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Home Cardio Workouts – Get in Shape,
Lose Some Weight

Home cardio workouts are one of the most popular ways to get in shape and lose weight. It’s easy to do a cardio workout at home because you don’t need a lot of expensive gear. You simply need to be able to work out at a pace that gets your blood pumping and increases your heart rate.

To see clear results such as improved muscle tone and reduced body weight, you’ll need to work up to doing cardio 3-5 times a week for at least a half hour each session. Once you’ve stuck with it for a few months, you’ll begin to reap substantial benefits, including:

  • A stronger heart
  • Stronger lungs with more lung capacity
  • Increased muscle
  • Reduced fat
  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • A faster metabolism
  • Less stress

Cardio workouts raise your heart rate to a particular rate, then keep it elevated for a period of several minutes. It is basically an aerobic workout with a set heart rate goal that you monitor while exercising. Sustained elevation of the heart rate and constant movement are key to good home cardio workouts, so you may want to use a treadmill or elliptical machine. Using them makes it easier to maintain a steady pace and workout in any weather.

Determining Your Target Heart Rate for Home Cardio Workouts

When doing cardio workouts, you want to elevate your heart rate enough so that you’re breathing heavily, but are still able to talk (though not as easily as if you were relaxing on the sofa). If you’re so winded you can’t talk, you may be pushing your heart rate too high.

There’s a simple formula to determine your target heart rate:

For MEN:
226 – age = maximum heart rate.

220 – age = maximum heart rate.

NOW, your target heart rate should be 50% - 75% of your maximum heart rate. If you’re just beginning to exercise regularly, use 50%; if you’re already in good shape, you can work up to 75%.

For example, if you’re a 50 year old man who hasn’t been exercising, your target heart rate would be 88:
226 – 50 = 176. 176 X .50 = 88

If you’re a 38 year old woman who’s been jogging a few miles each day for the past several months, your target heart rate could be as high as 136:
220 – 38 = 182. 182 X .75 = 136.

If you’re doing cardio treadmill workouts or using an elliptical trainer, you may be fortunate enough to have a heart rate monitor built right in. If so, you can hook yourself up via the chest strap or use the hand grip monitors to keep track of your heart rate. Any time you go over your target heart rate, slow down until your heart rate drops into the acceptable range.

You can also check your heart rate by counting your pulse with two fingers along your jaw line or over the pulse in your wrist. You can count the beats in ten seconds, then multiply by six to get your heart rate.

Home Cardio Workout Tips

  • Any cardio workout is more effective if you vary the intensity. 2-5 minutes at the higher speed combined with dropping back to a slower one for 1-2 minutes is a good moderate goal.
  • Varying the incline of your treadmill will force your heart to work harder at a slightly slower speed.
  • Never do a home cardio workout without warming up and cooling down for five minutes each.
  • An elliptical trainer gives an excellent cardio workout with almost no impact if you have knee or other joint problems.
  • Don’t ever exceed your target heart rate. You aren’t getting any additional benefits and you could make yourself sick or injure yourself.
  • Be sure to keep breathing evenly and deeply in order to keep going.
  • You can max out at a strong cardio workout lasting about an hour, but the benefits diminish over the one hour mark.

Treadmill cardio workouts are often programmed into your machine, which is helpful when trying to determine how long you should push yourself and how long you should slow down. Many elliptical machines also have built-in cardio programs with varying degrees of difficulty. Try them out to see which home cardio workouts work best for you, but keep the above tips in mind.

About the Author:
Kevin Urban is the editor at TreadmillTalk.com, the web's premier site for treadmill reviews. Visit the site to find the best treadmill for your budget.

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