Any high-octane workout is incomplete without a good cardio session. With an endless line of fitness centers cropping up in and around every city, we now have access to nascent forms of workouts that were unheard of just a few years ago. The influx of these niche fitness centers (or gymnasiums), has spawned hot-new exercising trends, like Zumba, kickboxing, aerobics, battle ropes, etc. While these are great for muscle-building, toning, and burning fat, we must remember that they’re just an extension of the basic cardiovascular exercises we’ve known since time immemorial.
In this article, we have presented a list of some rudimentary exercises that are cost-effective and do not require an elaborate setup or expensive equipment. Investing about 1/3rd of your workout in the following exercises and doing them the right way can help you burn a lot of calories, build muscles and get the right amount of adrenaline rush.
1. Brisk walking and jogging
It’s widely popular and the most basic form of cardio exercise. All you need is a sturdy pair of shoes and you’re good to go. You can choose to sweat it out on a neighborhood track or the treadmill at your gym. 20-30 minutes of brisk walking and slow jogging at least five times a week is a great workout and sufficient to keep your weight in check.
Sprinting is a form of high-impact cardio that is designed specifically for burning fat. Sets of short sprints, lasting anywhere between 30 seconds to 2 minutes revs up your metabolism and helps you tone your muscles. High-level sprinting not only burns off calories fast, it can also improve blood circulation, balance glucose levels, and promote a healthy cardiovascular system.
Burpee conditioning, also known as squat thrusts, is relatively new among all these exercises. It’s another equipment-free full body exercise that works all your muscles. Though there are various addendums to it, the basic exercise is performed in four steps:
1. Begin in a squat position with hands on the floor in front of you.
2. Kick your feet back to a push-up position.
3. Immediately return your feet to the squat position.
4. Leap up as high as possible from the squat position.
Burpees may be strenuous but can easily burn anywhere between 8-14 calories a minute, making it a high-intensity workout.
4. Stair climbing
One of the most taxing and intense form of cardio exercises, stair climbing helps you burn a lot of fat and plays an important part in toning and conditioning your legs. It can either be used as a high-impact workout for anaerobic conditioning (sprinting up and back a flight of stairs) or adopted as a general practice to burn a few extra calories.
Cycling is an excellent form of aerobic exercise that is regaining importance. It’s a great way to improve your stamina and strength, uses your major muscle groups as you pedal and is time efficient. Again, you can either choose to cycle at your local gym or out on the tarmac if you own a bike.
6. Jumping rope (skipping)
Skipping or jumping rope is perhaps the most fun endurance exercise out there. Two 10-minute sessions of jumping rope can help you burn as many as 200 calories. It’s yet another cost-effective exercise that works most of your muscles and can be done anytime, anywhere.