Are you ready to up your cardio game in 2022?
Cardio is an amazing exercise used to lose weight and get in shape. However, sticking to the same routine and intensity will slowly diminish its benefits.
Take your cardio to the next level by following these tips:
1. Try HIIT
HIIT (high-intensity interval training) is a highly effective form of cardio that can burn more calories in a shorter period of time.
It involves performing short bursts of intense exercise that are alternated with low-intensity recovery periods.
For example, a HIIT workout can be done using a stationary bike where you cycle hard for 30 seconds and then pedal slowly for a couple of minutes. This would be a “round” of HIIT and you would complete 4-6 reps per workout.
This allows you to experience the same benefits of moderate-intensity exercise in a shorter amount of time.
2. Time Your Intervals
When you are doing HIIT and interval training, use a stopwatch to time your intervals. The point of HIIT training is to increase the intensity of your movements for shorter periods of time.
For example, if your cardio workout involves running stairs, try to get up and down the stairs as many times as you can, timing yourself as you go. Your goal should then be to increase the number of times you go up and down during the same period of time.
The harder you work your body, the more your heart needs to work in order to get enough oxygen-rich blood moving around your body. Heart rate is one way you can gain the intensity of your workout as you strive to push your intervals.
3. Change It Up
Because the body easily adapts to aerobic exercise, you have to keep it guessing by changing up your cardio workouts. Aim to do two types of cardio per week.
This will also help prevent repetitive stress injuries to your muscles and joints as well as help you develop overall body strength and endurance.
Try to alternate between exercises such as running, climbing, HIIT, etc.
4. Incorporate Strength Training
While cardio is great for burning calories through high-intensity movement, you can also strengthen your muscles at the same time.
Try incorporating inclines into your hikes or bike rides or grab some weights when going for your run.
Because muscle has a slightly higher metabolic rate than fat, more muscle will raise your resting metabolic rate. While the difference is not super dramatic, strength training can help you maintain muscle while you are doing your cardio.
5. Carb-Load Before Your Workout
Eating carbs before doing cardio can help fuel your intervals and help you achieve a more high-intensity workout.
When your body is properly fueled, you can put in more effort and get more out of your cardio workout – both when it comes to caloric expenditure and muscle growth!
You don’t have to overdo it either. Some toasts or a bowl of oatmeal before a workout is sufficient.
6. Take Care of Other Aspects of Your Health
You can’t up your cardio game if your heart and lungs can’t handle the work.
While cardio is a great way to develop a stronger cardiovascular system in the beginning, you can’t expect to take it to the next level if you partake in habits such as smoking.
It’s no secret that cigarettes can have a significantly negative impact on your overall health but, when it comes to cardio, they are particularly harmful to your blood, heart, and lungs:
- Blood: The nicotine and carbon monoxide from cigarettes can narrow your arteries and make your blood “sticky” so that it has a harder time flowing throughout your body. If your body can’t get oxygen fast enough during a workout, you’re going to have a difficult time.
- Heart: Smoking increases your resting heart rate, meaning that your heart rate could rise to dangerous levels during a cardio workout.
- Lungs: Good lung capacity is important when it comes to experiencing the full benefits of cardio. Smoking decreases your lung capacity and hinders your body’s ability to breathe fully and use oxygen effectively.
If you are a smoker who is trying to up your cardio game, consider alternatives such as vaping to help you quit. While vaping can have adverse effects on your workout, they are not nearly as severe as those caused by cigarettes.
When it comes to your cardio game, make sure you push yourself within your limits when it comes to intensity and change up your cardio exercises at least a couple of times a week.
Make sure you also properly fuel your body and address other aspects of your health that could be hindering your progress.
How do you up your cardio game? Let us know in the comments!