Read these 22 Cardio Fitness For Women Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Womens Fitness tips and hundreds of other topics.
It's easy to improve your endurance with basic cardio fitness and aerobic workouts. If you have better endurance, you will lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. When you have strong endurance, you have the energy and stamina to participate in everyday activities, and then some.
As you perform a cardio workout, your heart pumps more blood to your body, allowing more oxygen to flow through your lungs and heart. When you build your cardiac endurance, you push your heart to work a little bit harder each time you work out. This makes your heart work more efficiently and recover faster.
It is important to develop your cardio slowly by gradually increasing the frequency, intensity and activity levels of your workouts. If you are a beginner, start by walking in 15 minute sessions. When those walks become easier, increase the time to 20 minutes, gradually adding more time as you build stamina.
When walking becomes too easy for you, increase the intensity of your workouts by jogging. At first you may want to jog for 15 minutes and then walk for 15 minutes. You eventually want to be able to sustain a moderately paced activity for at least 30 minutes on most days per week. Increase your activity level while on a walk or run by carrying hand weights or other objects that add resistance. Also, make sure you include some butt and thigh exercises in your workout to strengthen your legs.
Water aerobics is perhaps one of the coolest (pun intended) forms of exercise around. Although it was once considered to be in the exclusive domain of seniors, pregnant women, the obese, and women who are recovering from injuries, in recent years, it has begun to gain respect in its own right. Thus, in many ways, water aerobics can be the best exercise for women who are looking for a warm weather cardio cross-training plan.
In aqua aerobics, the water gives you added resistance, which adds challenge to your workout, while your buoyancy in the water creates a workout that poses far less stress on the joints and ligaments than most traditional forms of aerobic exercise. To add more variety to your water workout, you can use props such as specially designed water weights, kick boards and water "noodles."
If you are a runner, and you are looking for a good cross-training program, consider aqua jogging. The aqua jogger is a belt that can suspend your body to shoulder level in the water, thereby allowing you to take a "weightless run." For running in shallow water, there are also a number of water aerobic shoes available on the market.
Come winter, many women fall victim to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly called SAD. According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association, is caused by a biochemical imbalance in the hypothalamus. The shorter hours of daylight and lack of winter sunlight is thought to be the catalyst for this somewhat disturbing condition.
If you experience depression, inactivity, and excessive eating during the winter, you might have SAD. Sometimes, a vicious cycle might result from this condition. For some women, the weight gain that results from lack of exercise is often one of the causes of the depression. Others simply miss the endorphin high they get from their outdoor running workouts.
If you have been an active runner in the warmer months, you might find it challenging to run on the icy streets during the winter. However, you need not give up running. Al you need is a pair of snowshoes! Snowshoeing does not require any advanced technical skills. In fact, on today's short, lightweight snowshoes any woman can enjoy winter hiking trails or snowshoe running by simply putting one foot in front of the other.
Snowshoes grip the snow with crampons that are located at the toe and the heel. This allows you to walk without slipping. Planting the snowshoe flat on the surface enables the crampons to grip the snow and provide stability. The best news is that snowshoeing can burn over 1,000 calories per hour, making it an excellent form of winter outdoor conditioning.
When temperatures drop, many women like to stay indoors. This is one of the reasons that we tend to gain weight over the winter. Can you imagine a winter without weight gain? Better yet, can you imagine participating in a sport that will actually help you lose weight over the winter?
Imagine cross-country skiing.
When it comes to outdoor aerobic exercise programs, some people consider cross-country skiing to be the best exercise for women. If you have any doubts, next time there is a television show featuring cross-country ski racing, take a look at the female racers' bodies. You will surely be inspired.
Depending on your weight, your age, the intensity of your skiing, and whether or not you choose to ski the hills, a cross-country skiing workout might burn between 400 and 1400 calories per hour. Cross-country skiing involves a simultaneous use of the arms and legs. As a result, in addition to the aerobic benefits, you get a total body-toning workout.
Elliptical trainers are that simulate walking or running. Since the circular movement of elliptical machines does not cause stress on the joints, they are usually the most popular machines at the gym.Since they also provide fantastic lower body definition, some people consider elliptical trainers to be the best exercise for women.
Elliptical trainers provide a low-impact cardiovascular workout that varies from light to high intensity. Some elliptical trainers have moveable handles that work the upper body along with the lower body. Others can provide a gradual inclination, which can make your workout more challenging. If you like to hike in the summer train, this is an excellent training method. The upper level inclination is also great for developing an attractive butt. To get a well-balanced workout, look for machines that allow you to reverse the direction of your peddling. If you plan to do a heavy upper body workout after your cardio workout, do not use too much resistance on the machines with the moveable handles.
