How to Do Cardio Workouts at Home?
What Is This Kind of Training for?
Cardio workouts are used both for strengthening the cardiovascular system, and for weight loss. If you want to learn, how to burn body fat and get in shape fast, this article is right for you.
Treadmills and exercise bikes are some of the most popular cardio machines that are used by millions of people around the world to keep fit or lose weight.
Be careful while performing such workouts, because without special knowledge and basic skills, you risk not only wasting time, but also exhausting your heart that may even lead to disability.
Any active kind of sports is a good cardio workout: light athletics, football, tennis, and hockey, for example. They all share a common trait – high intensity but low-load training.
Monitoring your heart-rate during cardio is important for ensuring that you are exercising at the right pace. You can use a pulsometer, or a wrist monitor, to measure your heart rate. You need to do it to prevent exceeding maximum heart rate limits during a workout. It is the only way to train your heart.
If you just walk on a treadmill or perform the exercises slowly, it will not speed up your heart, and the effect will be poor. If you work out until your heart jumps out of your chest, you will get tired fast, and your heart will overwork. Too hard training at a young age often leads to heart problems at an older age.
It is quite easy to determine the individual heart rate limits for proper training. Firstly, let’s find out the maximum heart rate that should not be exceeded:
- for men: maximum heart rate = 220 - age;
- for women: maximum heart rate = 214 - age.
Higher values during exercise worsen heart function. Further, if you want to perform a cardio workout for strengthening the cardiovascular system, multiply the resulting number by 0,75-0,9 and get the limits within which your workouts would make sense.
In case you want to lose weight without putting too much strain on your heart, you should multiply the resulting number by 0,6-0,7. If you do not exceed this level during exercise, you can burn fat without harming your heart.
Example of Calculation
A woman aged 23. Maximum heart rate = 214 - 23 = 191 beats per minute (bpm). The heart rate limits during exercise should be as follows:
- lower bound = 191*0,75 = 143,25 bpm
- upper bound = 191*0,9 = 171,9 bpm
The heart rate range is between 143.25 and 171.9 beats per minute.
For effective fat burning:
- lower bound = 191*0,6 = 114,6 bpm
- upper bound = 191*0,7 = 133,7 bpm
The heart rate range is between 114.6 and 133.7 beats per minute.
Target Heart Rate Calculator
There are a lot of formulas for such calculations, but this is the easiest and most universal one. Besides, it is a quite accurate formula designed to help you get the maximum benefit out of your workout, without any side effects. It is suitable for people of any body type and physical fitness level, with the only difference that an athlete can maintain maximum heart rate for a longer period of time.
Memorize the resulting numbers and frequently glance at your heart-rate monitor. If you cannot afford purchasing a wrist monitor at the moment, you should learn to measure your heart rate manually. For this, you should place two fingers on an artery and count to 15 seconds, and then multiply the number of heart beats by 4, because one minute is usually enough for a human heart to relax and normalize its rate, that should be avoided during a cardio workout.
The following image shows the effects that can be achieved while performing cardio in different heart rate ranges from the maximum value:
How to Exercise at Home?
At home, you can do cardio by performing special exercises or using the above-mentioned exercise machines. A treadmill and an exercise bike (how to make the right choice) are among the most popular exercise machines for home use, but you should give preference to an exercise bike, rather than a treadmill.
The joints of the human body are not designed to stand the strain that is put on them by overweight people while running. Therefore, many people who have lost weight using a treadmill acquire joint problems.
How to Use Cardio Machines
- You should consult a doctor before you start exercising;
- Make sure that the cardio machine is fixed and you’ve set it correctly. Follow the operating instructions provided in user manual;
- Do not exercise for more than an hour. Long-lasting workouts promote production of cortisol – the muscle destroying hormone. A 30–45 minute workout promotes production of testosterone and endorphins – hormones of happiness;
- If you feel dizziness, headache, nausea, or severe fatigue during a workout, stop it If these symptoms reoccur, you should see a doctor;
- You should always do a warm-up before using an exercise machine;
- Do not stop exercising suddenly. Gradually slow down your heart rate as you finish working out;
- After a workout, perform a few stretching exercises to let your muscles relax.
If you have no exercise machine, you can choose from a wide variety of cardio exercises and do them in the comfort of your home. Further, there are some examples that can be performed in a confined space.
