There are some exercises that are better than others, this doesn´t mean that some exercises are bad, what I mean is that we all enjoy some exercises more than others, some of us may love running or jogging whether is on the treadmill on in the park while some may hate it. Some of us love HIIT while for others it represent a huge risk of injury or they can´t do it for health reasons. We all need to find the best cardio exercise for us.
We´re all looking for easy options that doesn´t require a lot of effort and discipline from our part but that give us great results. Unfortunately this is not possible. Whether your goal is to lose weight, keep it off or maintain optimal health, exercise is a priority and one of those types of exercise is cardio.
I´ve mentioned in other posts that we need to find ways to increase physical activity throughout the day, for this the best option is walk, we can all go for a short walk every couple hours but the days when we schedule time for cardio exercise you want to make sure the time you spend gives you the best results.
There are huge differences between steady state and HIIT cardio so first you need to decide what option is best for you or if you can and want to do both then go ahead. For steady state cardio I don´t recommend doing 45 to 60 minutes all in one session, I prefer to divide those 45 minutes into three 15 minutes and go for a walk. This is a way for me to add physical activity throughout the day and you get more benefits if you can walk outside and get sunlight. For HIIT I´ll do 10 to 15 minutes of sprints and some burpees, for sprints you have different options, you can sprint for 8 to 10 seconds and rest for 1 or 2 minutes, you can do 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, you can do 30 seconds of work followed by 30 seconds of rest. Find out what works for and what you prefer, keep in mind that you need to make each interval as intense as you can.
Here´s a short list of what I consider to be the best exercises:
1.- Sprints.- Sprints are a great option for HIIT, it helps you burn fat and helps you maintain a lean physique, the reason why I love sprints is they improves your health and fitness in general.
2.- Burpees.- Burpees work so many different muscles at the same time and keep your heart rate up which helps you burn fat and look toned. They improve physical skills and performance, improve strength while burning some calories.
3.- Box jump or jump squats.- Box jumps work your lower body, you need power and strength and this helps you improve performance and speed. They also increase your heart rate.
4.- Jump rope.- Jumping rope is a great way to improve coordination and keep your bones stronger which reduce the risk of injuries and strength as we grow older.
If you´re starting on fitness then you don´t want to go hard on any exercise so you can start with short walks, once you´ve lost some weight and your health starts to improve you can try jump rope or any other exercise but before doing any of this make sure you talk with your doctor or health care practitioner and also make sure you avoid injuries.
Those 4 exercises are on top of my list because most of us can do them almost everywhere but there are more exercises like swimming, cycling, etc; that are great options too.
To maintain a lean physique and optimal health I choose HIIT as the best option for a cardio workout also considering that I try to go for short walks throughout the day. This is what works for me but remember that exercise needs to be a habit so you need to find exercises you like and enjoy doing so that you can stick to them, you also need to consider that most of us get bored after doing the same thing over and over and your body adapts so you need to have 2 or 3 different options so that you can keep changing them and also increase the intensity and make it a challenge.
Maintaining optimal health and a healthy weight is a priority and exercise plays a huge role on making that possible. Let us know by leaving a comment below and on Twitter which cardio exercises are the ones you enjoy more.
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