Sometimes when we hear the word ‘exercise’ we want to just cuddle up in bed and binge watch a series of our favourite TV show on Netflix especially now it’s got colder. But just taking 30 minutes out of your day to do some of these exercises will have great benefits not just on the inside but the outside of your body. Your body shape will change and so will your self confidence. So get up and get moving, it doesn’t matter how long or how short or how intense it is as long as you’re having fun and getting a great sweat!

*Be sure to speak to your doctor if you suffer from any health conditions before taking up any vigorous exercise routines!*

Here are 7 cardio types and their benefits:

1) Running

Not one for everyone but one that can burn fat and help you tone whilst keeping a clear mind. A 30 minute run can have benefits that can have a huge impact on the way you feel. But remember you do not always have to go outside you can hop on the treadmill but it won’t be as beneficial as getting fresh air and exploring what’s around you.

The benefits of running include: Helping your joints, this particular exercise keeps the joints healthy and helps stop osteoarthritis. Your muscle strength will increase, no you won’t bulk out tremendously but you will get more toned. It can help lower blood pressure, sticking to a regular exercise routine will keep your body healthy, which is what we all want. It will improve the density and strength your bones, reducing risks of developing osteoporosis. Another great benefit is it will make your brain feel good. Endorphins are released from the brain when you run, which then help to ease stress and anxiety and treat depression. Concentration, motivation, memory and sleep improves a lot too. It will help with reducing weight, blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels lead to a healthier heart. You can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 35 percent with regular exercise.

2) Walking

I know it’s fairly similar to running but if you are not a fan of high intensity exercise like running, walking is a great alternative. My personal favourite for definite, I can always count on a good brisk walk to make me feel more motivated and clear my mind.

This has similar benefits to running being that they both help bones, blood pressure, heart, lungs etc and the main one for any type of cardio is they improve your cardiovascular health which is so important to live a healthier life.

Rather then driving to your corner shop, walk there instead, park further away from where you need to go, take the stairs instead of the lift. Do anything you can to help you move more, just keep moving and remember it’s so much better then just sitting around. Get a pedometer, they’re so handy to have and track how many steps you do as well as calories, how far, how long you’re active for which is a real motivator to carry on doing it. Try and reach for at least 10,000 steps a day, anything over that is a real achievement but don’t be disheartened if you don’t reach that everyday, what matters is that you’ve done something.

Add hills to your walk, walking up hill can tone up your calves, thighs and glutes as well as it being more intense which means more calories burned. Going for a walk can really help clear your mind and you will admire the scenery a lot more, so pick somewhere that looks pleasing to the eye to make your walk more enjoyable, bring a friend or your dog or listen to music.

3) Dance cardio

Yes you could class dancing in a club as dance cardio, but that’s not the healthiest way to do it even though it is a lot of fun. Dance cardio can range from many types of dance, it is designed to get your heart rate up, to follow the beat and to work your whole body.

The benefits of cardio dance are: It utilises different muscle groups, it gives you a full body aerobic exercise through low intensity and high intensity moves, toning all over. You are almost always working your core, which helps you keep your balance and helps you maintain a proper form. It improves your coordination and rhythm, it’s safe to say at first you will probably feel a bit strange and like you have no clue what you’re doing, but after a few tries, your inner Beyonce will come out and you’ll be dancing away and not caring what you look like. It burns fat, so you can get that body you desire by listening to your favourite music and dancing the night away, it’s perfect. It will keep your heart rate high, which is key to burning fat. It can again improve your mood and brain and keep you more motivated.

There are many types of cardio dance but the most popular are: Zumba, which combines dance and fitness moves, which are inspired by Latin dance and music. The music contains both fast and slow beats to help tone and sculpt your body. Hip-hop, one we’re all probably very familiar with, this dance refers to street dance styles which are performed to more up beat music. It includes a range of styles and is a very popular dance style across many dance crews and artists. Salsa and Jazz are another type of cardio dance that is based on using your whole body to different music styles. Ballet is one that is both cardio and strength as it can take a lot of energy to be a ballet dancer but it also improves posture and your core as well as working all the muscles.

