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Cardio Health: Adding Variety To
Your Cardio Routine

Keeping up with cardiovascular exercise over a long period of time involves finding new ways to enjoy your workouts and to challenge yourself — both physically and mentally. In fact, pushing yourself to try new activities is critical to prevent plateaus in progress, boredom, and burnout. Varying your cardio routine ensures you'll have more fun — and stay more consistent — with the habits required for lifelong health and fitness.

Why “variation” is so important

Making fitness a lifelong habit demands a willingness to consistently “stretch” your comfort zone. Those afraid to “try something new” often get bored with the same old cardio routine and before long lose interest in maintaining their efforts.

Those who push their limitations grow from their experiences and enjoy the confidence, health, and success that come from new achievements. Varying your activity is a critical element to challenging your current limitations.

Top ten cardio activities

While the options are endless, listed are ten great ways to vary your cardio routine:

1. Wind sprints – nothing will get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing faster than some sprinting. On the track, grass, or road — choose what terrain is available to you.


2. Swimming – in the ocean, the lake, or the local Olympic size pool. Safe at any age, swimming is a great total body cardio routine and non-impact (good for joints) activity. Try alternating various strokes and pushing yourself for timed distances.

3. Cycling – if you’ve got a road bike, great; if not then an indoor model or “trainer” will work fine as well. Spinning classes also offer a fun environment to push your cardio limits.


4. Rollerblading – a great workout that challenges your lower body in a way unlike running or biking. Great exercise for the thighs, glutes, and hips. Also great training for those who enjoy the winter sports of snow skiing, ice-skating and hockey.

5. Mountain biking – with the popularity of “off-road” cycling, miles of trails in local parks or wooded areas are now easily accessible these days. Be sure to pack your safety gear and pick a trail that matches the level of your expertise!

6. Running hills – depending on where you live, hills may or may not be readily available. Try challenging your self to sprint stadium stairs or a few flights in a local hotel or office building as a great substitute. Talk about a cardio routine blast — give it a shot and you’ll be amazed!

7. Jumping rope – you might think of double-dutch or one of the games you used to play when you were a kid, but simple, timed jump rope intervals provide a serious workout. There are also several different types of ropes available including “speed” and “weighted” ropes that provide the added benefit of an upper-body workout at the same time.

8. Rowing – most of us don’t have access to a rowing shell, but fortunately many local health clubs offer alternatives. Rowing is a great way to work your core, back and legs at the same time. Some rowing machines even offer video components to make the experience like a fun video-game – complete with a computerized opponent to race!


9. Kickboxing – if a martial arts class doesn’t interest you (or you’d prefer to work up to it), there are some great cardio kickboxing DVD’s available to turn your living room into a dojo. A brief search of Amazon.com finds sixteen options to choose from — give it a shot!

10. Yoga – for clarity of mind, a good sweat, and flexibility at the same time, yoga offers tremendous benefits as part of a balanced health and fitness program. Many local facilities offer trial classes or home DVD’s are also available to fit into your ideal schedule.


Challenging your body and mind with new exercise activities is essential to avoiding plateaus, boredom and burnout. Pushing your limits ensures fun while maintaining the habits required for lifelong health and fitness success.

About The Author:
Call Hut Allred at 972.871.7575 or visit his website at www.newwavefitness.com to request a 15 minute phone consultation to learn how he can help you customize a fitness and nutrition program to achieve your goals.

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