What is cardio? The best cardio workout you can do at home

So what is cardio? Cardiovascular Exercise, Cardio Exercise or simply Cardio is really just any kind of exercise, whether you’re running a short or long distance, fast or slow, or moving without running at all. It can even be weight training – any motion that will cause your heart rate to rise and your breathing to increase. Even a very intense home general cleaning counts as cardio.

Keeping up with your health is important, and this includes exercise. Cardio is an important part of an exercise, but not everyone gets enough of it. Especially if you’re a mom, it can be challenging to squeeze in a workout. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of creativity and motivation, but you can make it happen. The key is knowing what equipment and motions you can do to maximize your workout. Here is a guide to what cardio is, workouts you can do easily at home, and the best exercise equipment for keeping yourself in shape and feeling good.

Benefits of Cardio

There are many benefits of cardio besides the obvious: weight loss. Cardio is important for cardiovascular health, but it is also crucial for maintaining, losing, and even gaining weight. Cardio is also capable of reducing stress and increasing bone density. It creates a stronger heart and lungs, reduces your risk of heart disease and even some cancers, and it lets you sleep better. You might even feel less depression and anxiety as well as a boosted self-confidence. The more you do cardio – especially in combination with strength training and resistance – the more you will notice your body becoming toned, feeling better, and moving more fluidly without as many of those pulled muscles or other small injuries. Another benefit of cardio, especially for moms, is that it makes you look younger. And every mother needs to stay young and active for themselves and their families. Cardio actually is a defensive tactic in this sense!

benefits of cardio

How Often Should You Do Cardio?

It is recommended to do cardio 3 to 5 times per week for between 30 and 60 minutes for each session. Cardio burns calories, so if you want to lose weight you may want to do more than just the bare minimum of 3 sessions per week of 30 minutes each. The minimum, however, is a great place to start until you can reach the other side of the recommended amount: 5 days each week of 60-minute sessions. You’ll have to tailor your cardio based on your needs and goals. But, if those numbers are impossible for you a few minutes per day is enough as long as its observed and done continuously. 

Cardio Workouts for Women

There are several different kinds of workout regiments that provide the cardio you need each week. You can try HITT sessions: 20 minutes of high-intensity reps that are known for really burning fat as well. Another option is working out with a kettlebell which provides an all-around workout for your body. Mix up aerobic exercises with resistance training by using circuit training, a flexible way to get as much cardio in as you want. Consider trying out plyometrics too, engaging the muscles with intense movements through shortened cycles. Lastly, don’t forget the steps! You can easily run up a flight of stairs several times to get strength training in your lower body as well as cardio.

Cardio at Home

It is not always possible to get to a gym, and maybe you can’t even afford a membership. There’s nothing wrong with trying to do your workouts while back at home. Always include some stretches, preferably moving stretches to start and static stretches when you’ve cooled down. Once you’ve warmed up, you can choose a quick jog or walk, jumping rope, burpees, stairs, or any set of motions that get you moving. Try watching a kickboxing DVD or do a belly dance session on YouTube. Cardio doesn’t have to be boring, and you certainly have plenty of options! Good weather is a great invitation to go outside, but you can also do your exercises inside, even while babysitting. Get creative!

what-is-cardio

Cardio Without Running

Even if you need a cardio workout, this doesn’t always equate to running. There are plenty of options besides running that will help you reach your target heart rate in no time. You can simply walk, for example, or try equipment such as an elliptical, stair climber, or rowing machine. HIIT exercises and circuit training are not automatically inclusive of running, and riding a bike or cycling is a gentle way to get cardio too. Try jumping rope or, if you have access to a pool, go for a swim.

Examples of Cardio Exercises

Cardio might look like a 30-minute jog or bike ride. It could also be repetitions, like 3 sets of 12 arm curls plus 3 sets of 12 lunges and 3 sets of 12 burpees. It could be walking for 10 minutes, doing 10 sets of stairs, and planking for 3 sets of 10 seconds before cooling down. Maybe you love to row and can do so for a full 60 minutes while watching TV. The longer the workout, the more flexibility for how many kinds of exercises you want to do, but it doesn’t have to be complicated! That minimum of 30 minutes is easily filled with a handful of repetitions and motions.

