It’s no secret that regular cardiovascular (cardio) exercise is one of the keys to a healthy heart—and when it comes to different forms of cardio, the benefits and options are endless! While all forms of cardio are beneficial to your overall health, here are some of our personal favorites.
Indoor Cycling (Spinning)
Indoor cycling has gained some serious hype in the past few years (we see you, Peloton and SoulCycle) and it’s not hard to understand why. Indoor cycling classes are usually fast-paced and high-energy, getting your heart rate up and your endorphins pumping with each spin. It’s also a great workout for those who need a more low-impact form of cardio—cycling is easy on your joints while still targeting your legs and glutes (some classes may incorporate arms as well). Like all cardio exercises, indoor cycling can help lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and combat high cholesterol. With a great instructor to guide you and some hype music to keep you motivated, indoor cycling can feel more like a party than a workout!
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a general term used for workouts with short periods of intense exertion followed by recovery periods (40 seconds of work with 20 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest, etc.) The actual exercises done within this format vary from running to jumping rope to cycling to bodyweight exercises (burpees, jumping jacks, etc.), with the expectation that work periods are intense.
HIIT is an especially effective form of cardio exercise because it produces similar results in improving aerobic capacity (ability to use oxygen well) in a much shorter amount of time than other forms of exercise. HIIT has also been found beneficial in reducing heart rate, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar (hello, healthier heart!). HIIT typically burns more calories per minute than most other exercises and increases your metabolism even after the workout is complete, so it can be a great form of exercise to incorporate in a weight loss journey.
Circuit training describes a workout format of cycling through multiple exercises targeting different muscle groups in a pattern without much rest in between. These exercises are often a mix of cardio and strength training, making it a great full-body option and the perfect routine for those with minimal time or a shorter attention span. Like HIIT, circuit training is known to boost your metabolism and increase fat burn. By pumping up your heart rate and targeting a wide range of muscle groups, you challenge your whole body and burn major calories in the process. All of that red-faced, heavy-breathing work contributes to a healthier heart and a healthier you!