Cardiovascular training is an important component of any workout program. From reducing blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels to boosting mood and improving insulin sensitivity, the benefits are many.
It’s not uncommon for cardio workouts to be given a label of “long and boring” and tossed into the category of a “have to”, rather than a “want to” workout. However, there are so many ways to make cardio workouts interesting and fun. Scrap the “long and boring” label for good with these ideas to spice up your cardio routine in 2021.
1. Change things up and try something new
The common saying “variety is the spice of life” can be applied to your cardio workouts. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to spend an hour slogging it out on the treadmill or stationary bike to get your cardio workout in.
If you love the treadmill or stationary bike, then go for it! However, if these modes of exercise evoke feelings of dread, just know there are many more choices you may even find are more effective and enjoyable for you.
Changing your cardio up regularly can help to keep it interesting. It also helps challenge your body in different ways. Additionally, if you try something you’ve never tried before you might just discover something you really love.
Think outside the box with your cardio. Here are a few suggestions:
- Join a social sports team such as netball, football, or rugby. Most team sports like these offer great cardio workouts
- Try a form of martial arts such as karate or taekwondo, or kickboxing. Or simply put yourself in front of a punching bag for five minutes and go for it!
- Take your cardio workouts outside. The changing scenery can help keep things more interesting than a gym workout, and you might enjoy the fresh air too
- Grab a jump rope. It’s a simple, yet very effective cardio workout. You’ll only need to do it for a very short period of time to feel it’s effectiveness
2. Make it enjoyable
This point is an extension of the first. It’s a simple concept, yet many people still subject themselves to forms of cardio that they don’t enjoy. If you’re not enjoying your cardio workouts, ask yourself why. You may have chosen a form of cardio that’s not quite right for you, or maybe you’re just spending too long doing it.
If your workout just feels too long, try shorter bursts of higher intensity. If you haven’t quite found the right mode of cardio activity for you, try one of the suggestions in the previous point, or another option that appeals to your preferences. Other cardio workout ideas include dancing, swimming, hiking, or even trampoline workouts!
3. Add music or some form of entertainment to your workout
Some people find extra motivation by listening to uplifting music. You don’t need to settle for the standard songs that are repeatedly played at your local gym. Instead, create your own workout playlist that inspires you. Pop your headphones on, and away you go!
Aside from music, you could listen to your favourite podcast to help take your mind off the cardio workout at hand. Some people enjoy listening to the radio or watching TV as a distraction during their cardio sessions. If this works for you, just make sure you’re still able to work at the intensity you need to for a great workout!
4. Try a group fitness class or work out with a buddy
A bit of moral support can be really helpful when it comes to making your cardio workouts more enjoyable. Join a group fitness class for some added motivation from the instructor, and the group. This can also be an easy option for changing your cardio workout up. The instructor will take the thinking out of it for you!
Alternatively, find a buddy or a small group of friends to do your cardio with. You might really enjoy the social aspect of catching up with each other and the fact that you’re working on your fitness at the same time.
[Find out more in “5 Amazing Benefits of Having a Training Partner”]
5. Change things up with intervals
Once you’ve got a good base level of cardio fitness established, you can spice things up by adding intervals into your workout. Intervals allow you to work at a higher intensity level for a shorter period of time. They can offer an effective approach when you don’t want to spend loads of time doing cardio, but still want great results!
There are endless ways of doing interval training, and the techniques can be applied to many types of cardio. Examples include hill or sprint intervals on the bike or treadmill, with active recovery in between. Fartlek training offers a flexible and varied approach to interval training, whilst Tabata is one of the most intense HIIT options for short and sharp cardio training.
[Find out more in “HIIT vs Steady State Cardio: Which is Better?”]
6. Make it a combination workout
Depending on your goals, you don’t necessarily need to do separate cardio and resistance training workouts. Try interspersing your strength training workouts with short bursts of cardio. This approach will keep your heart rate up throughout the workout and really increase the overall intensity.
7. Work with a trainer
A personal trainer can help take the thinking out of your workouts. They’ll change things up to keep it interesting and challenging for you, and will help you to push yourself harder. Their support, encouragement and new ideas can help keep things fun AND accelerate your progress. Contact our at-home personal trainers to find out more.