4) HIIT

High Intensity interval training is a training technique in which you give all you can, one hundred percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery breaks.

The benefits of HIIT are: It increases your metabolism, when you increase the intensity of your exercise it will result in your metabolic rate boosting up to 48 hours after a complete routine, which means you’ll still be burning calories even after you’ve finished your work out. They can be so quick and efficient, it’s hard to find the time to exercise some days, which is why this exercise is so beneficial. You can do it pretty much anywhere and sometimes they can be as short as 10 minutes! You do not always need equipment, normally you will just your own body weight, which is still as intense especially at a fast pace, of course if you want to add a dumbbells don’t be afraid too, but you will definitely feel the burn!

HIIT workouts can include sit ups, squats, split jumps, push ups, jumping rope, burpees, jogging on the spot really quick and many more. Again great for lowering body fat, increasing heart rate and toning up your muscles as well as making you feel incredible.

5) Boxing

Boxing is one of those work outs that releases stress as well as makes your whole body move. You do not always have to hop on the treadmill to do a decent amount of cardio, boxing for half an hour will burn similar amounts of calories and it’s a lot more enjoyable.

Punching, kicking and jumping requires a lot of strength especially if you’re looking to put force into it. If you’re using professional heavy bags they can weigh at least 100 pounds so you will have to put a lot of power in to your kicks and punches for it to make a difference. Better hand-eye coordination, you must always focus on the target and hitting it, which means you can’t take your eyes of it whilst throwing your punches and moving position quickly. It will make you feel stress free, which is a huge benefit for us all. Sometimes, you need more then a walk around the block, you need to sweat out your frustrations and boxing can do just that.

Boxing is an improved body composition because it perfectly combines muscle-building strength training moves and calorie torching cardio burnouts for a super intense but very beneficial workout.

6) Swimming

A more lower intense cardio workout and a great one for if you’re having a rest day or perhaps a break from the more high intensity exercises.

The benefits are: It keeps your heart rate up, builds endurance, muscle strength and again improves cardiovascular fitness! It can help maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs, tones your muscles and provides a full body workout. It not only does all these key things but it can be relaxing and peaceful, it can be a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day as well as relieving stress.

It’s great fun and can be very beneficial to help keep you healthy as well as help any injuries or recovery that is needed. Another key aspect is its an exercise that doesn’t make you sweat, sometimes people would rather not sweat during exercise, but it’s hard not to when doing high intensity cardio. Swimming will not make you sweat buckets because the water around you is constantly cooling you down. Keeping yourself a float uses a lot of strength and constant moving of your legs and arms, which again is keeping your heart rate up and you will make the most out of your work out.

7) Cycling

We can surely all remember the time we learnt to ride a bike and how fun it was, but sometimes as we get older that thought gets pushed to the side and not a lot of people take up cycling as a daily activity.

You do not always need a bike, you can get an elliptical if you’d prefer to exercise inside, which in the winter months could be more beneficial. Cycling can be more low impact, which means it causes less strain and injuries than some other forms of exercise. It’s a good muscle workout, it gets all those key muscles moving as you’re pedalling. It’s fairly easy, unlike other workouts, it does not require high levels of physical skill and it’s something that you shouldn’t forget how to do.

It includes strength, stamina and aerobic fitness. It is time efficient, it’s classed as a mode of transport, which replaces sitting time with a healthier exercise rather then sitting on bus, train or motor vehicle, you’re using your legs to keep you moving at a faster pace. It can help improve posture, reduce anxiety and depression and can actually be a lot of fun.

There are a lot more types of cardio, but these are some of the most popular ones. Cardio is brilliant for many things and can help you get the body you desire as well as helping improve your health not just physically but mentally, it’s enjoyable and as you can see has major impacts on your body. But remember to be consistent, try and do some of these types of workouts 3 times a week as well as eating healthy. 

Make sure to warm up and cool down after any cardio activity!

Stay tuned for Monday, i’ll be posting one about strength training, as I know that is equally as important!

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 Student Journalist.