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!


Add Function to your Fitness with Stairs

Get Fit Quick Tip:

Get Functional with Stairs!

Stair climbing is one of the most functional exercises. Think of how many times you may step up or step down during the day. Stair climbing strengthens your heart and lungs, your muscles, your balance, your agility and coordination.  Start slow and easy after a proper walking or range of motion warm up of 8-10 minutes. Form is important when climbing stairs for exercise. Keep your upper body straight up, with your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. Even though you’ll be looking down to insure safe stepping, focus on looking down with your eyes only rather than slouching your entire upper body forward and down. Ten stairs is a great repetition range to begin, followed by walking or marching in place to keep heart rate moderate during rest periods. Then, climb the next set of 10, and so on.  So whether you revisit the classic stair climber machine at your gym or find a flight of stairs in your community, consider adding function to your fitness with this exercise.


*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.

Exercise at the Park by Sarah Johnson

The park is a great place to lounge, relax and get some sunshine. However, if you’re in need of some workout inspiration, the park can also be utilized for a quick and easy workout to boost your mood and energy levels! All you need is a bench and yourself.

Using a bench, you can make plenty of hard work on something that’s usually used for sitting and resting! (Please consult your physician before performing exercises.)


Warm Up: Begin by warming up your lower body. Stand with your back to the bench. Perform a Squat up and down to the bench. Try not to sit and rest, but barely touch the bench. Perform 10-15 reps.

Upper Body Strength: Then, turn around and add some pushups! Place your hands on the back support of the bench, or if you’d like more of a challenge, on the seat of the bench. Slowly lower your chest between your hands and push yourself back up.

Lower Body Strength: Now you should be warmed up, and we can add some step ups. Place your right foot firmly on the seat of the bench, and pull your body and left leg up on top of the seat. Carefully and slowly lower the left leg back to the ground, and repeat 10 times. Then switch legs.

Repeat series as desired.

Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahJChicago