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Tips to Improve Your Cardiovascular Workout

Tim Truzy is a former wrestler and 10K runner who works out several times per week.

The treadmill can be a great way to get a cardiovascular workout.

The treadmill can be a great way to get a cardiovascular workout.

Cardiovascular Exercise

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, you have to put your heart into it. Cardiovascular exercise is any workout that increases the heart rate. They include: jumping rope, swimming, running, and riding a bike. Some people prefer to use machines like bikes and the treadmill shown in the photo. Many like to do their cardiovascular workout unaided by machines. Whatever the preference, most experts recommend a moderate rate of exercise for about 20 minutes. Consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Tips for getting the most out of your exercise:

  1. Include strength-based exercises in your workout. Lift moderate weights to help with overall burning of calories. You can also include inclines when using the treadmill.
  2. Rotate your planned cardiovascular activities. Don’t just stick to one sort of exercise. This keeps you motivated and interested in exercising. Also, you may use slightly different muscle groups when you change your activity. For example, one day you might like the treadmill. For the next day, try jogging around your community.
  3. Alter intensity. You may want to pick up your pace on an elliptical machine and then slow down to your moderate rate. This switching of intervals increases the burn of fat according to numerous studies.

Some Benefits of Cardiovascular Workouts

Perhaps the most underrated benefit of cardiovascular workouts is the social aspect. Many communities have “meet up” running groups. Many people receive a supportive boost by working out with others. This increases commitment to the goal of staying in shape. Often, people join gyms and develop friendships, too. They participate in activities like dancing and martial arts.

In any case, whether a person chooses to exercise alone or with others, here are some definite benefits of cardiovascular exercises. They include:

  • Promotion of better sleep
  • Reduction of stress and mood swings
  • An overall increase in bone density
  • An increase in muscle strength and flexibility
  • Weight loss
  • Strengthening of the heart and lungs
Using an exercise ball can enhance your workout.

Using an exercise ball can enhance your workout.

Balls Can Bring Versatility to Your Cardiovascular Activities

A diverse range of activities that can help you have a great cardiovascular workout involves using the flexibility of an exercise ball. Different types of balls can be used for a variety of cardiovascular activities. These exercises can be done alone or with others. A sample of this is the “medicine ball” which boxers use to train. Although I will be talking about an exercise ball in this article, I give other activities which can be done with these fun workout aids.

When choosing the correct exercise ball, consider these factors. First, you should be able to sit comfortably on the giant ball, like the one shown in the photo. Your feet should be flat on the floor with your back straight. Next, have a safe open area to move around in while doing your workout. Finally, inflate and deflate the ball as your strength increases. The exercise ball should be sturdy enough to sit on but have a little “give” when you push it. Remember to breathe deeply and rhythmically to give the body substantial amounts of oxygen during your workout. Below are examples of what you can do with a variety of these movable exercise aids for your cardiovascular activity whether in a gym or out on a playing field:

1. Throwing and Catching

Throwing a ball helps to work your arm muscles. If you are alone, then this activity also requires going to retrieve the ball afterward. In this way, you are using your legs as well as your arms. Likewise, if you were to “catch” the ball when thrown to you, you would again incorporate these muscle groups and increase your coordination. Some people will be able to do this with an exercise ball, but others may not. If you do not wish to do this in a gym setting, playing baseball for fun is a great exercise. Millions of people around the world play this game, and you could build friendships in the process.

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2. Rolling, Kicking, and Pushing

Pushing the ball around will help rev up your heart in the same way as other activities while you burn calories. In fact, you may want to kick the ball to work your legs. You may wish to trade off kicking and pushing to work your upper and lower body muscles. Exercise balls are great for these activities. However, for rolling a ball requiring hand and leg coordination, bowling is a superb exercise. Bowling leagues can be found all over the United States if you wish to eventually join one.

3. Bounce to Lose the Ounces

Bouncing a ball and catching it increases hand-eye coordination. Walking or running while bouncing the ball also increases your timing skills while burning calories. An exercise ball allows you a wide surface for your hands to grip and maneuver. Yet, playing basketball for fun is a wonderful example of bouncing, catching, throwing, and rolling a ball. Basketball can be played in a gym, park, or backyard. You may wish to play an individual game, but approximately 30 million Americans play basketball. You might find a “pick-up” game.

Final Thoughts on Cardiovascular Workouts

Without question, there are many ways to get the benefits of a good cardiovascular workout. For instance, playing with a soccer ball can also improve your cardiovascular health in time. Even engaging in a tennis game can give your body healthy results. The most important point is making your body move in order to work your muscles and your lungs as you burn away calories. Try to not overexert yourself; take your fitness into consideration and make sure a doctor has been consulted if you have health concerns.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2017 Tim Truzy


Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on February 02, 2021:

I've had an opportunity to help some elderly people learn about low impact exercises. We talked about simply walking, using their wheelchairs, and swimming when possible. My friend, a coach, demonstrated some other activities for the group while we all wore masks and acted responsibly in a group of four people. Thanks for reading.

Tim Truzy (author) from U.S.A. on March 16, 2019:

Great exercises, Nell. Yes, balls can be treacherous, but helpful. Thanks for the visit. Respectfully, Tim

Nell Rose from England on March 16, 2019:

No never used a ball for exercise. I did actually try using one of those huge ones once, but just kept falling off, or not laying across the silly thing properly, lol! I have my own exercises I do most days. A cross between sit ups, press ups and stretches and ballet.

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