veggies, and low-fat foods.
She said was just going to quit trying, and so I suggested that we workout together in hopes of motivating her to continue.
Our first workout we did yoga, next time we went rock climbing, our third time we lifted weights, and by the fourth workout I said we’re going running.
“Running?” she asked hesitantly. “Yes, running,” I replied. “We’ve got to get our heart rates up.” She just looked at me puzzled. It was then that I realized what her problem was. She never did cardio.
In order to stay fit and maintain a healthy weight, a little cardio goes along way. Not only do cardio activities help you lose weight by allowing your body to burn more calories faster, but they also enable your body to build muscle, and most importantly they keep your heart healthy. However, there are still a few cardio myths flying around out there.
When exercising you want to get into your target heart rate zone, and cardio does just that. Cardio activities increase your heart rate, which makes your heart strong. In turn these exercises decrease how hard your heart has to work to pump blood. Blood flows more easily and your risk of heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are significantly reduced.
Some of the best exercises to get into your target heart rate zone are:
(Make sure to click on all the links for workout tips and info!)
- Running- While running is exercise in its simplest form. It’s not for everyone. Some find it boring and unfulfilling, while others feel like a hamster on a wheel when they’re on a treadmill. If running doesn’t really do it for you, try livening it up with some interval training, sprints, or ladders.
- Jumping Rope- Think jumping rope is pretty dull? This amazing video may change your mind. Find out how to enhance your workouts by jumping rope.
- Bicycling- Yet another great activity for your joints, which makes for a good cross-training activity when engaging in other high-impact activities. The best part about cycling is that it’s the perfect way to get outside and you can incorporate it in to your daily life by riding to work or wherever you’re going. You can also stay fit by taking spinning classes in the colder months.
- Aerobics- Not all aerobic classes are the same. Zumba, kickboxing, step, water, or even hip-hop aerobics offer a wide variety of classes that everyone can get into.
- Cross-Country Skiing- We don’t have the world’s greatest snow on earth for nothing! While we’re most known for our “awesome pow” and fantastic, steep mountains, our state boasts a lot of fantastic cross-country skiing trails too.
- Swimming- This particular sport/ exercise is the perfect fit for anyone with joint pain or orthopedic injuries. Since swimming is very low-impact, the risk of injury is minimal.
- Sports- Some of the best sports to play to get a good cardio workout—whether it’s competitively or just with friends—are soccer, basketball, tennis, rowing, racquetball, and hockey.
So there you have it. Now the ball is in your court, literally.
If you’re still a little confused as to how to figure out what your target heart rate is, check out this heart rate calculator! No matter what, it’s time to get those heart rates going and stay active!
At Mountain View Hospital we’d love to hear about your favorite workouts. Leave us a comment and share some of your best workouts with us!