Cardio workouts are essential to our health, fitness, and well-being. The problem is that most people don’t really enjoy doing cardio exercises. Well, honestly most people just don’t like to workout. I’m not sure how many people “love” the actual workout, but I do know the majority “love” the benefits.
Some of the reasons to adopt a regular regimen of cardiovascular training are: increased circulation, mood elevation, lower cholesterol & BP, and our favorite, weight-loss. Overall, we’ll feel better physically, mentally and emotionally with a routine of cardio.
Cardio can be any form of activity that elevates your heart rate. A fast walk from the parking lot or taking the stairs. Ideally, we want a minimum of 30 minutes/day for 6 days/week. National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) defines the aerobic range at 60-80% of your max heart rate.
1. SET UP SOME FORM OF ACCOUNTABILITY.
I believe the best thing you can do with any fitness program is to have accountability, whether it’s a workout partner, joining a class, or personal commitment. I mean, yes, we’re doing this for ourselves but our spouses, our kid’s benefit as well.
2. SET GOALS AND START SMALL.
This is tough because we want it all NOW. We want to see the improvement immediately. Yet we know this isn’t a sustainable exercise platform. Instead, start with a slow walk for 30 minutes for the first week. Don’t add more than 10% of your volume per week. That means if you covered 2 miles in 30 minutes, week 1, you’re max increase should only be 33 minutes or 2.2 miles (10%) beginning week 2. THIS is sustainable.
3. SCHEDULE AN EVENT.
Sign up for a 5K fun run or walk or some other local event that has appeal to you. This will give you a goal and a purpose for your training. Maybe even invite a friend or make it a family event.
4. CHOOSE A FORM OF CARDIO YOU LIKE.
If you hate treadmills, then try an elliptical trainer. If you force yourself onto a piece of equipment you don’t enjoy, you’re fighting two battles, the equipment and the exercise. You’re desire will begin to fade. Finding that something you like will create a greater opportunity for habit.
5. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS.
There will always be people in better or worse shape than you. Rather visualize where you want to be and accept a steady path to that end.