There are so many instances where you can improve our cardiovascular strength. Whether you are running a marathon, swimming a few lengths in the pool or doing a few pushups and sit-ups during a circuit training regime, you will be toning your body and making your heart much healthier.

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Due to there being so many different exercises that can count as cardiovascular activities, it can be a little difficult trying to pick out the best ones for you. Fortunately, we have picked a few which we feel no workout should be without – chances are you haven’t even heard of a couple of our ideas.

Go for a run

Running is probably the most basic form of exercise you can do to get the heart racing, simply because all you need to do is pop on your trainers, head outside and begin. If you own a treadmill, you can even take out the step of going out the front door to start exercising.

Invest in high-tech treadmills, which are available in abundance at specialist exercise stores such as GymCompany, and there will be the option to save your custom programs too, so that you can begin your run without a fuss.

With technology coming on leaps and bounds over the last few years, there is now a raft of treadmills out there that even have TVs and multimedia options built in. As a result, you won’t notice you are burning off all those calories while you catch up on your favourite programmes at the same time.

Mind you, Dan John, a fitness coach from California and author of exercise book Never Let Go, pointed out to Mens Health: “The human body wasn’t designed for conveyor-belt training or repetitive, one-dimensional movement.”

This doesn’t mean you need to abort the treadmill altogether, just consider going for a jog in the great outdoors from time to time instead. A run around a park on a sunny day is a great way to relax, while also allowing your body to get used to working across various terrains and different gradients.

Experience the 55 workout

Why focus on just one exercise at a time when you can be rewarded for putting a couple of routines into one tough yet satisfying workout?

This is exactly why the 55 workout sounds so appealing. The objective is to begin by performing one body-weight squat and then proceed to complete 10 full pushups – make sure your stomach goes down to the point where it is almost gracing the floor to get the most out of this exercise.

Doesn’t sound like too hard a challenge, right? Well, after a 30 second rest you will do the same two exercises again, only this time make it 2 body squats and 9 pushups. After another half a minute after completing your final pushup, it’s time to do 3 squats and 8 pushups – you get the idea.

By the time you finish your 10 squats and solitary pushup, you would have gone through 55 reps of each exercise. However, the small bursts will not make this feel anywhere near as tough.

Scale the jumping jack pyramid

Jumping jacks are easy to get your head round – in fact, you were probably introduced to this exercise during one of your first PE classes back in primary school.

Today though, you can put a whole new spin on this well-known tactic for keeping fit. The idea of a jumping jack pyramid workout is for you to initially do as many jumping jacks in a 10-second stint.

After taking 10 seconds to catch your breath, focus on doing as many jumping jacks, only this time over 20 seconds. Take a 20 second rest after this, then perform 30 seconds of the exercise before making use of the same amount of rest time.

Of course, if you imagine the shape of a pyramid, what you’ve done so far is climb one side. It’s now time to come back to earth by doing 30 jumping jacks and a 30 minute rest, followed by 20 and finally 10.

To make it more of a challenge, why not try to beat how many jumping jacks you achieve once you come back to the same time span? You will be surprised how far you can push yourself when there is a clear target in mind.

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
Your Fitness University
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Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist
Certified Nutrition Coach and Nutrition for Metabolic Health Specialist. Since 2006, I have helped thousands of clients and readers make lifestyle habit changes that helps you to achieve better long-term health, which includes body transformation and ideal body weight.
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3 thoughts on “Top cardiovascular exercises – including a couple you’ve never heard of

  1. Years ago, when P.E. classes existed, the popular calisthenic exercise known as jumping jacks were used to warm up before playing kickball or dodge-ball or other fun sport activities. Okay, maybe P.E. classes still exist, but it’s definitely not as popular in the school schedules these days. The same can be said about recess. Makes you wonder about the obesity epidemic in America, not only with adults but with children as well.

    1. Derrick…there are also many schools that have cut out P.E. class which makes no sense…the kids suffer from inactivity if they don’t play on a sports team and lay around on the computer all day!

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