Cardio, as we all know, is short for cardiovascular exercise. Also known as aerobic exercises, cardio includes any workout or exercise that increases your heart rate. It brings it up to a level ideal for burning fat and calories. It’s a workout that gets your heart pumping, makes you breathe harder and faster, and gets you sweating. Some common forms of cardio are running, swimming, cycling, skipping, and jogging.
When doing any form of exercise, your heart rate goes up. There are different zones of heart rates, namely resting heart rate, moderate heart rate, target heart rate, maximum heart rate, and fat-burning heart rate. It’s in this heart rate zone that your body taps into fat stores for energy instead of sugars and carbohydrates. Thus, reaching the fat-burning heart rate, as the name suggests, helps us burn fat. This heart rate zone decreases as one gets older, and you must do your research and take precautions before jumping in.
Why is Cardio Important?
Experts recommend 75-150 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio every week. What makes it such an essential element of a balanced workout? The number one reason is that it increases your overall heart and lung health. Here are the top ten reasons why cardio is important:
#2 Regular cardio can improve your memory and mental ability.
#4 Cardio burns calories, which reduces your body mass index (BMI) and improves your metabolism. Eventually, doing cardio can help you reach your ideal weight.
#6 Regular cardio can help maintain blood sugar levels. It also aids in preventing Type 2 Diabetes.
#7 Exercising every day can also help relieve stress. You will see a change in your mood and self-esteem.
#8 Do you have trouble sleeping? People who engage in aerobic workouts tend to sleep better. Ideally, you should work out at least two hours before hitting the bed.
#9 Cardio improves lung function. It’s highly beneficial for people who suffer from conditions like asthma.
All in all, cardio is great for your physical and mental health. You must do some cardio at least a couple of times a week.
Cardio at Home: Things to Remember
The best part about cardio is that it’s easy to access. You don’t necessarily need to enroll in a gym or invest in expensive or bulky equipment. Getting in a good cardio workout at home is easy! However, there are some things you should keep in mind.
1. Check your health
Make sure you don’t have any underlying health conditions. If you have any injuries or aches and pains, plan your workout accordingly. To protect yourself, you can wear knee, ankle, elbow, back supports, etc. If you suffer from any health issues, it’s best to consult a physician first.
2. Warm-up & cool down
Warming up and cooling down involves doing exercises of lower intensity and pace. These are crucial for any workout. You should spend 5-10 minutes each warming up and cooling down. By skipping out on them, you are at a higher risk of injury and cause a higher strain on your cardiovascular system. Warm-up and cool-down exercises include stretching, slow jogging, slow cycling, etc. Stretching, in particular, helps prevent muscle tears and injuries
3. Dress right
Wearing the right shoes and workout clothes is important. You wouldn’t want to get injured because you wore a pair of slippers while working out. Dressing up right for your workout can also improve your performance, especially if you’re running or skipping. For example, women who wear sports bras get plenty of support, preventing soreness and pain.
4. Stick to a routine
Especially while working out from home, it’s easy to slack off. We recommend setting up a routine and sticking to it. It’s also important to set fitness goals for yourself and work towards them. Try setting up a workout calendar, along with daily reminders to push you to work out. Tracking your progress is another way to motivate yourself.
You could also reward yourself when you meet your fitness goals. Avoid rewards that work against your goals, though, like treating yourself to dessert or junk food
5. Hydrate yourself
Make sure to keep a bottle with you and stay hydrated. When you work out, you sweat. When you sweat, your body loses electrolytes. It’s up to you to replenish these electrolytes by drinking plenty of water while working out and after too
6. Follow the right technique
While working out on your own, it’s important to make sure you’re following the right technique. Watch videos online, or consult a trainer. Incorrect techniques can once again lead to injuries.
Exercises like running or jogging may seem simple enough, but there is a proper technique to be followed to avoid injuries. It’s always a great idea to consult a professional trainer. It’s always better to take precautions, right?
How to Effectively Practice Cardio at Home?
As the name suggests, a home gym is a space for you to work out from the comfort of your home. It doesn’t even have to be a whole room. It’s just about having a place to exercise. Home gyms can come in many different forms, sizes, and budgets. When building one designed for cardio, here’s some of the best home gym equipment you can get:
1. Skipping Ropes
Use ropes for exercise gym workouts. A skipping rope is one of the smallest yet most practical additions to a home gym. Skipping is an efficient form of cardio that also happens to have many variations. Using a rope for a gym workout, you can have fun, learn different tricks and get fit all at the same time. For an even more effective workout, you can try weighted skipping ropes! Burnlab also has a variety of other workout ropes available.
2. Resistance Bands
Resistance bands are another small piece of equipment that is effective. These are generally used for building muscle and for stretching. However, they can also make for a great cardio exercise at home. They can be used to do resistance band boxing, skating squats, zigzag drills, and more. Use these bands for an intense fat-burning workout since the resistance provided requires more effort to move on your part. The best part is their versatility which allows for a different workout every day. You can get regular resistance bands, mini bands, pull-up bands, hip bands, or resistance tubes.
Kettlebells are great for building muscle, weight training, and cardio. Since they are heavy, the load itself makes your workout more intense. Some common exercises include the kettlebell swing, squat and press, and lateral lunge to squat. Use these weights in a succession of different movements & steps for kettlebell flow. Due to the weight involved in this workout, make sure your technique is proper. Be prepared for an intense session.
4. Yoga Mat
Get yourself a yoga mat on which you can do all of your exercises, from burpees, and squat jumps to jumping jacks and mountain climbers. Using a yoga mat can prevent slipping and preventable injuries. It also takes very little space and can be rolled away and stored. You can also carry it around along with your skipping rope and resistance bands.
5. Exercise Machines
Coming to the bigger investments for a home gym, you have exercise machines. Treadmills, spin cycles, rowing machines, elliptical machines, and stationary cycles are a few popular ones. These can help you achieve an intense cardio workout right at home. If you have the space and budget, they are an excellent investment. Make sure to do your research before deciding on one.
Remember that you don’t need all of the above workout equipment for a home gym. See what works best for your body, the space you have, and your budget. Your home gym can be small enough to fit into your bag or big enough to fill a room. Just a couple of workout ropes and a yoga mat is also good enough.
A cardio workout can also be as simple as going for a run or swim. Plan your workout and set up your home gym based on your preferences and fitness goals. For simple, affordable equipment for your home gym, visit Burnlab. Burnlab brings high-quality fitness equipment to Indian consumers. You can get yourself a rope for a gym workout, a weighted skipping rope, resistance bands, yoga mats, pull-up bands, and so much more.
What does your ideal home gym look like? Let us know in the comments!