Cardio-based exercises are one of the best ways to get started with fitness as they can be adapted for any age or ability, whilst having many benefits including helping to improve cardiovascular health, aiding sleep, stress relief and contributing to weight loss.
If you're new to exercise or haven't tried cardio workouts before, here are some good ways to get started.
Choose an activity that you enjoy
There are many forms of cardio exercise, it doesn't have to be something that you feel you should do, rather something that you enjoy and are more likely to stick to. Walking and running are what initially comes to mind, although there are many other examples including rowing, cycling, dancing and swimming. Even if something may seem difficult at first, it will become easier with time so don't let that put you off.
Pace and intensity
At first, try not to focus too much on how intense your workout is, as you are already achieving more than before by attending and completing the session! Put in the effort that's slightly more than what would be 'comfortable' for you, not for the whole duration, even if just for a few minutes at a time. If you are consistent over time, you will find that your ability will start to change and improve!
If one day you feel tired or sore, then take extra recovery days to let your body rest and repair. This means you will be more effective and ready when it comes to your next workout.
Ensure to include a warm-up and cool-down
Gradually increase your heart rate to begin with by doing some light cardio and stretches for 5-10 minutes, this helps to prepare your body and muscles and regulate your body temperature. It also helps you to prepare mentally to challenge yourself and helps to prevent injury.
Similarly, it is just as important to slowly bring your heart rate down by doing a cool-down. Stretching your muscles while they're still warm can help to reduce lactic acid buildup, reducing your chance of muscle cramps and stiffness.
Quick tips for a better workout!
- Make sure you have good quality shoes and comfortable clothing to exercise in, clothing intended for exercise isn't just about appearance - but are also functional! Particular fabrics are more breathable and help to keep you cool.
- Prepare your body from the start of the day by eating nutritional food regularly and staying hydrated.
- If you get used to your workout routine, change things up! Doing the same routine can lead to less motivation - meaning not as much progress!
- The talk test: if you can talk easily while you're exercising, you possibly could push a little harder (depending on your own body). If you can talk in short sentences, you're at a moderate pace.
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