Long runs on the treadmill got you down? Experts agree that most adult should aim for 30 minutes of aerobic activity in every day, yet most of us don’t even come close to this recommendation. Cardio is great for your heart, your waistline, and so much more, but the problem, is most of us aren’t doing it right, embarking on long, exhausting, tedious workouts that leave us drained and unmotivated.
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Get inspired and make your cardio sessions more bearable — dare we say, even fun! — with these 10 tips.
1. There’s An App for That
Interject a playful distraction to your treadmill sessions with apps to beat cardio boredom. Check out BeatBurn, which analyzes which songs are better matched to your workout. That means it will create and adjust a playlist to your pace based on beats per minute. (How cool is that?) Then, of course, there are the countless measuring apps that allow you to track your progress and make a game out of how far and how fast you can go.
2. Treat Yo’self
When you were a kid, your parents would barter treats in exchange for good behaviour. There’s no reason why we can’t do this as adults, right? You’ll appreciate a reward at the end of a good sweat session, and it may just be the one thing that gets you out the door in the morning. Make a goal (run for a certain distance, or for a certain amount of time) and treat yourself to a long steam session, a new pair of kicks or some other small treat that feels indulgent. Just; make sure it’s not junk food related – you’ll ruin your healthy efforts.
3. Go Shopping
This one is more about prepping yourself than treating yourself (though there’s an element of that here, too). Invest in some decent and cute workout clothes, so you feel confident and comfortable during your workouts. Never underestimate the power of apparel as a motivator, because the right clothes can help you create an identity as a fitness buff. You don’t have to blow an entire paycheck on designer pieces, just choose a few well-made, cute pieces that you can mix and match.
4. Go HIIT
One of the main reasons people dislike cardio is because of its long and tedious pace, but the trendy way to sneak in your cardio is by varying the intensity and breaking up your workout into HIIT intervals. Try sprinting for 40 seconds at a high intensity and jogging for 20 seconds at an easier pace to catch your breath. Not only will this make your cardio much more tolerable, but it will also shorten your workouts and increase your overall burn.
5. Break It Up
We all know that 30 minutes of daily cardio does a body good, but it doesn’t all have to be done at once! You can reap the health benefits of a daily, 30-minute cardio session by splitting up those 30 minutes into two or even three workouts throughout the day. In one study, overweight women dropped similar amounts of body weight when they did 30-minute, two 15-minute or three 10-minute workouts, so don’t feel like you have to get it in all at once.
6. Get Inspired
Sometimes we just need a little motivation, to be reminded why exercise is important, and that it’s really in our best interest to keep at it. Pinterest is an excellent source for inspiration; we love the #fitspo images of athletic bodies, as well as the inspirational quotes. (One of our favourites? “I plan on having such an awesome run, Morgan Freeman should narrate it.”) And there are the anatomy pins, that show the body bonuses from running, including mental health, lower high blood pressure, stronger immune system, bones and muscles, better joint stability, and higher confidence. Don’t you feel like pounding the pavement right about now?
7. What Would Beyoncé Do?
You know that Queen Bey wouldn’t let life pass her by; she’d dance. So swap a running session for a Drunk In Love par-tay! Thighgaphack.com looks to the singer’s songs to bring dance cardio workouts to a whole new level – specifically working the body parts that Beyoncé is known for, including abs, oblique’s and legs. Not a Beyoncé fan? That’s OK, too! Choose a dance playlist of your liking and dance your heart out for 20 minutes to get your cardio in on a day when you’re not feeling a run.
8. Jump Around
Remember how fun it was to play in the park was when you were young? Find that youthful approach to cardio with Parkour. Also known as free running this form of cardio will have you jumping and climbing over obstacles that get in the way of your run. Bench? No problem. Fire hydrant? Bring it on. In some areas classes are offered (just Google it to see if its in your hood), or you can take over your own park as you see fit.
9. Get Competitive
Cardio can be so much more fun in a group, so grab a buddy, join a team or take a class. At the very least, be competitive with yourself. This competitive edge will give you focus and push you further in your workouts. It recommends social media, like Fitocracy, iMapMyFitness, and Gym Buddy, to track your training sessions, not only so you can see your results, but you can also compare them to others on the apps.
10. Just Do It
Hate cardio? Get over it. Okay, so that was a little harsh, but sometimes the only solution is to get your shoes on and go. Stop thinking of cardio as punishment, and learn to appreciate the way it makes you feel (endorphins anyone?). When cardio feel more like a task than an enjoyable activity, it’s often a temporary mental stumble, which quickly passes once you’ve got a sweat going. Just grab your shoes and start running. You’ll feel better for it.