IF you're looking for exercises to get results fast, then look no further than cardio. This category of exercises not only gets your heart rate up, but done regularly, will also help you lose weight, get better sleep, and reduce your risk for chronic disease.
Cardio exercises include any that get the blood pumping fast — and includes brisk walking, running, jogging, swimming and cycling.
Fitness trainer Lennox Richards says these exercises have multiple benefits, no matter your age, and as you make them a routine, you'll get stronger and fitter.
Here are some quick cardio exercises he recommends for getting you stronger and fitter.
Just 20 laps in one session will increase your stamina and reduced muscle fatigue, he said. Swimming is good for a whole body stretch, and regular activity will have you gaining increased heart and lung fitness and bone and muscle strength over time.
Just 30 minutes a day is all it takes to get results from this activity. This type of exercise will help reduce your weight, tame high blood pressure, and help your body ward off conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
“Because this activity focuses on building muscle and bone strength, it will also help decrease the risk of osteoporosis,” Richards said.
This is probably one of the more fun exercises to do at home, yet this activity comes with immeasurable health benefits. “Jumping rope will help your heart pump blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body,” Richards said. “It is also a mood booster if you're having an off period — it will ease gloominess and depression, eliminate any tension you may have in your muscles that results from anxiety, and promote relaxation. For insomniacs, a session of jump rope in the evenings will help improve your sleep.”
Whether it's the stationary bike you have at home, or a bicycle, just 30 minutes per day will keep your muscles strong.
“If you keep it up for the longer term, you'll definitely see a lessening of body fat, plus you will improve that sluggish metabolism, which means that your body will start burning more calories,” Richards said. “And for those women who want to work on their glutes and thighs, note that riding will impact all the areas of your lower body — targeting your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves.”
“You want to of course start off slowly when you begin walking, but over time you can pick up the pace,” Richards said. “The beauty with this form of cardio is that you don't need much — just a good pair of sneakers and an area to walk in. Once you put in the work, you can see results in as little as a week.”
Regular brisk walking will help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage conditions including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes, improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones and muscles, and improve muscle endurance.
“Cardiovascular or aerobic exercises are great because they impact not just the physical fitness but your mental fitness as well,” Richards said. “That's what makes it one of the best routines you can possibly start.
“Cardio encourages your brain to release feel good hormones, which means that after a workout you won't feel beat, rather you will have a burst of energy and positivity for the day ahead.”
For those battling muscle and other pain, joint stiffness or just overall malaise, cardio will be the push you need to get back to optimum performance, and reduce or slow down your risk of illness in the future, Richards said.