In past weeks I have gone through some circuit activities which have focused on strength and flexibility with only a little emphasis on cardiovascular fitness. Of course, if you worked hard at the circuits then you probably have worked the cardiovascular system.
This week I am going to concentrate more on this area of fitness – the cardiovascular area. The circuit I will be going though can be set up on a footpath and all you will need is chalk, some balls (or stones), a skipping rope and a stair or chair (or even the gutter). Having said that, you can be as imaginative as you like. You can add exercises into this program to make it more difficult or change them around. I am sure you have seen variations of this train of thought on social media. I have gone a few steps further and hopefully, in doing so, will make your heart rate rise.
When you first say the word ‘cardio’, people think of either running or doing some form of cardio or aerobic class at the gym. In today’s environment, cardio is becoming a quite important element. What we would normally think as normal, isn’t anymore. People are staying home more and it is more difficult to do physical activity with many sporting facilities closed.
I am challenging you to motivate yourself to head outdoors with the kids, increase your heart rate, have some fun and work hard. What is better than doing something that is fun, different, can be done with the family and doesn’t need any equipment?
Any activity which is around 5 – 15 minutes in length can contribute to health benefits associated with physical activity. The problem is, you have to do it more than a couple of times a week to get any real benefit. Why not start now to increase your physical activity and get into a routine that will become the ‘norm’. When you do realise how much your health and well-being can improve through cardio it might give you some extra incentive. There aren’t too many activities that you can do that will give you as many benefits.
These can include:
- Helps to burn fat and calories which will help with weight loss (of course, you have to not increase the intake of food)
- Helps to keep your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood to the lungs and around the body
- Increase your stamina and reduce fatigue. You may feel fatigued at the very beginning of your cardiovascular effort, but given some time, your energy level with increase and your fatigue will drop
- Cardio can also, given time, increase the body’s ability to fight minor viral diseases
- Helps to reduce the risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases
- Increases your lung capacity
- It can help you to feel good and relieve any anxiety or depression
- Helps with better sleep
- Keep your arteries clear by boosting the ‘good’ cholesterol and lower your low density lipoprotein or the ‘bad’ cholesterol.
- Regular physical activity can improve the quality of life
- Cardio or aerobic activity can keep your mind sharper. It has the ability to improve memory, reasoning, judgement and thinking.
- Helps to give you more self confidence in how you look and feel
- As a parent, you provide a great role model for your children
- Can help with increasing bone density providing that your diet is well balanced
One of the best tips when trying to figure out what cardio activity is best to you is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Well – can’t get much more simple than this. No equipment, just a footpath and some chalk. This might just be the activity that starts you off on a physical challenge of exercising at least three times a week. And how long should you do cardio for? This will vary for different people of different age and of different
Regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic activity is good for you. Aerobic or cardiovascular activity has many health benefits, no matter what your age. As your body adapts to regular aerobic exercise, you will get stronger and fitter.
Why not start now with some fun activity with the family?
The cardio circuit includes fifteen different activities that you can do on the footpath or driveway.
- Hopscotch – on the double square – turn 180 degrees and then back again.
- 10 Star jumps
- Hopping on each leg – change legs as the colours of dots change
- Side steps on the lines – 6 lines and keep moving forward
- Step ups – can be done on chair, steps or just the gutter
- Shuttle runs – over a short distance – pick up balls or stones and bring them back to where you started from. Include 7-8 stones
- Double jump in the circles to get to the “Ladder”
- 20 Sit ups
- Ladder work
- In the ladder – start with both feet outside the square – jump into the middle and then out again to the outside of the next square and continue to the end.
Jog back to start
- Quick feet – from side to side, work your way from outside of 1st square through each square and the other side of square on a diagonal to the end of ladder
Jog back to start
- High knees in each square to the end
- At a spot, start with feet together. Jump feet out to sides then as you jump back in, land on 1 foot. Then jump both feet out to side again, and jump back into land on other foot. Continue 10 times
- Skipping – skip as if you are running on the spot – 20 times at least!
- Squat jumps 10 times.