Sick of the same workout routine? Blain’s Farm & Fleet has cardio change-up ideas for you.
It’s good to get into a workout routine that you can stick to. However, for long term weight loss, you and your body need to mix things up. According to Daniel Steffancin, health and fitness coordinator for the West Park/Fairview Family YMCA, part of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland, “your body will plateau if it becomes used to the same routine, and you won’t see the results you’re looking for.” No results means not sticking to a workout routine. That’s why we have five great tips for a cardio change-up.
1. Try intervals – Begin with trying intervals–harder periods of exertion interspersed with easier recovery phases. For example, run two minutes at about 85 percent maximum heart rate (approximately 220 minus your age), followed by three minutes of very easy jogging, and then repeat that hard/easy sequence. Start with two or three intervals, and add more as your conditioning improves.
2. Try tempo sessions – If intervals aren’t your thing, try tempo sessions. These involve picking up the pace continuously for 15 to 25 minutes. The effort should feel medium hard–you’ll increase your breathing rate but not be out of breath. “You should be able to finish feeling refreshed, or what I call pleasantly fatigued,” Greg McMillan, MS, a running coach and competitive endurance runner, said.
3. Try running or biking up and down grades – Want something a bit easier? Try running or biking up and down grades. These target your leg muscles in ways flat-surface sessions can’t, Steffancin said. This brings better overall muscle balance and strength. Vary the workout by adjusting the grade of the hill or treadmill, as well as how long each hill repeat and recovery period lasts.
4. Rotate training sessions – It’s best to add these more intense training sessions only one or two days a week. For example, do intervals or hill training once a week and tempo training once a week, McMillan advises. Get your doctor’s approval before embarking on a cardio change-up. If you’re new to exercise, or just coming back, don’t add intensity for at least the first few months.
5. Try adding weight to your cardio routine – If at any time you want to make your workout a bit more challenging, try adding weight to your cardio routine. Try walking on the treadmill while holding light hand weights. Or wear ankle and wrist weights–they can help you burn more calories and gain endurance by tricking your body into thinking it needs to work harder.
Remember, you don’t need only exercise equipment to get a good workout. Outdoor activities such as canoeing and kayaking or biking are also great ways to stay in shape and also enjoy time with nature, family and friends.