Hi guys, we are back again for another round of interactive session on how to get your fitness life in shape. The last post talked about the importance
of fitness and how to raise your fitness level as beginner. Remember, you are doing this for yourself so it really doesn’t matter what anybody says or
thinks your look like because i guarantee you, three months from now they would want to know your secret. All is ask from you is your dedication and
honesty with yourself. You will shock yourself at what you can and will achieve if you stay on this road with me.
I promised to talk about cardio exercises you can do as a beginner to introduce your body to the art of working out and that’s exactly what we are
about to do. Please be mindful of every line and access your strength level accordingly. This is important as it forms the basis of your fitness goals.
Ok, so what is Cardio or Aerobics?
The word ‘cardio’ is probably one of the first words you hear when you first start an exercise program. You know that cardio is an essential component
of any workout, whether you want to lose weight, get fit, or just be healthier
Cardio Exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate. Face it our bodies were made to move. And we all know that to keep our muscles in shape
we need move them. This movement makes them stronger and stronger muscles make for a more efficient and healthy body. Like i said in our
introductory post, your heart is a muscle .
Aerobic exercise is physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. “Aerobic” means
“relating to, involving, or requiring free oxygen”, and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic
So basically, cardio and aerobics means the same thing!
Cardio exercise simply means that you’re doing a rhythmic activity that raises your heart rate into your target heart rate zone, the zone where you’ll
burn the most fat and calories.
Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio or aerobics is essential for good health. It gets your heart rate up, making you blood pump faster. This
delivers more oxygen throughout your body, which keeps your heart and lungs healthy. Regular cardio exercise can also help you lose weight, get
better sleep, and reduce your risk for chronic disease. Let’s further highlight some of the benefits of cardio exercises:
- It helps you burn fat and calories for weight loss.
- It makes your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood.
- It increases your lung capacity.
- It helps reduce your risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some forms of cancer
And the great thing about cardio is that you don’t have to work out for an hour at a high-intensity to get the benefits. Even a little goes a long way. A 15-
minute walk outside can be all you need to boost your mood and help lower blood pressure.
Don’t feel like you have to have a lot of time and energy for cardio. Doing a little each day is better than doing nothing at all
So you can see it’s actually the basis or the foundation you need to build you improved health and total fitness on. It is more than essential to get this
So how do you choose a cardio program best suited for you?
The most important step at this level of setting up a program is to figure out what kind of activities you’d like to do.
The trick is to think about what’s accessible to you, what fits your personality and what you’d feel comfortable fitting into your life and schedule. If you
like to go outdoors, running, cycling, or walking are all wonderful options your can exploit.
Just about any activity will work, as long as it involves a movement that gets your heart rate into your heart rate zone. Walking is always an excellent
choice. It’s something most of us can do on a regular basis and you don’t need fancy equipment other than your God given legs.
If you prefer going to the gym, you have access to many more options in the form of machines like stationary bikes, elliptical trainers,
treadmills, rowing machines, steppers and a lot more.
You have so many choices but, the trouble is, you may not even know what you like yet. You may have to try several different activities before you find
one that works for you. This is the experiment we all have to take part in and it can be hit or miss so don’t be afraid to try something and, if it doesn’t
work, move on to something else. After all, you are doing this for you and you only.
Important Tips for Choosing Your Cardio
- There is no ‘best’ cardio exercise. Just because your friend says running is the best doesn’t mean you have to do it, especially if running makes you feel like your entire body is falling apart. Anything that gets your heart rate up fits the bill, even vigorous chores like washing the car
- Do something you enjoy or at least something you can tolerate. If you hate gym workouts, don’t force yourself onto a treadmill. Walk, jog, or bike outdoors. If you like socializing, consider sports, group fitness, working out with a friend.
- Choose something you can see yourself doing at least three days a week. To meet the exercise recommendations, you need to do cardio three days per week. Make it easier to be motivated by choosing an activity that will be convenient for you to do that often, at least until you’ve formed the habit.
- Be flexible and don’t be afraid to branch out once you get comfortable with exercise. The nice thing about cardio exercise is that you can choose any activity that raises your heart rate. You don’t have to do the same workout every session, nor every week. Changing up your cardio is easy, so do it often and you’ll discover more activities you enjoy.
- Keep it simple. If you’re confused about what to do, start with the basics—you need at least 20 minutes for the body to get going, so start there. Get out your calendar, find 20 minutes of time on three different days and do something—walking, running, going to the gym, vigorous yard work—whatever you want. Make it a habit first and work on your time and intensity later.
After you choose what to do, the most important element of your workout will now be how long you do it. You should work on duration before you
work on anything else like doing high intensity work out; it takes time to build up the endurance for continuous exercise.
The guidelines suggest anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes of cardio to be healthy, lose weight, and get fit, depending on the types of workouts you do.
That’s fine, but you don’t want to start with an hour of exercise. That’s just too much for anyone if you haven’t exercised for a while (or ever).
First, let’s stretch!
Stretching is an often-overlooked component of physical fitness that can help you perform better while exercising, reduce stress, prevent injury and
improve flexibility. Stretching can help loosen up your muscles before and after you work out, as well as ease muscle tension and soreness. If you are a
beginner, 10 stretches can work your major muscle groups; do a stretching routine three times a week for best results .
Here are some basic stretching routines to help you get your muscles ready for the actual work out. PLEASE REMEMBER, STRETCHES ARE PREREQUISITE
TO YOUR WORK OUT, NOT THE ENTIRETY OF YOUR PROGRAM. Let’s go through some of the routines:
So now lets see some of the cardio exercises you can do in the comfort of your homes to get your body familiar with exercising.
