Cardio

Fitness: 101

Using Your Bodyweight for Cardio

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When you think of cardio without the gym or fancy fitness equipment, you may only think about heading out for a jog. However, learning new exercises that simply use your bodyweight opens doors to a whole new world of workout potential. While our Hancock Wellness Centers are great, there are some days that you just can’t make it to the gym. No worries: Next time that happens, we’ve got your back.

Why cardio?

You have probably heard all about the benefits of cardio before, but just in case you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet, it bears repeating: Cardio is immensely important for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Not only does this mean a ticker that can take a challenge, but your brain and joints will benefit from increased circulation as well. In fact, as much as we think about cardio when it comes to heart disease, we should also incorporate it into any healthy lifestyle that wishes to decrease chances of developing dementia, cancer, and other chronic conditions like diabetes. 

Resistance is even better

If you want to increase the benefits of your cardio even more, add in some resistance. This helps to improve your cardio endurance and your muscle strength all at once. While adding resistance to your workout may mean ankle weights, a heavy backpack or exercise bands, using your own bodyweight is an incredibly effective solution. So, what are the benefits of using your body without the addition of fancy equipment?

  1. You can get a total body workout in less time.
  2. While you exercise your heart, you will also be gaining balance and flexibility.
  3. You have the freedom to work out no matter where you are: The park, a hotel, your living room are all great options.
  4. It never gets boring because you can choose from a wide variety of workouts, types of movement, and locations.
  5. It works for all ability levels.

Now the fun part

What is the best part about bodyweight exercises that get your heart pumping? There is so much variety to choose from, and it goes well beyond the traditional miles-long run. Check out this list of some of the most popular bodyweight exercises to perform at home and create your own routine to get your heart pumping in no time. Who knows, with some of these you may even find yourself back in your middle school gym class.

  • Jumping jacks
  • High knees and high knee skips
  • Hopscotch
  • Step ups, performed on a box or other raised surface
  • Lateral bunny hops
  • Lunges
  • Squats and squat jumps
  • Planks
  • Pushups
  • Sit-ups or crunches
  • Bicycles
  • Mountain climbers
  • Burpees

Along with these exercises, you can find online classes that teach Pilates, yoga, HIIT, cardio dance and other workouts to challenge the body and keep you interested. Apps like the 7 Minute Workout, Daily Burn, and Sweat are also a great way to take the guesswork out of cardio and include a plethora of classes and customized workouts. 

Words of caution

As with anything, speaking to your doctor before beginning a workout routine is vital to your health and safety. If you are recovering from an injury, surgery, or have a chronic health condition, you will want to be extra careful about working out at home. In fact, it may not be the best option for you, so make sure to consult your doctor or health care professional before beginning.

Working out doesn’t have to be boring and it doesn’t have to be at the gym to be beneficial. Next time you can’t make it to your group class, or you get tired of the treadmill, try out some of these ideas for bodyweight cardio exercises. Afterall, mixing up your routine can be one of the keys to staying inspired to keep up your healthy lifestyle.

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