Why is cardio important? The heart is the main organ that keeps us all going and nothing like some good 'ol cardio to keep your heart going. Performing at least 30 minutes of any of the following cardio exercises will greatly improve your heart function and keep it pumping at a healthy pace. If you're new to some of these exercises, be sure to take it easy at first. You can always work up to 30 minutes of exercise later when you are ready!
This is one of the best cardio exercises around and the great thing about it is that there's no special equipment needed. The only thing to remember is to have some good quality running shoes. I have a thick pair for winter and a thin mesh pair for summer, but both have excellent arch support. If you don't have proper arch support, your feet and shins will tell you about it later. Oh, the complaining! Rainy days can be spent on a treadmill, but it's so much more fun to run outside and watch the scenery pass. And if you have never tried running before you need toremember these practical tips.
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This is another exercise for your heart that can be done inside or outside. If you have a bicycle of your own, or can borrow one, then taking it through the park trails can be exhilarating. Just make sure that you have a safe area to cycle and all the proper safety gear. Using a bicycle that has gears on it will allow you to go up hills easily. Hills are awesome for the heart! You work just a bit harder, but it is well worth it. Besides, cycling is a great way to target that all important butt area.
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8. Elliptical Trainer
Most people have to go to the gym to find an elliptical trainer, but they are cool and so much fun. They are also so much easier on your knees; my knees thank me all the time for giving them a break from pounding on the pavement. These are so easy to use that you don't realize you are doing cardio exercises at all. They are an amazing way to lose weight! If I had the funds, this is the one machine I would buy to have at home. Truly!
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Even if you aren't fond of swimming, grab one of the kick boards the lifeguard stows away for the little kids and get kickin'. While the breaststroke is the best heart pumping swimming technique, very few people can perform this successfully. They usually end up getting strange looks from the lifeguard, as he wonders if he should jump in and save the person. If you aren't a seasoned swimmer, stick to the kick board and go as fast as you can. Your legs will be in great shape as well! And buy yourself a good bathing suit. That always keeps me motivated....
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6. Step Aerobics
There are tons of classes on step aerobics, as well as videos and DVDs demonstrating many routines. These are a fun way to listen to great music and get the heart going at the same time, well, other than dancing! How about spending your weekend at one of these classes instead of the club? Many of the videos that are offered in stores come with the foam block used for the step. Classes that are offered at the local gym or fitness center will provide the needed equipment. I have yet to see step aerobic classes that advertise 'BYOS', bring your own step.
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Unless you live near a body of water where you can rent a row boat, or have a boat of your own, then you will have to head to the gym for the rowing machine. These are easy to get the hang of and will get your heart pumping fairly quickly. Your arms get a real work out, since they do all the movement while your lower body sits still. Some machines have foot straps that allow your legs to move as well; working both parts of the body. It was a bit awkward the first time I used one, but once I got the hang of it, it was fun.
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This, thankfully, is one of the cardio exercises that doesn't take any equipment and can be done anywhere. The malls usually open the main doors an hour or two before the stores actually open shop, which makes this a safe environment to walk in. No cars, no rain, no dogs to make you break into a run; it is the perfect place for walking. The best part is that you can peek in the store windows as you zoom past. Walking is a great alternative for those of you who hate running but you will need to do a brisk walk and pump your arms as you are walking. A leisurely stroll won't get the heart working fast enough to be considered a cardio workout.
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3. Handball or Racquetball
Most gyms have equipment for either of these sports. They are very similar games, but in one you use your hand to hit the ball and for the other a racket is required. They both involve running from side to side to try and hit a small blue rubber ball. Be sure to wear the goggles, these little rubber balls do hurt when they bounce off your face, trust me. I grew up playing handball and racquetball and it is a very fun workout. It's never too late to make a new New Year's resolutionI think.
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This is excellent for the heart and for coordination as well. And I've always believed that sports are a great way to lose weight. It doesn't matter if it is traditional boxing or kick boxing, both are great exercises for the heart. The kick boxing will strengthen legs a bit more, but if balance is an issue, then try the traditional boxing first. Most gyms offer this for a small fee.
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Believe it or not, there are forms ofyoga that are vigorous enough to get the heart beating at a nice rate. Ashtanga Yoga is a great combination of yoga poses and aerobics. No fancy clothes are required and you won't even need any shoes. How cool is that?! It's great to start off in a few beginner classes with this and work up to some of the more hard core stuff later.
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Any of these 10 best cardio exercises can greatly improve the functioning of your heart. Be sure to start slow and work up. While 30 minutes is usually the standard amount of time needed to get the heart going enough to benefit, don't try too hard and end up hurt. A little bit of cardio exercise is better than none at all! What is your favorite exercise of the 10? Have you found them to be helpful in the past?
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