Recommended Cardio Workout Equipment

Not everyone can afford (or wants to have) large cardio equipment for their home, but not all cardio equipment is large and expensive. This is a list of machines and equipment that can be used for different kinds of workouts:

  • kettlebells and dumbells
  • jump rope and stretch bands
  • yoga mat and large ball
  • swimming pool
  • treadmill
  • elliptical
  • stationary or recumbent bike
  • stepper

Overview of the Top 5 Cardio Exercise Equipments

Workout equipment comes in many different types, sizes, price ranges, and brands. Some have lots of features, others are very basic and simple. Depending on what your needs are, you might find it hard pinpointing the best equipment. This section will look at what your options are to help you decide what equipment is best for you.

1. L NOW Indoor Cycling Bike

This cycling bike is belt driven to have a quiet and smooth workout. Its frame is made of sturdy steel and its flywheel is 22 pounds with a know for adjusting resistance. The monitor features LCD lights that displays the distance, speed, calories, time, the odometer, and your pulse. The handlebar has a strong grip and there is a breathable seat with a smartphone holder. It is easy to assemble and can hold up to 280 pounds.

I’ve been working out since high school and I’m 27 now.. so I’ve been spinning for years on and off. Since I’ve decided to quit going to the gym and have my own home-gym, spinning bike was a must.. and I’m so happy with this purchase.. it doesn’t rock, and the monitor is handy.. i mainly use it for the timer.. the other functions are not important for me. So, I can’t exactly tell you if the heart rate measurement really works.. I love that it also has a slot to place my phone by the hand rest bar. Very convenient for me to change songs. It does what what I needed it to do, and the seat is soft and comfortable! so I’m happy with my purchase. I’ve also had this product for a few months now. Hope this review helps.
Pearl Lee

Customer, Amazon

2. CAP Barbell 40 lb. Dumbbell Set

This set of weights is a set of 40 pounds that includes two handles, four plates at 2.5 pounds, four plates at 5 pounds, 4 collars, and a storage case made from plastic. The grips are ergonomic, the collars have a rubber trim, and the handles are designed specifically for comfort. The plates have a sturdy cast iron make with a semi-gloss finish. The collars are threaded so they fit securely into the handles. Because of its rust-free design, these barbells are also considered maintenance-free.

These dumbbells are well-made and have made a vast difference in the variety of exercises I can do at home. I also have a home gym, which is nice, but most exercise gurus sing praises of freeweights. For a beginner, the plates included are heavy enough, although I do intend to go buy 4 ten-pound plates soon. The locking nuts spin on and off smoothly and quickly, and the rubber gasket things do a great job of keeping the nuts from coming loose. While changing plates may not be as quick with these than with fancier models, these are also massively less expensive, so I’m fine with it. I wear gloves while using these, and I would encourage anyone else to as well, or your hands will take some punishment. I also bought an adjustable bench at the same time, which I feel was a very good decision (but up to you, obviously). I would definitely buy these again.

Lurinda

Customer, Amazon

3. Stamina ATS Air Rower

This rowing machine is wind resistant and has a monitor displaying speed, time, distance, and calories burned. The seat is padded and there are large footplates for anyone to use. The rail and seat are designed for smooth, comfortable use, and the bike folds easily to store away.

My wife wanted a rower so I purchased the Stamina Air Rower. We are senior citizens and I thought the air rower was the way to go because you could control the force by how hard or quick you pulled the handle. I was right. My wife has used the rower every day since we received it and it has improved her cardio vascular function. It appears to be a well built machine and the expectation is that it will last for many years in home use. I would recommend this product.

Thomas P. Byrne Sr.

