5 easy cardio exercises to get your heart rate up

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Can’t get to the gym but you want to get your heart pumping? There are many cardio exercises you can do at home. It’s an efficient, convenient way to get a full body work-out and stay fit.

Cardio is any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it up for a while. This delivers more oxygen throughout your muscles and body, releasing natural endorphins. Overall, it keeps your heart and lungs strong and healthy. Some other benefits of cardio include:

  • better overall fitness
  • better mental health
  • healthier weight
  • lower risk of chronic diseases like heart diseases, stroke and diabetes

You can make cardio a part of your fitness routine and commit to doing cardio exercises as often as possible throughout your week. If you do cardio regularly, you can stop stressing about the occasional binge fest, knowing that you’re making an effort to look after your body and mind.

Tips for building your own home gym

Here’s what you can try at home:

1. Lunges:

Lunges are a great way to strengthen your glutes, hamstrings and quads. Try to add weights once you have perfected your lunge and can complete reps on both legs without getting the wobbles

How to do a lunge:

  1. Begin by standing tall with your chest lifted and your chin up, nice and straight.
  2. Your feet should be hip width apart before taking a step forward with your preferred leg.
  3. Lower your body and ensure that your front knee is over the top of your shoe.
  4. Bend your back knee down so it is straight and pointing towards the floor while you balance on the back toes.
  5. Push back to the starting position from your front heel for one rep.
  6. Repeat on the same leg with 10 lunges per set before alternating.
  7. Try to complete 10 reps per leg for 3 sets at a time.

2. Jump Rope:

Jumping rope can improve your fitness level, burn heaps of calories and provide you with a full body work out. Plus, it’s super fun!

How to jump rope:

  1. Put the jump rope behind you.
  2. Position your arms close to your sides with your elbows tight to the body.
  3. Stand with your feet close together.
  4. Jump softly on the balls of your feet – ensuring your heels never touch the ground.
  5. Use your wrists to control the rope bringing it over and around.
  6. Try do this for 15 minutes with 1 minute intervals and 30 second rest periods.

3. Treadmill sprint-intervals

You will never regret getting a treadmill – this is one machine where you can burn a lot of calories and get in an effective workout without spending too much time on it.

How to do treadmill sprints:

1. Set the treadmill at an incline. Start by walking at an easy pace for one minute.

2. Continue warming up with an easy jog for 5 minutes. You should be at a good pace. This will get your blood pumping and your muscles warm and ready for a workout.

3. Pick up the pace to a hard effort (heavy breathing) for 30 seconds. Recover with 90 seconds of easy jogging.

4. Repeat this 9 times or more and finish with a 5 minute cool-down at an easy pace – easy jog or brisk walk.

4. Burpees

The burpee is the ultimate full-body cardio exercise that burns plenty of calories, builds strength and will have you panting and sweating in no time.

How to do a burpee:

  1. Stand tall with your feet, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat down bending your knees placing your hands flat on the floor in front of you.
  3. Transfer your weight to your hands and push and jump your feet back.
  4. You should now be in a push up position with your back nice and straight.
  5. Complete a push up by lowering your body to the floor.
  6. Push up from your hands and when on the balls of your feet, jump forward so your feet are back to the original position.
  7. At that point reach up straight with your arms and jump up.
  8. Land back to your feet shoulder-width apart for one rep.
  9. Complete 10 reps for one set and attempt to complete 2–3 sets.

5. Treadmill pyramid workout

This workout combines running and walking intervals and burns lots of calories. Set the treadmill at an incline and start with a 3-minute warm-up of easy jogging or brisk walking. Then do the following intervals:

  • 30-second medium-paced running/30-second walk
  • 1-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 2-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 3-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 4-minute medium-paced running/1-minute walk
  • 3-minute hard running/1-minute walk
  • 2-minute hard running/1-minute walk
  • 1-minute hard running/1-minute walk
  • 30-second hard running/30-second walk

Finish with a 2-minute cool-down of easy jogging or brisk walking.