Treadmill running and jogging definitely have their place in a well-rounded fitness routine, but frankly, sometimes they suck and you just don’t want to do them. Still, when you’re in the mood for something that’s really going to get your heart pumping and help you forget the stress of the day, you know what it’s like: You just need to sweat it out, and you need to sweat it out now. You know, as long as you stay as far away from the treadmill as possible. Luckily, there are a number of cardio workouts that make you sweat that don’t involve running or jogging in any way, shape, or form. Bless. Up.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that cardio is good for you, but the thing is, you really don’t even have to do a lot of it to reap the benefits. Only about a half hour or so of aerobic activity a day is recommended by the American Heart Association (AHA), and listen, fam: The AHA never said anything about those 30 minutes having to be on the treadmill, so feel free to ditch that machine forever if you’ve low-key always hated it.
There are so many ways you can make cardio super sweaty, somewhat enjoyable, and incredibly satisfying sans running. So, prepare to get creative and sweat your heart out with these six cardio workouts. head-to-toe.
Biking is more than just an awesome, sweat-inducing form of cardio; you can incorporate it into your lifestyle in so many different ways. "Biking is one of those activities that you can do in the gym or out in the world," Mary Weidner, co-founder of the fitness app Strongr Fastr, tells Elite Daily over email. "Green exercise (or exercising in nature) has been shown to have greater mental health benefits than working out indoors, so take your bike on a bike path near some natural beauty for even greater benefits."
"After trying many things throughout the years, there has been one ‘cardio workout’ that has been the most effective when it comes to improving conditioning, speed, agility, and athleticism," Nick Rizzo, training director at RunRepeat, tells Elite Daily. "Doing timed, continuous, full-body kettlebell workouts will deliver everything you can ever want from cardio and so much more."
According to Rizzo, with a timed set, the goal is to never put the kettlebell down or stop doing a movement until the time is up. TBH, I’m sweating just thinking about it.
"A 15-minute session will leave you gasping for air and drenched in sweat as if you just finished up 40 minutes on a treadmill or StairMaster," Rizzo explains. "This will provide you the benefits of cardio with the added bonus of building more strength and muscle."
Don’t give me that look. Burpees aren’t that bad.
"A fave (or not-so-fave) of many, this heart-pumping jumping exercise will make you sweat," says Dr. Lisa Folden, owner of Healthy PhiT Physical Therapy.
If you want to include burpees in your own cardio routine, Folden recommends you start in a standing position, then squat down, touch the floor, and kick your legs behind you into a high plank. "Return the legs to their starting position, return to standing, and jump up," she tells Elite Daily. "This one will get you going for sure."
Rowing is a great workout, cardio or otherwise, because it really targets several different muscles in your body, according to Weidner.
So hop on a rowing machine and get moving, peeps. Personally, this form of cardio leaves me the sweatiest of all, and my arms feel absolutely ripped after I’ve completed my workout.
"One of the most underrated cardio workouts that really gets your heart rate up is swimming," Caleb Backe, a personal trainer and health and wellness exxpert for Maple Holistics, tells Elite Daily. "Moving through water results in more resistance and therefore works more muscle groups than you would just from your regular jog."
I know what you’re thinking: You don’t get sweaty while swimming! Well, the truth is, technically you do. The water basically just masks it, but you’re pretty much just as sweaty (if not more sweaty) as you would be atop the treadmill.
HIIT (or high-intensity interval training) is an extremely effective way to get your cardio in without the use of a lot of equipment or space, according to Lauren Powers, founder and co-owner of Total Fitness Revolution.
Instead of hitting the treadmill or jogging trail, give Powers’ HIIT workout a try the next time you’re craving some cardio: You’ll need a jump rope, a 5- to 8-pound set of dumbbells, and a stopwatch. First, she instructs, jump-rope for one minute, followed by bodyweight squats for one minute, jumping jacks for one minute, and dumbbell shoulder-presses for two minutes. "Repeat for five sets, for a total of 15 minutes," says Powers.
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