Ultimate Guide To Do Simple & Effective Cardio Exercises At Home

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shutterstock_343491992 The term ‘cardio’ is an abbreviation of the human cardiovascular system. It refers to the heart and network of blood vessels that run through our body. The cardiovascular system is responsible for pumping oxygenated blood and circulating it through the body. That way, oxygen and other necessary nutrients reach the cells. Exercises that we refer to as ‘cardio’ are specialised moves that get the heart beating faster, consequently pumping more oxygenated blood and giving more nutrients to the cells. Any cardio movement gets your heart beating at about 50 to 75 percent of its maximum capacity. You can find the maximum capacity of your heart by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if your age is 30 years, the maximum capacity of your heart is 220 minus 30, which is 190 beats per minute. This is a standard formula. Improved blood circulation is not the only outcome of cardio exercises. The heart, being a muscle, gets stronger through cardio workouts. Because of increased flow of nutrient-rich blood, your brain gets healthier and is able to think better. Your skin gets healthier, and your body burns more fat than it would have if you had relied solely on lifting weights. Cardio exercises also trigger the secretion of endorphins in your body which reduce stress and control mood swings and, of course, you sleep better.   10 best Cardio Exercises to do at home Before you start any exercise regime, cardio or other, it is important to start with some stretches. This will warm up your body and prepare your muscles for the training you will be subjecting them to for the next 30 minutes. shutterstock_501370705 Start with some simple hand stretches. Hold your arm with elbows pointing to the ceiling and palms placed flat on the back, and stretch the triceps. Do this for 30 seconds on each arm. Then stretch them out in front and take your left arm to the right side and stretch the shoulders. Repeat this with each arm for 30 seconds. Now do similar stretching movements for your glutes, quads, back, adductors and abductors. Note: Throughout this article, we will be using specific terms for specific muscles. For the uninitiated, here is your ready reckoner. Glutes are the muscles that form your buttocks, quads are the front muscles of your thighs, and hamstrings are the ones in the back of your thigh. Your inner thigh muscles are known as the adductors and the muscles forming the outer sides of your thighs are called abductors. As a simple rule of thumb, stretch each muscle group for at least 30 seconds. If you are doing it right, you will be able to feel the pull. Once you are satisfied with the stretching and once your body feels like it is all warmed up, you may start your cardio routine. Here are 10 effective cardio movements that you can do from the comfort of your own home. No more excuses about time constraints! 1. Jump Ropes This is one of the good old childhood games! All you will need is a skipping rope. Just hold the two bars in your hand and jump away. The higher and faster you jump, the more effective your workout will be. The jump rope move works almost all your muscles – the chest, the back, shoulders, biceps and triceps, your abs, your obliques, quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves as well as your soleus (muscles right below the calves). Do just 5 minutes of jump rope without stopping and you are off to a great start. shutterstock_547512337 2. Jumping Jacks Stand straight with your arms to the side of your legs, and just a little bit of bend in the knees. Now as you jump, stretch out your arms and legs like a starfish. When you come back down, return to the original position. Jump high and jump fast. Do a minimum of 50 repetitions of these. Jumping jacks, too, engage most of your muscles at the same time – the calves, hip adductors and abductors, shoulders, and the core (abdomen and obliques). Further, jumping jacks releases great amounts of endorphins into your blood, thus reducing stress. 3. Squat Jumps Squats typically work your glutes, quads and hamstrings while keeping the lower back and abdomen engaged. Jump squats do all these while giving you the benefit of cardio so that your heart rate is increased. Place your feet apart to the width of your hip and sit on your rear, not touching the floor. Ensure your knees never go beyond the line of your toes. Hold the position for about two seconds and jump right back up. Your feet need to leave the ground at this point. Do 20 repetitions of this move without rest.   4. Spot Jogging This one’s easy. You just need to run on the spot, but your knees need to go as high up as possible if you want this move to be effective. If done properly, spot jogging will work on your chest, back, biceps, triceps, core as well as leg muscles. Do this for a full 3 minutes. Click on the next page for 6 more cardio exercises!   shutterstock_353815607   5. Burpees Burpees are an excellent cardio exercise that you can do in the comfort of your home. It engages all your body muscles starting from your neck and shoulders, to your arms and chest, right down to your feet. Start by standing straight on your feet. Bend down to place your palms on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Then hop and throw your legs back into a push-up position. Now do one proper push-up and jump right back up, reaching high when you take the leap. This is a complex movement and you should begin with no more than 15 repetitions of this. However, as you get more used to it, feel free to go as high as 200 repetitions because burpees are one of the most effective cardio exercises. 6. Cross Crawl Stand straight with your knees slightly bent. You need to bring up your left knee and touch it with your right elbow, keeping your back and neck as straight as possible. Repeat the movement for your right knee and left elbow. Now add a slight jump to the move and do it fast. Repeat this 50 times on each side. Cross crawl works your core, shoulders, glutes, and legs. Additionally, this exercise also improves your brain’s ability to coordinate. 7. Skater Hops Just imagine yourself to be a skater who hops and switches legs in one place instead of traversing an entire skating rink. That’s all that there is to this exercise. Yet, this is one of the most effective cardio moves that you can do at home. Do this for 2 minutes without a break. 8. Plank Jacks This particularly works wonders on your core muscles and can help you shed that belly fat in little time. Bring yourself down in a plank position – forearm and toes on the floor, the former shoulder-width apart and latter hip-width apart. Your back should be completely straight with no lumbar bend. Now simply do a jumping jack in this position, without getting up from the floor, without moving your upper body. You will show a tendency to raise your hips higher and higher with each jump, but focus on resisting it. This move is also great if you are trying to give yourself a tiny waist. Do at least 30 repetitions of this. 9. Plank Side Step with Push Ups This move, too, works on your core while making your chest and legs work hard. Get yourself into a plank position again, do one push-up, and move your legs up to the side one after the other, all the while keeping your toes to the floor. After a while, if you’re doing it right, your lower abdomen should be on fire. Do this move for a full 2 minutes without rest. shutterstock_420804658   10. Side Lunges Start by standing straight with a slight bend in your knees and your hands on your hips. Then step out with the left leg and sit on it like your squatting, and stretch out the right leg. Get up and switch legs with a jump, and repeat the same thing with your left leg stretched out. This move will pump up your heart while working the glutes, quads and hip flexors. Be careful about your knee, and do about 15 repetitions of this on each side. To make your workout more effective, you can always mix it up with circuit training and HIIT. In circuit training, you need to divide your exercises into groups of threes or fours – that will make one circuit. Then you will need to run through all the exercises in one circuit, take a 30-second rest and then run through the circuit again. A typical example of a cardio circuit will be 15 burpees, 15 side lunges and 20 squat jumps, followed by 30 seconds of rest, followed by another cycle of the same circuit. You can also amplify your spot jogs with HIIT or high-intensity interval training. All you need to do is alternate your spot jogs with slow and high speed. This process will build greater endurance and burn more fat. Last but not the least, fitness is but 20 per cent exercise and 80 percent nutrition. So, no matter what kind of exercise you are doing, make sure you are eating clean and healthy. Download the Grow Fit app on Google Play or App Store today for a free consultation with our specialists.

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