So you’re looking to add cardiovascular workouts to your already jam-packed, busy schedule. If you’re like the rest of the world, you may feel overcommitted to important tasks like caring for your family or meeting various deadlines at work.
While the happiness of our loved ones and our clients is important, we simply cannot perform at our best if our own health and happiness is lacking.
However, everyone involved in our lives will benefit it we take action to prevent future disease and illness. Additionally, making time for daily physical activity will result in a well-needed energy boost to help us not only go through the motions, but truly thrive as we tackle our daily tasks.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
The question remains, “How can we take time to fit in physical activity when it’s difficult enough to meet the demands of our fast-paced lifestyles?”
Below are three creative cardiovascular routines specifically designed for everyone from the stay-at-home mom without access to a gym, to the busy employee who has little time outside the office. Included is a game plan to help you commit to taking action.
3 creative cardiovascular workouts – no excuses allowed!
The following cardiovascular routines will help you torch body fat, increase metabolism, and leave you with a fresh boost of energy! There are absolutely no excuses allowed, as these routines can be performed anywhere and maximize the use of your time.
Fortunately, aerobic activity has been shown to be beneficial no matter how it is accomplished, whether broken up into 30-minute moderate intensity sessions 5 times per week, 20-minute vigorous intensity sessions 3 days per week, or 3 mini 10-minute sessions throughout the course of a day.
Ideally, you should aim to accumulate 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week as recommended by American College of Sports Medicine guidelines. However, do keep in mind some activity is always better then none!
The stay-at-home energizer!
This routine is a modified version of a circuit workout published in ACSM’s Health Fitness Journal (May/June 2013) shown to be efficient at burning fat while adding lean muscle mass to jump-start your metabolism.
While very effective with body weight alone, feel free to add in weights as your strength and endurance increase. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds followed by 10 seconds of transition time between exercises. Each round should take about 7 minutes to complete. Aim to complete 2-3 rounds.
1. Mountain climbers
2. Wall sit
3. Push ups
5. Step-ups (using stairs or a chair, Advanced option: Sprint up and down a flight of stairs)
7. Triceps dip (using a chair or a low table)
8. Abdominal crunch
9. Run in place
10. Lunge (walking or stationary)
11. Jumping jacks (Advanced option: Burpees)
12. Side plank
The in-office quick fix
Designed to combat the side effects of sitting for prolonged periods, this circuit workout will leave you with a boost of energy to take on the remaining workday. The only equipment needed is a chair!
A word of caution: If your chair is on wheels be sure to secure it against a stationary object before performing the exercises. If you are without an office try taking the workout outside and substituting a picnic table or park bench for the chair. When worried about what your coworkers may think try getting them to join in and serve as extra motivation and accountability!
Warm up: Jumping jacks – 3-5 minutes (Advanced option: walk or jog up and down a flight of stairs)
Circuit: Repeat 1-3 times.
– Chair squats – 50 reps
– Mountain climbers – 1 minute
– Chair push-ups – 50 reps
– Mountain climbers – 1 minute
– Chair dips– 50 reps
– Mountain climbers – 1 minute
Cool down: Lightly jog in place for 3-5 minutes. Follow the workout with a kneeling hip flexor stretch.
Kneeling hip flexor stretch:
Start in a lunge position with left foot forward and right knee placed on the floor. Working to keep an upright posture, slightly tilt the pelvis backwards in order to engage the right glute muscles.
A stretch should be felt throughout the right hip flexor muscles. In order to deepen the stretch, hands can be reached up to the sky with palms facing forward. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds until switching to the other side. Perform the stretch twice on each side.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – You choose the location, activity, and format!
Try alternating high and low intensity intervals to increase metabolism, reduce body fat and prevent boredom throughout your workout. HIIT can done with walking, running, cycling, swimming, rowing or any other activity you prefer. Regardless of the option you choose a few guidelines should take place:
– The HIIT phase should be preceded and followed by a 5 to 10 minute warm up and cool down.
– Intervals can be done in a number of varieties. A few common protocols are 60 seconds hard/90 seconds easy, 60 seconds hard/60 seconds easy, and 30 seconds hard/10 seconds easy.
– The goal is to reach 85-95% of maximum heart rate during the high intensity sessions. To find 85% of your max heart rate subtract your age from 220 to find your age predicted max heart rate. Next take your age predicted max heart rate and multiply it by .85.
The remaining number is the number of beats per minute you should aim to achieve during the high intensity intervals.
The game plan – committing to more energy and better health
Understanding the benefits of physical activity is often times not the challenge, it’s taking action to lead an active lifestyle that’s the most difficult part. So how do we go about changing the paradigm? Try taking the following steps to reflect on your personal vision for creating a happier, healthier and more energized version of yourself.
– Begin by writing a personal vision for what becoming a healthier individual means to you. Why do you want to achieve better health? What results do you hope to achieve by committing to a cardiovascular exercise regimen?
Who will benefit from your increased health and energy? Post your vision on your refrigerator, in the office or any other place that will frequently remind you of the deeper reasons for creating healthy habits.
– One of the first steps to overcoming the challenge of finding time to exercise is to identify a specific time and place to exercise. Write it on the calendar, set a reminder in your phone, and treat it like any other important appointment in your life.
– Find an activity that is practical and enjoyable. The suggested cardiovascular exercise routines are an excellent place to start. Experiment with a variety of options. The more you enjoy an activity, the more likely you are to stick with it!
– Finally – Make it happen! You know what to do and how to do it. Do it!
When in doubt
The above goal-setting suggestions and workout options are designed to accommodate even the most challenging situations. If you find you need additional help establishing a personalized workout strategy feel free to contact the author with your concerns.
The time to take action is now. Remember, small changes will add up to amazing and monumental results. Today’s failures only teach us how to make tomorrow successful. Best of luck on your journey to a happier, healthier you!