Aerobic exercise, my friends, is pretty awesome. Also known as cardio, this type of exercise has a ton of benefits, including better heart health, lower blood pressure, more control over blood sugar and better lung function.
Of course, when I mention “cardio,” you might be thinking of complicated routines done for hours each day. The truth is that any cardio helps, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, just 30 minutes each day for five days a week can bring you these benefits (https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/7050-aerobic-exercise).
Before you embark on your cardio journey, keep these simple tips in mind.
Work yourself up to the minimum
If you’re not a regular exerciser right now, don’t just jump to daily cardio. You could injure yourself and be sidelined for days or even weeks. Start off slow and build yourself up until you can safely do a cardio workout regularly.
Boost your overall activity
Cardio isn’t just found in the gym. Doing more physical activity that gets your body moving and the heart pumping counts, too. Find some ways to increase how much you move everyday. Take the stairs at work instead of the elevator sometimes. Park further away when you go somewhere so you have to work more. Think about your days; I bet you’ll find plenty of ways to inject some cardio into them!
Don’t make it a competition
Don’t exercise with other people as if it’s a competition. When you let competition sneak into your exercise, it can zap some of the benefits, particularly if it causes you to mess up your pace. If you’re naturally competitive, you may want to exercise solo.
Warm up first
A brief warm-up before exercise can get your body prepared for what’s coming and potentially help you avoid injury. Generally, you can warm up with a slowed-down variation of the activity you’re about to do. For example, cycle in slow motion or walk slowly. People often stretch before a workout, but in reality, this doesn’t prep your muscles for cardio as well as some slow movements will.
Use your common sense
If you’re not one to exercise, don’t embark on a cardio program without having a checkup by a doctor first. If you already have heart trouble or high blood pressure or a heart disease family history, you may need some additional tests before you’re clear to do cardio to be on the safe side.