These programs have specific body parts they target but you are guaranteed a total burn out from them.
Side Stretch – A side stretch will work the muscles between your ribs as well as your lats and external obliques. Stand with your feet together and lace
your fingers together. Raise your hands above your head and focus on lengthening your arms, torso and legs. Slowly bend to one side and hold for five
seconds. Return to your starting position then bend to the other side.
Hamstring stretch – The hamstring stretch targets the back of the thighs. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor. Slowly
straighten one leg, lifting it into the air toward your body. When you stretch as far as you can without bending the leg, hold it for five seconds. Lower
the leg and repeat on your other leg.
Neck Stretch – To stretch the side of your neck, stand with your arms at your sides. Slowly turn your head to one side and hold for five seconds. Return
your head to face forward then repeat on the other side. To stretch the back of your neck, stand with your arms hanging by your sides. Slowly bring
your head down toward your chest and hold for five seconds.
Arm Stretch – To stretch your triceps, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend one arm at the elbow and use it to bring your other, straightened arm
across your chest. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on other arm. To stretch your triceps and shoulders, stand with your back straight and bend at the
waist. Lace your fingers together, bringing your arms above your head and stretching toward the ground. Hold for 10 seconds
Calf Stretch – A gentle stretch can effectively loosen the calf muscles. Stand with your feet together facing a wall, about arm’s-length away. Rest your
hands on the wall, keeping your arms straight. Bring one foot back, keeping it straight. Allow your front knee to bend. Hold for five seconds. Repeat on
the other leg.
Quad Stretch – The largest muscles in your body are the quadriceps in the upper legs. To stretch, stand about arm’s-length away from a wall, with your
hands resting on the wall. Bend your left knee to bring your foot up behind you, and bring your right hand back to grasp your foot. Hold for 10
seconds. Repeat on other leg.
Leg and Lower back Stretches – You can stretch the lower back and legs simultaneously. Sit on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend
one knee, resting the foot along the inner part of your straight leg. Lean forward to stretch over your straight leg, keeping your back straight. Hold for
10 seconds. Repeat on the other leg
Let’s go straight to the cardio exercises now. We will be looking at simple programs designed majorly for beginners. Enjoy!
This exercise involves running in place, so you can do it anywhere even within a small space.
- Stand with your legs together and arms at your sides.
- Lift one knee toward your chest. Lower your leg and repeat with the other knee.
- Continue alternating knees, pumping your arms up and down
Butt kicks are the opposite of high knees. Instead of lifting your knees up high, you’ll lift your heels up toward your butt.
- Stand with your legs together and arms at your sides.
- Bring one heel toward your butt. Lower your foot and repeat with the other heel.
- Continue alternating your heels and pumping your armS
Lateral shuffles increase your heart rate while improving your side-to-side coordination.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees and hips bent. Lean forward slightly and brace your core.
- Lift your right foot, push off your left foot, and move right while keeping your form.
- Place your feet together. Continue shuffling to the right.
- Repeat the same steps to the left side.
To evenly work both sides, shuffle left and right for the same amount of space.
Doing the crab walk is a fun way to get your blood flowing. It also strengthens your upper arms while working your back, core, and legs.
- Sit on the floor, knees bent and feet flat. Place your hands on the floor under your shoulders, fingers pointing forward.
- Lift your hips off the floor. “Walk” backward using your arms and legs, keeping your weight evenly distributed between your arms and legs.
- Continue walking backward for the desired distance.
STANDING OBLIQUES CRUNCH
This cardio exercise is low impact and ideal for beginners. As you lift your knees, you’ll engage the stomach muscles; core
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on the back of your head, elbows pointing outward.
- Bend to the right, moving your right elbow down and right knee up.
- Return to starting position. Repeat on the left side.
The sideways movement of this exercise mimics how a skater moves. For a challenge, add a jump when you move to the side.
- Start in a curtsy lunge, both knees bent and your right leg diagonally behind you. Bend your right arm and straighten your left arm.
- Push off your left leg, moving your right leg forward. Bring your left leg diagonally behind you and switch arms.
- Continue “skating” left and right.
For a full-body workout, add in some this wonderful exercise. This classic move works your entire body while increasing your heart rate.
- Stand with your legs together and arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees slightly. Jump and spread your legs wider than shoulder-width, lifting your arms overhead.
- Jump to center. Repeat.
This is an easy, low-impact exercise that can be done on a curb or lowest step of a staircase or a box
- Stand in front of the curb or step. Rest one foot on top, toes facing down.
- Quickly switch legs to bring the other foot on top. Continue alternating feet.
- As you get used to the movement, move left or right while doing toe taps.
All these exercises are most suitable for beginners and people who have never worked out. They all designed to gently and slowly introduce your body
to the “pain” associated with working out.
Now that we have successfully gone through all you need to get through your first work out session successfully, i’s important to mention the
importance of rest. Remember you are just starting off. Definitely your muscles would be sore and you might even be in general pain, not to worry,
that’s just your body screaming for help just because it’s never done that before. I promise you your body will get adapted to it with consistency and
enough rest. You just have to it time to heal up the sore parts and then hit it again. Like the saying goes “Your body will obey, it’s your mind that needs
So guys till we meet again in our next post, let’s get grinding and smash those goals by kicking off our work outs slowly but ferociously.
Do it your way, BE MAVERICK