Customer, Amazon

4. LifeSpan TR1200-DT3 Under Desk Treadmill

This treadmill is a really unique device that is capable to slide under a desk or small space. It is lightweight and comes with wheels for mobility. Its display shows distance, calories burned, time spent working out, and step count. The belt goes from 0.4 to 4 miles per hour and can hold up to 350 pounds.

We love this! Who knew that you could type while walking. It feels like it has given us hours back in our day. I love this one that I got for my husband so much that I bought a full desk for myself. My husband already had a desk (he is an architect) so he just slipped this treadmill under his existing desk. He then raised the monitor and keyboard to the desired height and he was off to the races. Don’t make the mistake he did, however, by walking for four hours the first day. He was exhausted!!!

Lorna Rasmussen

Customer, Amazon

5. Bowflex TreadClimber TC10

This unique stepper has an LCD display showing speed, time, distance, and calories burned. It is compact and fit most places, including in the home. Its design is low-impact and it also advertises burning as much as 3.5 times the amount of calories in the same time as other cardio machines. This machine also operates from 0.5 to 4 miles per hour in its workout speed range.

This workout equipment provides a remarkable workout. 30 minutes on this machine, at what I consider a normal pace, I feel as though I have run 8 miles. Best workout equipment I have ever purchased. Love it!!!

Limequeen

Customer, Amazon

Cardio Equipment Brands

Here are some of the top brands of cardio equipment on the market today:

LifeSpan Fitness

LifeSpan Fitness offers a wide range of home and commercial products for cardio workouts. They feature a wide variety of treadmills, including treadmill desks. Yes, they make treadmills for your workplace! Similarly, they have a line of bike desks. In this way, you can keep moving even while working at a desk job that is notoriously bad for your health. Some meeting desks they create even have multiple bikes in one station! But what’s great about this brand is they offer sleek, simple, and compact products as well, including a treadmill that is capable of folding up and being put back out of the way. This is perfect flexibility for having a treadmill in the house that functions but also doesn’t cause too much clutter.

Bowflex

This brand is of course known for its popular chest and arm strengthening equipment. However, there is a lot more to offer from Bowflex than just upper body equipment. Bowflex also produces a large number of dumbbell products. There’s even a stepping machine that combines a treadmill-style so that you can keep walking while climbing steps that change in an elliptical style as you go. The most popular equipment by Bowflex, however, includes equipment that combines stepping with pulling to get a full body workout. Bowflex is a popular brand that has a lot of variety, including its unique HVT machine which combines cardio with strength training.

CAP Industries

CAP Industries produces a wide variety of barbells and other accessories for the gym and cardio workouts. This lifting equipment is available in various sets, a wide range of weights, and different kinds of styles. The company also produces multiple workout bars, including colorful straight bars and plain hex designs. This equipment is popular in the gym as well as in the home as it is easy to use handheld weights and to store them out of the way as needed.

L NOW

L NOW produces a selection of cycling products. Maybe you are interested in stationary bikes, whether it is upright or recumbent. Perhaps you prefer spinning, a great alternative to cycling indoors as it includes resistances training at easily adjustable intervals. Whichever style works for you, L NOW is known for its modern designs, compact forms, and comfortable equipment for all your cycling or spinning needs.

Stamina

The products produced by Stamina include AeroPilates, cycles, and other exercise equipment. They also sell anything from treadmills to trampolines with some specialized equipment for focusing on strength, back health, and other concerns. Most popular, however, is Stamina’s rowing equipment. This equipment is perfect for a cardio workout and takes up the minimal amount of space required to get a full row in. The equipment has a modern look and is relatively light and simple, making it perfect for the home, the office, and the gym.

Cardio is a necessary part of our lives and it can sound intimidating to do, but cardio is much simpler than you think. Now that you know what is cardio, you’re completely in charge of your workout, from how long and how often you want to exercise to how intensely and in what way. You can choose to workout at home, outside, or in the gym with all the options cardio offers. No more excuses! Start working out today and drastically improve your health.

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