Get your heart pumping because your blood moving has been linked to a healthier heart, lungs, and enhanced bone density.
Cardio activities can also help reduce stress, develop a positive attitude and perspective, and improve sleep and energy levels.
Don’t be intimidated by the seasoned marathon runners in your area if you want to incorporate more cardio into your exercise routine. Heart-healthy workouts do not have to mean hours on the treadmill. There is a variety of fun and exciting methods to get your cardio in.
What is the purpose of doing cardio in the first place?
Cardio is defined as any exercise that gets your heart pumping and maintains it for an extended period. As you begin to breathe faster and more deeply, your respiratory system will begin to work harder. Your blood vessels will expand to provide more oxygen to reach your muscles. And your body will produce natural painkillers (endorphins).
The physical and mental advantages of this type of fun exercise seem to be endless.
- Maintain a healthy weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is extensive scientific evidence that 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week can help you maintain your weight over time.
- Ward off heart disease. Regular cardio activities that get your heart pumping have been shown in studies to help reduce cardiovascular disease, which accounted for 31% of global deaths in 2012.
- Mood improvement. It should come as no surprise that evidence supports the function of cardio exercise in improving mood and increasing happiness. Cardio increases the production of endorphins, which are feel-good painkillers.
- Live longer. According to the Mayo Clinic, those who regularly engage in cardio exercise live longer.
10 Fun Ways to Get Your Heart Pumping
Here are some fun ways to get your heart pumping, resulting in a healthier, fitter you:
Yes, it may seem to be overly simple. However, walking, particularly fast walking, is an excellent method to get your heart pumping. Walking quickly raises your heart rate and is easier on your joints than other physical activities. You are free to walk whenever and wherever you wish. You only need a nice pair of shoes. Take a short walk during your lunch hour or go for a long walk on the weekend. You could listen to music, a podcast, or take a walk with a friend. Walking’s flexibility makes it easy for anybody to do – and to keep doing.
Swimming uses all main muscle groups, from kicking with your legs to pushing with powerful arm strokes, leading to increased strength. It also improves the heart and lungs by training your body how to use oxygen more effectively. The Cooper Clinic in Dallas found that swimmers and runners had the greatest numbers on cardiovascular health measures such as blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Compound exercises that target larger muscle groups result in a greater increase in blood flow. For example, squats help improve blood flow because they require total-body action and recruit lower-body muscles such as the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Strength training also entails building lean muscle and, as a result, reducing the pressure on arterial walls by giving your cardiovascular system more places to pump blood.
4. Organized Sports
You may not consider yourself a “sportsperson.” But there are various adult sports leagues out there full of individuals just like you — people who want to have fun and stay healthy. Sign up for soccer, flag football, basketball, or whatever sport appeal to you. Running around a field or court will undoubtedly get your heart pumping. Look for non-competitive sports leagues in your area. Perhaps you’ll make a new friend while you’re at it!
5. Foam Rolling
Don’t skip your cool down—beneficial it’s to your heart. Self-myofascial release (SMR), or self-massage of a soft tissue area, is particularly beneficial. While it has been shown to provide greater flexibility, it can improve cardiovascular health and blood flow to muscles. For example, SMR using a foam roller was found to reduce arterial stiffness and increase blood flow in a 2014 research.
Sure, you haven’t done it since the last children’s birthday party you attended, but why not? Swinging your hips around will raise your heart rate and improve your core. And don’t worry, they come in adult sizes as well.
7. Chill Out With Tai Chi
According to a recent National Institutes of Health survey, 2.3 million individuals in the United States used tai chi as a low-impact aerobic exercise routine last year.
Tai chi is a martial arts-based ancient Chinese method of exercise. It combines slow rhythmic body motions with deep breathing and focus, which is why it is sometimes known as a “moving meditation.” This exercise is beneficial to both the mind and the body, including heart health.
Dancing for heart health is a rhythmic and aerobic workout routine. All you need is good footwear, some space, and motivational music. A good aerobic heart rate is between 120 and 135 beats per minute. Dancing may be high or low impact, depending on your ability and desire. And you can dance with others in a class like Zumba or work out alone at home.
9. Go for a Bike Ride
The pumping motion of your leg’s big muscles is an excellent aerobic exercise for your heart. For this exercise routine, you can use either a road cycle or a stationary bike. When it’s too cold or wet to ride outside, pedaling at home on a stationary bike might set you on the path to heart health. When bicycling, the position of the seat and pedals is important to avoiding injury. As a result, ensure sure your bike is set up correctly for your physique.
Hiking will go a long way toward ensuring your heart rate increases steadily over a longer length of time for a less controlled, non-traditional workout. It is an excellent way to increase your cardiovascular fitness, which will make your heart work harder.
It’s also a great reason to have a large meal when you come back down the mountain.
The Bottom Line
There is no doubt that cardiovascular exercise is an important part of living a long and healthy life. But it doesn’t mean it’s easy to include exercise into your daily routine. Just keep in mind that there are many methods to get your heart pumping if you have an open mind and get creative. You should not be limited to the treadmill.
Finding out what you like doing is the most important part of any fitness routine. You’re far more likely to continue with something if you love it.
So go ahead and experiment and figure out how to have a good time while working up a sweat.