Adding more cardiovascular activities into your lifestyle is a great way to lose weight and gain health. Cardiovascular activities help you burn calories, keep your heart and lungs healthy, and relieve stress. If you want to get more active, they are a great place to start!
If you currently struggle with your weight, it’s best to start at a comfortable level of exercise intensity and then gradually increase it. Below, check out some suggestions for cardiovascular activities that can help you start to move more.
There are three levels of exercise intensity: 1) Beginner 2) Intermediate 3) Advanced. If you are mostly sedentary but want to get more active, the “beginner” level is a good place to start. Here are some activities to help you get going.
Active Daily Lifestyle (ADL) – Beginner
This suggestion is all about adding more daily activity to your life. Try wearing a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day with the following activities:
- Parking farther away
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walking the dog
Bike (recumbent, upright, spinning, outdoor road/mountain) – Beginner to Intermediate
Biking is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for beginners and those with physical limitations. There are many variables to exercising with a bike, and the activity with the lowest impact is a recumbent bike. A recumbent bike lets you sit level with a backrest with your feet in front of you. With bikes, you can easily adjust your speed and resistance.
Arm Ergometer – Intermediate to Advanced
This machine looks like a bike for your arms. It offers a good way to increase your heart rate if you have extreme limitations with your legs. You can also alter the intensity to match the speed or resistance that you want.
Treadmill – Beginner to Advanced
The treadmill is essentially an indoor option for walking, jogging, or running. The cushioning on the machine makes it easier on your joints and you can vary the intensity by adjusting speed and incline. Treadmills also help you measure your distance and time, and some let you pick a program to mix up your routine.
Elliptical – Beginner to Advanced
The elliptical is also known to be easier on your joints because it helps you “glide” your movement. With less impact on your joints, you can exercise with a running intensity. One noticeable limitation is that ellipticals take some getting used to because they require balance. But once you get accustomed to it, many find them easier than other forms of cardio.
Zumba/Jazzercise – Beginner to Intermediate
These cardiovascular activities involve dancing! Zumba is made up of simple choreography to Latin-themed music that can be as intense as you want to make it. Jazzercise combines dance-based cardio with strength training and stretching to sculpt, tone, and lengthen muscles for maximal fat burning. Choreographed to today’s hottest music, Jazzercise is a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing.
NuStep/SCIFIT – Beginner
These two brands of machines are low-impact (like a seated elliptical) and designed to accommodate someone who may have difficulty with balance or standing. They allow you to work only on your arms or only your legs, in an elliptical fashion but without standing. This option is highly recommended if you have knee or hip limitations.
Want More Cardio Ideas?
For more ways to get active using cardiovascular activities, click here for a post by the Obesity Action Coalition (OAC), Founder of the Your Weight Matters Campaign.