By Bailey Vincent Clark
1. Get Going, Get Cardio
The road to physical fitness and wellness can often be overwhelming, but there is no greater place to begin than starting a cardio exercise routine. Cardiovascular exercise is heart-pumping, sweat-inducing physical fitness that gets your body moving, mobilizes your joints and helps improve your cardiovascular system. Cardio exercise can not only improve your overall health, strength, and endurance, but it can increase energy and stamina throughout daily living. To begin a cardio exercise routine, start by sitting down and creating a list of all the activities you have formerly enjoyed or have wanted to try.
2. Pick Your Favorites
Review your list of favorite activities and assess what sports or forms of fitness your might want to try. The key to creating a lasting cardio exercise routine is choosing activities that you enjoy. If you dislike a certain exercise (such as running or swimming), you will inevitably abandon your cardio goals because you will dread the routine. When in doubt, walking is always a wonderful place to start for cardiovascular fitness, because almost everyone can walk and enjoys the activity.
Start your routine slowly with only 15 minutes per day the first week, 20 minutes the second week and increase steadily as time goes on. Studies have shown that just 30 minutes of physical activity five days per week can drastically reduce chances of disease, poor health and obesity, while fitting easily into the average busy lifestyle.
3. Schedule It In
Anyone can make time for physical fitness, but it is important to plan ahead in order to stick to a cardio routine. Strive to plan solid exercise “appointments” throughout the week, even if the cardio is divided into three 10 minute increments or otherwise. Studies have shown that it is the “accumulative effect of cardiovascular exercise that is beneficial to health,” as long as all workouts raise the heart rate and challenge the body effectively. This means that even if you only have 10 minutes to work out in the morning, try to break a sweat in that small amount of time.
4. Cross-Train For Fun
Cross-training has been shown to keep exercise results from hitting plateaus, while preventing boredom. Try to pick three to four exercises from your activity list that you would love to try, and rotate between a new activity each day. Try riding a stationary bike, taking a water-aerobics class, roller-blading or jogging. There are a wide range of aerobics, martial arts and dance classes provided at local health centers that can keep you entertained and moving, or simply exercise in the safety of your own living room with a challenging video.
5. Every Step Counts
In the end, certain schedules truly prevent a solid cardiovascular routine, in which case something is always better than nothing. Strive to find walking routes on the way work or purchase a bicycle to run errands on the weekends. Try to run the stairs at your office during a lunch break or ask a co-worker to embark on lunchtime power walks to your favorite restaurant. It doesn’t matter how exercise fits into your day, but simply starting a cardio routine will provide physical and mental benefits for the rest of your life.