A cardio workout consists of the so-called explosive exercises that have a common trait – high speed of performance, instant effort, and push. Some of these exercises are also called plyometric (they involve super-fast contraction of the muscles to boost power).
Set of Exercises No. 1
Get on the floor into a regular plank position with your arms extended and hands placed shoulder-width apart. Your body should form a straight line from your head to your heels. You should lower your body toward the floor until you touch the ground with your nose, and then push your body up with maximum effort, generating enough power to make your hands come off the floor. Ideally, you should clap your hands together. Anyway, you should try and soon you will be able to do it. The main thing is to land softly, absorbing the fall to prevent your chin or nose from hitting the ground.
Sit down into a squat position with your heels pressed into the floor. Do not bend forward. Next, push yourself up into a jump, straightening your legs like a frog. As well as in the previous exercise, you should land softly in order not to get injured. Besides, you should not forget about the obstacles above (chandeliers, open doors of a wardrobe, ceiling, etc.).
Crouch down, keeping your heels pressed into the ground, and put your hands on the floor. Shift your body weight to your hands and jump your feet out behind you to straighten your legs. After getting into a plank position, repeat your actions in a reverse order, jumping back to the standing position.
Set of Exercises No. 2
Mountain Climber Push-Ups
Start in a plank position. Alternatively, bring your knees to your elbows. You can complicate the exercise by simultaneously extending the opposite arm, as though you are climbing a steep slope. For this push-up variation, it is better to choose a sliding surface to exercise on, because it makes it easier to extend the arms forward.
Get into a crouch start position, with one of your legs bent and the other leg extended backward. Then start to interchange the positions of your legs – you should shift your body weight to your hands and push your feet off the ground. Also, this exercise can be performed symmetrically and with both legs, but it is much harder.
From a traditional plank position, lower your body onto your elbows and shift your body weight to your forearms. Use your shoulders to push your body backward, without arching your lower back. Your feet should slide on the floor. Come back to the starting position, using your arms only.
You should determine the time you’ve spent to complete the cycle. Then proceed to the second set and perform the exercises in the same mode, but with short breaks. If you are not skilled enough, you should better begin with 10–15 repetitions of each exercise, and gradually increase the number of reps to 30. Once you find it easy, just increase the number of cycles.
How Long Should You Do Cardio?
If you want to lose weight with the help of cardio, you should know an important rule: any workout should last more than 30 minutes. Within the first half an hour of intense training, you burn no fat at all. During this period, the human body uses glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, and only after that it starts to burn fat.
Due to the fact that fat is the most energy-consuming fuel (1 gram of fat = 38.9 kJ, or 9 kcal of energy), it is not so easy to use and burn it, especially when you exercise for more than half an hour and start to feel fatigue that develops, by the way, as a result of glycogen depletion. Nevertheless, you should make yourself continue exercising, otherwise, your cardio workout makes no sense.
Monitor your heart rate and exercise at 60–70% of your maximum heart rate. Your workout should last at least one hour, or even two. During a two-hour intense training session, you can burn 100 grams of fat.
Thus, it is easy to calculate that you can lose 1 kg of your body weight in 10 workouts, i.e. in two weeks (5 workouts per week).
In conclusion, we would like to remind you of necessity to take care of your health, because many health problems are identified during cardio workouts.
Open the windows and doors to provide a constant inflow of oxygen. Follow all the above-mentioned guidelines, be persistent, and work out to make your body healthier and stronger than ever. A sound mind in a sound body!
Boost Your Metabolism
One of the ways to increase the effectiveness of workouts is acceleration of metabolism. Metabolism is the chemical process running in our body all the time to maintain life. We consume nutrients that are later used to provide energy. The metabolic rate is affected by several factors, including age, gender, body weight, body fat percentage, and various diseases.
The speed of metabolism has a great impact on the production of hormones, the amount of kilocalories needed to maintain life, and fat percentage. So, fast metabolic rate can help you lose weight and get fit faster. Naturally, one person has a higher metabolic rate than another. But there are ways to affect its speed.
