Moving your body everyday is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, having both immediate and long-term health benefits. Reduce your risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease and enjoy a boost in mental health too when you release endorphins, also known as ‘happy hormones’. And cardio is a great way for efficient results in all these areas.
Much as popular culture would have us believe; ‘cardio’ is not synonymous with ‘running’. Cardio is important because it raises the heart rate and gets the blood pumping. Positively affecting blood circulation, energy levels and concentration, cardio workouts are a great pick-me-up that will make you sweat.
Whilst running is a popular, equipment free sport, it can be tough on the knees especially if mostly conducted on concrete or bitumen.
Having participated in ultra-endurance running prior to founding Flow Athletic, Ben Lucas is no stranger to cardio and understands why it is important to mix things up. Whether you want to try something different or have decided running is not for you, try these 6 alternative cardio exercises from Lucas himself to win the day.
Named after an old American psychologist who used it to measure one’s agility and coordination, the humble burpee has survived the test of time.
Combining push ups, squats and jumping, burpees are a staple of most quality workout programs and will get the heart rate up and blood pumping in no time at all.
Executed whilst in high plank, a mountain climber involves hiking one’s knee up towards the arms one at a time.
Easier than it sounds, and great for warming up, mountain climbers are an effective way of strengthening the arms, back, shoulders, core and legs all in one.
Whether you are a lycra-doting, traffic-dodging, die hard cyclist or a purely indoor based spin king, cycling is a sport for all ages.
Gentle on the joints and known for burning calories like nothing else, spin is the perfect combination of sweat, adrenaline and grit that keeps cardio addicts coming back for more.
Some people love them, others hate them, jump squats are not for the faint hearted. Combine a regular squat, engaging through the glutes and core immediately followed by an explosive jump on the down section.
Jump squats are a great addition to any exercise routine and are best combined with other upper body or core work to balance out the burning sensation that is sure to erupt through the legs. Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
The humble skipping rope can provide reams of entertainment (and exercise) if used optimally. Consider mixing it up by alternating a fast paced, cardio burn with slower or single leg skips.
Skipping is harder than it looks and challenging yourself to beat your PB in reps is one way to build up cardio and fast.
Turn your free space into a dance floor and burn calories while doing it. Turn up the latest pop hits, 80s disco or RnB funk. Sing, dance and groove your heart out like you mean it.
As a whole body workout, dancing is good for the heart and helps with balance, coordination, and cardio ability.
The ultimate at home workout you can do without leaving the floor
Want an effective full body workout but also don’t want to leave the floor? This is the workout for you. Completed in just under 20 minutes, try this workout with a friend or solo to get your sweat on.
One of the best things about this workout is that it can be done from just about anywhere and requires no equipment. Tone up and target the core, glutes and arms with this quick and easy workout that will have you coming back for more.
Using a HIIT interval timer, set your preferred intensity. This may look like 45 seconds on with 15 seconds rest, or perhaps 50 seconds on with 10 seconds rest.
1. Push ups
2. Sit ups
4. Scissor Kicks
5. Bicycle crunches
6. Side lying leg lifts right
7. Side lying leg lifts left
9. Donkey Kicks
Repeat the sequence twice for a 20 minute workout. Remember to drink lots of water, particularly if it is a warmer day and pause the timer if need be. Don’t forget to warm up and down through stretching to prevent muscle injury.
About Ben Lucas
Ben Lucas is the owner and co- founder of Flow Athletic, an incredibly successful yoga and fitness studio based in Paddington, NSW.
Prior to work in the fitness industry, Ben was a professional NRL player for the Cronulla Sharks and a number of other teams. After finishing his stint with the NRL, he went on to own three very successful personal training studios and during that time he also turned to ultra-endurance running.
In the space of 5 years, he ran 35 marathons and 5 ultra marathons all over the world. Due to his interest in running, he then went on to train up 101 non- runners to run and complete their first marathon. Ben has also raised over $250k for charity in the last 5 years including $100k for Beyond Blue.