by Tracey Pollack
Let’s get to the heart of the matter: you should take your health to heart. And when it comes to improving your health, cardio is truly the way to go. Is cardio new to you? Cardio, which is short for cardiovascular, is any aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate for a certain amount of time. Experts say that cardiovascular activities are some of the best things you can do to reduce your risk of disease and improve your overall health. While there are many kinds of cardio, the following activities feel more like fun than fitness, but they’ll give your body a workout and work wonders for your health.
- Step into Walking
Walking is one cardiovascular activity that’s simply a walk in the park. It’s the easiest and safest way to get the cardio that you need. Just lace up your sneakers and go! When the weather outside is nice, walking is really enjoyable and won’t even feel like a workout. On colder or darker days, you can walk indoors on a treadmill. But you shouldn’t underestimate all that walking can do for you. Along with helping you manage your weight, preventing disease and strengthening your bones, walking can do just as much for your mind by lightening your mood, lowering your stress and sharpening your memory.
- Take Biking for a Spin
Biking not only takes you closer to your fitness goals, it also takes you where you want to go! While biking raises your heart rate and burns fat, this low-impact activity is gentler on your back, knees, hips and joints than many forms of cardio. But the benefits of biking go far beyond the cardio because the resistance it offers strengthens your lower body, tones your muscles and works your core. And by taking the bike instead of the car to travel around town, you’ll save money, time, the environment and maybe even your life.
- Dive into Swimming
Swimming may just be the perfect cardiovascular activity. Why? First of all, swimming offers a full-body workout that’s good for any age and body type. It also builds up your endurance, strengthens your lungs and burns a ton of calories. Plus, the resistance from the water helps you tone your muscles, so it’s really both cardio and strength training all in one. And perhaps best of all, this low-impact activity is easy on your joints and the cool, refreshing water lets you get a complete workout without working up a sweat!
- Leap into Jumping Rope
Jumping rope isn’t just for kids. It’s a great way to raise your heart rate, builds your stamina and burn lots of calories in a short amount of time. As the ultimate portable workout, it can be done at home or while away, either indoors or outside. While jumping rope offers big cardio benefits, it makes you feel like a little kid again.
There’s no need to run miles or marathons to give your heart rate and health a boost. There are plenty of activities that make it easy and enjoyable to work in a cardio workout.