Step Aerobics was created by fitness expert Gin Miller. When the program came out in the 1980s, it rapidly gained popularity. Step aerobics involves, as you might guess, stepping up and down from a 5-12 inch platform. The workout is done to music. Depending on the instructor, the step patterns can either be very simple are highly complex. Some classes use complicated arm patterns, others keep the arms in a relaxed postion.
If you are not comfortable with a step class, there are smaller home products that will fit in most living rooms. You can also purchase step aerobic videos.
When it comes to cardio, the best exercise for women is any activity that gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing, because cardiovascular exercise has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
But, the best exercises for women will include some weight-bearing activity to help build and maintain strong bones. Building strong bones with regular exercise helps reduce a woman's risk of developing osteoporosis later in life.
Exercises that promote bone-building include running, step aerobics, jumping rope and using stair climbing machines. But remember that total fitness is more than just cardio workouts. Cardio workouts are essential for good health and weight maintenance, but be sure to include strength training, as a bone-building part of your overall fitness plan.
Ice cream, chips, pastries, French fries and all the rest of the good stuff likes to camp out around women's derrieres. It can be difficult to work off the extra pounds around your middle, but luckily there are quite a few exercises that can whip your butt into shape.
Almost any cardio fitness exercise is great for your personal fitness and will help you lose weight. But here are some specific cardio moves that are known to cut the fat:
If you are more than 20 pounds over weight, and if you been sedentary for most of your life, you will want to start your cardio workout plan with long duration, low intensity aerobic exercise. Throughout this workout, you heart rate should stay between 40 and 60 percent of your maximum heart rate. Since long duration, low intensity workouts should last at least 40 minutes, the key to this sort of cardio workout routine is proper pacing.
Start slowly, and then gradually build up your speed. You can be can be walking, cycling or jogging. Throughout this workout, you should be comfortable carrying on a conversation. Since this is a milder form of activity, you can perform long duration, low intensity on a daily basis. To avoid mental burnout, try to vary the types of workout that you do each day.
Sometimes you just don't have enough time to sneak in a visit to the gym, or perhaps you don't have the means to pay for a membership. Here is a cardio workout you can do at home after you put the kids to bed, while you're watching TV or when you wake up in the morning:
One of the most important fitness training tips is the stepwise principle.
Here's how it works: As you increase your exercise, don't add more and more activity each day; follow a stepwise progression. That means building up your level of activity gradually to allow your muscles to develop and to reduce your risk of an overuse injury.
For example, if you are moderately active and you do aerobics and the stair-climber, but you want to start running, start with 20 minutes of running every other day for a week. Then, the next week, run for 30 minutes one day, but then back down and run for 20 minutes the next day, then 30. As you get stronger, gradually increase the amount of time, alternating with less time or shorter distance. Don't start out running 5 miles one day, then 8 the next day, then 10 the next day.
If you build up your activity level gradually, you can prevent injury and you'll enjoy yourself more because you won't get frustrated from pushing yourself too hard.
Do you love to dance? Does the music motivate you? Are you looking for a great cardio workout? If you answered "yes" to these questions, you might enjoy a choreographed aerobic class.
Choreographed aerobic classes come on a variety of styles. Some, such as Jazzercise, are pre-choreographed and predictable. Others are more spontaneous, and will feature different choreography either at weekly intervals, or when the instructor gets inspired. Some classes are based on specific types of music, such as Latin, Salsa, Oldies, 50s, Swing, Motown, Rap and Hip Hop. Others are less choreographed, such as cardio kick-boxing.
If you like the idea of choreographed cardio workouts, but are afraid that you will have trouble following the moves, or keeping the beat, here are some suggestions. All aerobic music is in 4/4 time. As such, aerobic combinations are arranged in 8 counts of movements. Next time you listen to the radio, listen closely for the base. This is where it's easy to hear the 8 count beat. Practice counting to yourself: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. After awhile, you'll be dancing like an aerobic Diva.
In the beginning, concentrate on getting the leg movements, instead of the arms. It's the large muscles of the body that burn major calories. Once you have the legs, you can add arm movements, or simply make bigger leg movements to up the intensity of the workout.
Interval training involves working at varied intensities in order to challenge your cardiovascular system. It is a great way to mix up your workout and helps you beat your fitness plateau. A great place to start is to do high intensity training for 2 minutes followed with low intensity training for 2 minutes. Once you have mastered this interval, mix it up!