Firstly, you should follow these tips to avoid metabolic disorders:
- Eat 4–6 times a day. You can have three main meals and two snacks, for example. Do not eat too big portions;
- Follow a 50/30/20 diet plan where 50 % of calories come from carbs, 30 % come from protein, and 20 % come from fat. This macronutrient ratio is considered balanced and healthy;
- Avoid saturated and trans-fats (for example, margarine);
- Try to eat fewer fast-digesting carbohydrates (foods containing sugar);
- Consume more cellulose-rich foods (such as buckwheat groats, vegetables, and fruits);
- Incorporate nuts, greens, and salmon into your diet, because they contain a lot of healthy fats;
- Take vitamin complexes;
- Sleep 7–8 hours a night. If you are younger than 16 or older than 60, you should sleep 8–9 hours.
Secondly, follow these rules to increase your metabolic rate:
- Build up muscle mass. 1 kilogram of muscles burns about 100 kilocalories;
- Consume adequate amount of protein to gain muscle mass. Besides, protein takes much more calories and energy to be digested than fat and carbohydrates;
- Drink more water. A glass of cold water speeds up your metabolism by 30 minutes;
- Have a nourishing breakfast. You should never skip breakfast, because it is the most important meal of the day that improves your metabolism;
- Be active. A sedentary lifestyle is the enemy of metabolism. Your muscles will burn calories only if you use them;
- Get rid of all bad habits. Alcohol lowers the production of testosterone – the hormone responsible for the metabolic rate and muscle tissue Nicotine causes dehydration.
Music for Working Out
Every person starts to work out with a definite goal: somebody wants to build an attractive body or achieve high fitness results to win in various competitions, others care about their health, want to break out of a boring routine, or just accompany their friends.
At first, we begin with enthusiasm, hope for success, and self-confidence. But actually the things go like this: constant fatigue, lack of time, and absence of fast results discourage people, and they start to skip workouts and finally give up training. But there is an excellent way to make your workouts fun and interesting, and get a lot of emotional benefits from exercising. You just need a player, a pair of comfortable headphones, and a suitable playlist.
Music enhances athletic performance and has a lot of positive effects on the athlete’s body:
- While listening to music, you feel less tired (by 10%);
- You focus on training and do not waste your time talking or thinking about something. It improves your mood and allows you to complete a more intense and effective workout within a shorter period of time;
- Getting away from obsessive thoughts and difficulties helps improve your mental health;
- Your endurance increases by 15 percent;
- An intense workout session accompanied by music stimulates the production of adrenaline;
- The motivational song lyrics encourage you to work harder toward your goal and maximize your opportunities;
- The studies have proved that music promotes decrease in oxygen consumption that allows an athlete to save his energy and use it more wisely.
You should select the music for your cardio workouts in advance. It should run without breaks in order for you to avoid any distractions, such as turning on the next music track, etc. A workout starts with warm-up, followed by the main part (exercise), and ends with cool-down (stretching). So, you should create the following playlist:
- The first music tracks should be slow;
- Further, you should increase the music pace, it should get more intense. Rhythmic music boosts your body reactions, stimulates your mind, and helps you synchronize your movements with the music tempo;
- Do not choose too fast music tempo! Remember that you should keep your heart rate in certain limits and soberly estimate your forces and fitness level, otherwise, you will get tired very soon;
- If you have a favorite song or music track that always motivates you and improves your mood, you can place it right after the calming music to provide the successful beginning for your workout;
- At the end of a workout, listen to calm music to relieve the tension and gradually slow down your heart rate;
- Choose the music for your workouts according to your preferences. Music should bring you joy.
However, there are some recommendations. Calm instrumental music is good for post-workout recovery and warm-up. You can listen to the following compositions:
- Thomas Newton – Starlit;
- Ludovico Einaudi – Experience;
- Ludovico Einaudi – Una Mattina;
- Henry Jackman – Epilogue;
- Coldplay – The Scientist;
- Tom Chaplin – Quicksand.
For the main part of a workout, you can choose the music of three different styles: rock, electronic music, and rap/hip-hop. Rock fans can listen to the popular compositions of Rammstein, Linkin Park, Nirvana, Nickelback, Bring Me The Horizon, Skillet, Evanescence, and Imagine Dragons. Those who prefer electronic music can choose Armin van Buuren, Enter Shikari, Daft Punk, Garbage, LMFAO, and Julien-K. The most famous rappers are Eminem, 2Pac, 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z.