By Katie Mitchel, M.S., director of exercise and research, Curves International, Inc.
Grab your sneakers ladies – it’s time for some cardio. Oh, you can almost hear the grumbles and groans as everyone thinks of heading outside for a long distance jog or bike ride. But isn’t that what you think of when you hear the word “cardio” or even just the word “exercise”? While jogging and bike riding are great activities, cardio exercise is any type of exercise that increases the work of your heart and lungs for at least 10 minutes in length. Basically, that means that you are working out in your target heart rate zone, but you are still able to talk just a little bit.
Cardio workouts are so important. They help you burn calories, decrease body fat, make your heart strong, and increase your lung capacity. Done consistently, they’ll help improve your overall fitness. And the good news is that cardio workouts don’t have to be drudgery and they don’t have to last for hours at a time. Believe it or not, they can be fun and easy, even with a busy schedule. Here are a couple of tips to help you easily incorporate more cardio into your everyday routine.
From “Cinderella dressed in yellow” to “Mary Mack dressed in black,” jumping rope is a right of adolescent passage. But guess what? Jumping rope isn’t just for kids. Did you know that you can burn about 300 calories in just 30 minutes of jumping rope? Thirty minutes may seem like a long time, but you can start off by simply jumping rope during TV commercial breaks. Eventually, you will work up to 30 minutes. And don’t worry if you don’t have a jump rope – just mimic the movements with your arms.
Tip: The idea isn’t to jump high, but to continue the movement with a steady rhythm. Make sure to use the balls of your feet as this will help lessen the impact on your knees and hip joints.
At the Office: Say No to Elevators, the Phone, and Email
This is super easy. Instead of grabbing the phone at work, walk to your colleague’s desk instead. Think about it, just five minutes of brisk stair climbing can burn about 70 calories. Not to mention, it’ll help build a nice backside too! Also, try these exercises for a DIY butt lift!
No, we’re not talking about hand weights here. Go for a walk pushing a baby stroller or holding on to your dog on a leash. The extra resistance will increase your calorie burn.
Play with the Kids
Join in on the fun. Don’t just watch as your children or grandchildren play hop scotch, get out there and hop with them. Get on the swing, chase the leaves—let the pig-tailed little girl in you come out and have some fun.
Get Excited About Chores
Grocery shopping, washing dishes, sweeping, vacuuming—oh, the joys of your to-do list. But did you know that in just 30 minutes of grocery shopping, you can burn 75 calories? Put on your favorite album and there’s no telling how many calories you’ll burn the next time you sweep or vacuum.
The bottom line: You get out of exercise what you put into it. You don’t have to work out for hours at a time, but you do have to work out smart.
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You might also like:
10 Simple Equipment-Free Exercises You Can Do Anywhere
5 Fun & Interesting Cardio Workouts to Try Now
Top 10 Weight-Loss Myths, Debunked!
Cardio Workouts: Why It’s Important to Keep Your Heart Rate Up
6 Yoga Poses to Improve Memory & Help Combat ADD
Katie Mitchell, M.S., is responsible for the direction of fitness at Curves. She teaches college-accredited kinesiology courses to club owners and staff and provides direction, content, and an on-camera presence for educational DVDs that deliver additional training to Curves franchisees and staff. Katie was an avid health and fitness enthusiast growing up— involved in school athletics, competitive gymnastics for 17 years, and competitive sprinting for eight. Through her participation in competitive sports and experience in coaching young athletes, she developed a passion for fitness and helping others achieve their goals. Her passion to teach others how to incorporate fitness and healthy living into their daily activities really deepened after Katie saw multiple members of her family affected by heart disease and high blood pressure. Read more about our Wellness Week experts.