July 13, 2024

How Creative Is Your Cardio?

Fit Body:

How creative is your cardio?

To qualify as cardiovascular exercise your movement must be continuous, moving many muscle groups at once, and sustained long enough to elevate your heart rate. What does this mean? Just about anything goes! Get creative by creating your own cardio. Look no farther than your own living room, backyard, local park, community track or walking path. Where can you step up and down? What can you use to hold and squat? On what hill can you jog repeats? What provides a unique balance or agility challenge? Look at your surroundings with an eye for fitness!


Small-Space Cardio

Fit Body:

Small-Space or Stationary Cardio!

Not all cardio has to cover miles, use expensive equipment and take up lots of time, to contribute towards a healthier cardiovascular system. Stack stationary moves to power up your heart and lungs, burn calories and even reduce stress and muscle tension. For example:

Jumping Jacks.

Jump Rope.

Jog in place.

Plyometrics or hopping in various patterns.

Body Weight moves performed at a faster pace and in succession without a rest period.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.

Want to start running?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Walk/Run Intervals!

Want to start running, but don’t know where or how to begin? Walk/run intervals make the transition manageable. A common mistake is doing too much too soon. Here’s how to progress gradually reducing risk of injury and burnout:

Once you have a regular walking program 3 days a week, begin with 10 second intervals in the middle of your workout. Warm up for 8-10 minutes, perform a series of 10 second jogging or running intervals followed by 30 second or more walking intervals. Conclude your workout with a 5-10 minute cool down. Gradually, add seconds and then minutes to your jogging/running intervals and decrease your walking intervals.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.


Make your workout WORK!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Make your workout WORK!

Want results from your exercise? You’re going to have to WORK! Your cardio workout should be challenging, that’s the point. So, ditch the workouts leaning on the bars of the cardio machine, forgot the exercise when you’re checking your email the entire time, get rid of workouts when you’re chatting it up, distracted and putting forth half-effort! Your fitness= you get out of it, what you put into it. If you’re cruising through your exercise, check yourself:

1. You should be breathing harder than normal.

2. Your perceived exertion (how hard you gauge you’re working) should be somewhat hard.

3. You should have to focus on proper execution of your exercise.

4. You may be sweating.

5. You should feel fatigue for about 30 minutes post workout.

Should the Stationary Bike be on your cardio list?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Stationary Bike!

Whether your new to fitness or a seasoned veteran, keep the stationary bike on your cardio option list. Here’s why:

Non-impact. The bike is non-impact, which means there’s no impact stress on your joints.

Intensity is controllable. Add resistance or decrease it. Add elevation or decrease it. Your workout is up to you.

You have options. Choose between a recumbant bike or upright bike. If you have difficulty stabilizing your torso without back support, choose a recumbant bike. If you have knee or hip concerns and a large range of motion is difficult, choose a stationary bike.


*Consult a physician before beginning exercise.


Do Star Jumps!

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Add in Star Jumps!

Increase your workout intensity by adding in cardio bursts. In between every set or in between groups of exercises, doing 30 to 2 minutes of cardio will burn additional calories. Cardio bursts are also a way to mix up your workout, challenge your muscles, prevent boredom and add a fun component. Another option is to combine star jumps with burpees, jump squats or plyometrics for a challenging high-intensity cardio workout. Here’s how to get started:

Begin standing with your arms at your sides. Jump straight up and extend both arms and legs out the side creating a star shape with your body. Land gently with your arms and legs together. Bend your knees and immediately perform another star jump.


*Consult your physician before performing exercise.

High Knees Cardio

Get Fit Quick Tip:

High Knees for Cardio!

If you’re looking to add a cardio component to your workout, consider High Knees. Great for runners, walkers and those looking for fast calorie burning, high knees provide a challenging and energizing interval option.

Begin standing. Lift your right knee straight up, adding a hop to the top of the range of motion if desired. Immediately return your right foot to the floor, and lift your left knee straight up, adding a hop to the top of the range of motion. Begin with a ten second interval and build from there. This exercise is for intermediate or advanced exercisers, without injury or illness concerns.


*Consult your physician before beginning exercise.

Should you add a hill workout to your fitness routine?

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Hill Repeats!

Hill workouts via repeats are great for cardio! Walk, run, power hike or even sprint up the hill, and you’ll burn mega calories and strengthen your legs. Choosing a hill of moderate incline, and about a quarter mile long is a great starting point. Begin with a warm up of walking on a flat surface for at least 10 minutes. Then do your hill repeat up, followed by a gentle jog or walk down. Turn around and head up again. Repeat 2-4 times. Perform your cool down for at least 10 minutes on a flat surface.


*Always consult your physician before beginning exercise. Hill repeats are for intermediate or advanced exercisers without injury or illness concerns.

Are you new to exercise? By Sarah Johnson

Creating a Habit for Beginner Exercisers

New to exercise?  Fantastic!  First of all, congratulations on making the decision to become healthier!

I’ve met many Brand-New-to-Exercise members during my years at the gym, and the most common mistake they make is overdoing it at the beginning.  To avoid that pitfall, which can lead to injury, disappointment or even quitting, beginner exercisers can start with some simple cardio.  Cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart, builds endurance and burns calories.  It’s a great way to create the habit of increasing the amount of activity in your life.

First, choose an exercise that you enjoy doing.  The good news is that there are so many different types of cardio to choose from!  Walking indoors or outside, cycling, hiking and swimming are all great low-impact activities that will raise your heart rate.

Next, make a plan to do your chosen activity 2-3 days a week.  Look at your schedule or calendar, and write it down or create a reminder.  If it’s in your planner, just like any other important appointment, you are more likely to stick to it.

When doing the activity for the first time, make sure you warm up at a slower pace for 5-10 minutes before increasing the pace.  Plan on moving for 20 minutes at a time, including the warm-up.  Remember, we don’t want to overdo it the first time!

After you’ve succeeded in fitting in 3 cardio workouts in one week, it’s time to increase the duration.  Add 5 minutes to each workout the following week, for a total of 25 minutes.  Once you’ve achieved 3 workouts in a week at 25 minutes, add another 5 for a total of 30 minutes.

Don’t worry about distance or speed just yet; as a beginner, your main focus is fitting exercise in regularly and making the habit stick.  Once you’ve been regularly exercising, mix it up by trying a new activity or increasing the intensity.  And at this point, you’re no longer a beginner!  You’ve made being active a normal part of your life!

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago

Add-On the Fun by Tera Busker

This is an Add-On Workout. Add on the fun by adding one exercise at a time! Super efficient and super fun.

(Consult your physician before beginning exercise.)

Begin doing #1, then #2, then #1. Then do #3, #2, #1. Repeat until you’ve completed #7- #1.


1.    10 Plank Up Downs
2.    15 Squats
3.    10 Jump Lunges
4.    10 Tricep Dips
5.    10 Pushups
6.    30 Mountain Climbers
7.    10 Burpees

Tera Busker is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Fitness To Go, an exclusive In Home & Private Studio Personal Training Service based out of Roberts, WI. www.fitnesstogo.net