I love running, I really do, but I have to be honest here—I hate cardio workouts at the gym. I know you’re probably thinking “Wait…what? That makes no sense at all!” and that thought is totally justified.
While running outside offers a change of scenery, cardio workouts indoors do not. My biggest issue with them is always that they’re just…not fun. And when a workout doesn’t offer even the tiniest amount of fun, it can take a monumental effort to make yourself complete it.
I’d love to apologize for giving you a cardio workout this week, but I’m not sorry. Why? Because it’s a cardio dance workout, and let’s face it—everyone loves to dance, whether they want to admit it or not.
Let’s check it out!
So, Why Cardio?
You probably already know why cardio matters to your health and your fitness goals. However, I know firsthand that the first thing that pops into your head when you hear “cardio” is “Oh Lord God, why?”
Here are some pretty great answers to that question:
- Cardio boosts your heart health. It’s no secret that cardio works your heart. As a result, the overall condition of your heart is improved, and if you’re doing cardio regularly, you’re keeping your heart muscle in shape. Get to it!
- It also bumps up your metabolism. Cardio speeds up your heart rate (duh!), which has affects on your metabolic rate, too. A healthy increase in metabolism may help you maintain a healthy body weight and may even help you lose weight. Hooray!
- Cardio can help reduce stress. Cardio (exercise in general, really) promotes your brain’s production of endorphins, which are known as the feel-good chemical. This is what’s known as a “runner’s high,” and there are fewer things that feel better after a workout.
- It gives your cognitive abilities a boost. A good cardio workout can effect your brain just like a cup of coffee does. You’ll experience clear thinking and will feel energized. According to Women’s Health, a study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Mangement states that “people who exercised during their workday were 23 percent more productive on those days than they were when they didn’t exercise” (Source).
So, now that you have a better understanding of why cardio is important to your health, let’s take a look at this week’s workout, shall we?
The Cardio Dance Workout
This week’s workout is courtesy of Refinery29 and 305 Fitness. They understand the boredom that comes along with regular treadmill cardio. Finally! Someone gets it!
Let’s jump in!
1. The Bird
Start in a squat position with your feet together and your butt pushes as far back as possible. Make sure your arms are crossed over your chest. Step out to your right and open your knees into a squat as you also open your arms. Be sure to keep your abs tight and your butt as low as possible.
Step right with your left foot so your body is back in a squat position. Pull our arms back so they’re crossed over your chest again. Step out to the left with your left foot and repeat the movements above. Repeat in a continuous motion for three sets of 30 seconds.
2. The Interrupted Run
Start in a standing position with your abs pulled in tight and your feet about shoulder-width apart. Run three steps forward, plant your feet, and move into a jumping jack. Run three steps backward and do the same. Repeat continuously for three sets of 30 seconds.
3. The Bongo Beats
Point your toes out in a diagonal way and keep your feet in a wide stance. Pull your abs in tight and drop into a squat, keeping your toes pointing out. Use your quads, hamstrings, and glutes to push yourself back up. As you do this movement, simulate a drumming motion from one foot to the other. Repeat continuously for three sets of 30 seconds.
4. The Ballet Jump
This move starts with your feet a bit more than hip-width apart from each other. Make sure your arms are out in front of you in a half-circle. Jump up, and as you do so, cross your legs and bring your arms up into a rounded ballet pose. Keep your feet crossed as you land and bring your arms down, but keep them curved.
Jump a second time and uncross your legs. Bring your body down into the position you started in. Repeat continuously for three sets of 30 seconds.
5. The Motorcycle Pump
Start this move with your feet in a lunging stance. Keep your left leg planted on the floor and raise the heel of your right foot, making sure to keep your feet about hip-width apart. Extend your arms in a slight downward angle and ball both hands into fists.
Keep your abs pulled in tight and lower your right leg into a lunge until your left thigh is perpendicular to the floor. Push down on your front heel to get yourself back up while pulling your right fist straight back. Repeat continuously for three sets of 30 seconds.
6. The Ankle Touches
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and extend your arms up over your head. Life your right leg as high as you can and bring your left arm down to touch your ankle. With a hopping motion, repeat with the other leg and arm. Repeat continuously for three sets of 30 seconds.
7. The Stairmaster
Start with your feet in a wide stance. Pull your abs in tight, bend your left knee, and lean to your right. Push your arms over your head while you lean. Then, pull your right knee and both arms into your chest. Reset and repeat. Repeat continuously for three sets of 30 seconds.
8. The Slap
Start this last move with your feet about hip-width apart. Pull your abs in tight and raise your left knee as high as possible. Pull it toward your right side and swing your right arm across your body in a slapping motion. Hop onto the other foot and complete the motion with your left arm. Repeat continuously for three sets of 30 seconds.
Cool-Down & Recovery
Cooling down this week is simple. Take a short walk. Just 5 or 10 minutes, and go ahead an do it outside. Nature is good for your soul, after all!
Be sure you’re getting good amounts of water and protein after your workouts, too. Both aid in muscle health, recovery, and overall health. If you need some suggestions, check out the list below for some of my favorite products!
- Vega Sport Berry Electrolyte Hydrator by Vega
- Vanilla PureGreen Protein from Vibrant Health
- Chocolate Peanut Butter QuestBars by Quest Nutrition
How do you make your cardio workouts fun? If you have tips, we’d love to hear about them. Please leave them in the comments section below.
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