Women tend to focus on cardio because it burns more calories fast. However, cardio and strength training are both very important for fitness. Combining the cardio and strength training two to three times a week two is especially important for women, who tend to have lower metabolisms, less muscle and more body fat to begin with as well as being more vulnerable to muscle atrophy and decreased metabolism as they age. While your body doesn't need any extra calories to maintain a pound of fat, it uses 30-50 calories every day just to maintain a pound of muscle. Using cardio and strength training in conjunction will help you reduce your body fat and increase your lean muscle mass and metabolism.
Many women carry small weights in their hands or attatch weights to their ankles during cardio exercise. While it is true that carrying weights during cardiovascular or aerobic exercise can slightly increase the number of calories expended, most experts agree that the practice is unsafe and can lead to unnecesary strain and injuries. Using weights, even light ones of only 2 or 3 pounds, requires proper form and technique that is difficult to maintain throughout a cardio session. Furthermore, you run the risk of dropping a weight on yourself or someone else and causing injury that way.
When you are recovering from an injury, one of the best ways to maintain a good fitness standing is by swimming. Swimming laps or water-aerobics burns just as many calories as a cardio workout on land, but does not put any pressure on your bones or ligaments. However, unlike land-based exercises, which tend to increase your body temperature and decrease your appetite, swimming does not raise your body temperature and can actually increase your appetite. In order to stay in shape and maintain their weight, swimmers need to be especially mindful of the calories they are consuming.
The standard formula for determining your maximum heart rate during aerobic exercise is to subtract your age from 220. However, these formulas are decades old, don't take into account individual fitness levels. A more modern approach, and one that is recommended by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) is to use the Borg Rating for Perceived Exertion (RPE). The RPE is measured from 6-20. A 9 on the RPE scale would be extremely light exercise, like a healthy adult going for a stroll. An easy way to monitor yourself using the RPE during exercise is the talk test. A person who is working out at a light intensity should be able to talk easily. It should be a little more difficult to talk while working out at a moderate intensity, and if it is very difficult to speak, that means you are working out at a very high intensity. Experts recommend spending most of your cardio workout at a medium intensity, RPE of 12-14, where you can talk while working out. You can find more information on RPE from your doctor, personal trainer, or on the Centers for Disease Control website www.cdc.gov.
While butt and thigh exercises are meant to whip your body in shape, you need to start with a low-impact, low-intensity workout if you are a beginner to avoid injury. Though high-intensity cardio fitness workouts burn more calories, they are not for beginners. You don't want to strain your muscles or ligaments, which would end up delaying your cardio fitness routine instead of helping you get in shape.
Although low-intensity cardio workouts burn fat and high-intensity workouts burn carbs, scientists believe that you will lose the same amount of fat overall. When you have progressed to a high-intensity workout, you will burn more fat after working out, whereas a low-intensity workout you will not burn as much. What it really comes down to is the fact that a calorie is a calorie. As long as you get your body moving, you will be on your way to fitness!
Here are some great cardio fitness exercises that will strengthen your core. You can do them at the gym or at home. It is best to do these types of exercises for an allotted amount of time, rather than a certain amount of repetitions. If you are a beginner try doing each exercise for two minutes at a time.
Swimmers- This exercise improves your core and endurance simultaneously. Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms at your side. Slightly lift your head and torso followed by your arms and legs so the only thing that touches the floor is your butt. Lift your right arm and left leg, then quickly alternate to lifting your left arm and right leg. Don't let your legs touch the floor or use your neck or shoulders to lift you. All your power should come from your abdominals.
Jumping Lunges- This is one of the great thigh exercises. Start in a standing position. Keep your right leg in front of you and your left leg behind you in a lunge position. Jump vertically, switching your right leg and left legs. Jump again quickly and switch your legs into their original position.
Bunny Hop- Start with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart. Jump, rotating your hips to the right and your torso to the left. Keep your shoulders facing forward and make sure you only use your hips to turn. Jump quickly by doing the same movement, only this time twist your hips to the left and your torso to the right. Remember to use your trunk to rotate and not your shoulders.
Heart disease is the top killer among women, according to the National Institute of Health. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you are more inclined to get heart disease. Steady cardiovascular or aerobic exercise is vital to your personal fitness. It is important to incorporate some sort of exercise into your life for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week to build muscle and increase fitness.
If it's been a while since you've exercised, keep in mind that just one exercise session can improve your health. Along with exercise, cut fat from your diet and quit smoking. Keep track of your cholesterol and avoid stress. Pilates exercises are great for stress management or for those who aren't into intense cardio workouts Remember to include a warm-up period before your workout and a cool down period after exercising. This is especially important if you haven't worked out for a while.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|