4 Ways to Keep Your Cardio Fresh
Cardiovascular training is an extremely important aspect of any great fitness plan. The act of elevating your heart rate, spiking your heart rate and recovering from said states is essential for overall health. Not only that, but you’ll be able to carry out regular physical tasks much more efficiently and perhaps most importantly, you’ll be able to go even harder in the gym without being winded.
When most people in the gym world think about cardio they see themselves on the treadmill, the stepmill or a spin bike. Instead, what they should be seeing is a plethora of options available for cardio work that doesn’t always necessarily have to take place in the gym.
If you feel like you’re cardio efforts could use some freshening up, give these 4 options a try.
All you have to do is look around your city or town and chances are you’ll find a flight of stairs somewhere that are just waiting for you to run up and down on. Or maybe you know of a building or work in a building that has lots of stairs that hardly ever get used because of the elevator right next to them and you could hit those after work or during your lunch break. Regardless of where you perform stair work, one thing is for certain; it’s a great way to spice up your cardio, increase heart rate levels and also get a ton of quad, ham and glute work in at the same time.
One of the reasons running hills is so good for cardio work is because of the fight against momentum that occurs on the downhill. Running up the hill would be considered the concentric phase of the exercise and going downhill would be considered the eccentric, however that eccentric phase must be carefully handled so that you don’t get going too fast and lose your footing. That requires a tremendous amount of contractile strength in your lower body. So just when you think you can let gravity and momentum provide a bit of a rest phase for you, think again or else you’ll be flat out and rolling down the hill.
Many of us who train, lift weights and perform cardio daily started to do so to improve in our respective sports. Those sports eventually ended for whatever reason and our focus was then just hitting the gym. When it comes to cardio, you’ll hear lots of people complain about how boring and mundane it is. If that’s the case, why not go back to playing sports instead of staring at the wall on a treadmill? You’ll be having fun, you’ll get your competitive fire burning again and you’ll also get in a great cardiovascular workout before you even know it. I’d much rather spend an hour skating around a rink firing pucks at a goalie versus spending it on an elliptical watching an overhead television screen that’s set to a channel I can’t change.
The last option I think you should try out is resistance running that you can do on a track or field. My three favorite options for this would be sled training, where you either push or pull a plate loaded sled, resistance band running, where you loop a couple of resistance bands around your waist and have a partner behind you that’s holding onto them and pulling back on your while you run and finally parachute training, where you attach a running chute to your back and run against the resistance provided by the wind the parachute catches. For all of these options you can incorporate sprinting exercises as well as any type of long distance training you’d like to do too.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to your cardiovascular training is that you do it. Far too often people fail to work on it and it ends up becoming a thing of the past. So throw on a pair of your Super Freak Cardio Training Sneakers, decide upon which new cardio option you’ll try out first and then get to work. Keep things fresh in your training and fresh on your feet and you’ll never miss a cardio session ever again.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, Sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.