All Entries For cardio
High intensity interval training (aka H.I.I.T.) doesn't always have to be high impact! This workout is perfect for maximizing your cardio time--without pounding your joints. (Oh, and did I mention it’s free of both burpees and squat thrusts? Score!)
Join me for this low-impact, high-intensity cardio routine that can be done easily in a small space with zero equipment. (No jumping means it's perfect for hotel rooms and apartments, too!) Read More ›
Everyone in the SparkPeople office has been wearing and using the Spark Activity Tracker during the beta testing phase so we were very excited for it to finally release on October 1. While we love its small size, fun light-up display and ease of use, we were anxious to hear what SparkPeople members would think about this tiny tool that tracks steps, miles and fitness minutes (and automatically syncs the data with your SparkPeople Fitness Tracker). We’re finding new reviews from members daily, and we're delighted to see how much they're enjoying the Spark! (Learn more about exactly what the Spark Activity Tracker can do for you.) Read More ›
Walking workouts are convenient, easy to do, and so great for your health (and your waistline!). But walking indoors can get a little repetitive sometimes, and since my Mom and I both love Zumba, we thought it might be fun to infuse some of the Latin-inspired dance movements into a walking-based workout! So if you're looking for a way to spice up your walking routine, try joining us for this fun, easy to follow, low impact dance walk that's appropriate for all fitness levels.
Working on a carpeted surface? Try this workout barefoot and/or modify some of the twisting-type movements to help protect your knees. Read More ›
You already know some of the amazing benefits of walking: It’s good for your heart, great for your bones and perfect for weight control), but some days the weather outside can be frightful, and the treadmill can be well, less than delightful.
If you are in need of an indoor walking buddy today, join me for this full length, low-impact workout you can follow along with at home! This 30-minute power walk is easy to follow, fun to do, and it doesn’t require much space to move around. Plus, it's appropriate for all fitness levels. Read More ›
Ditch and Switch
You’ve found an exercise plan that works for you (no small feat!), so why change it? Over time, your body adapts to the same routine, decreasing your calorie burn as your muscles get better at doing those same moves over and over. Instead of plateauing, try these simple upgrades to kick things up a notch—and keep getting results. Read More ›
Tight on time?
Don't give up on your workout today. If you have a mere four minutes—that's just 240 total seconds—to spare (and who doesn't), then you do have time to squeeze in a super effective workout that provides major health, fitness and weight-loss benefits.
What is this 4-minute miracle workout? Read More ›
Do you love spring as much as I do? It's so energizing to wake up when the sun is shining, enjoy the outdoors without wearing a coat, and see the green grass and tiny flower buds flanking the streets. Every sunny day, I lament that I'm in the office instead of outdoors, which is why I get outside as much as possible after work and each weekend. When the scenery is beautiful and the temperature perfect, almost any activity—including exercise—seems more fun and enjoyable. Here are 7 worthwhile pastimes that can help you get fit, burn calories and enjoy the outdoors this spring! Read More ›
Do you ever feel like you don't have enough time to get a good workout in during the day? No need to fret because you can still get an effective cardio workout in just 10 minutes. I gave up the all-or-nothing thinking years ago and have done my best to commit to at least 10 minutes of exercise each day. It all really DOES add up! Even if you did just 10 minutes of exercise a day, that is 70 minutes of exercise for the week, which is better than not doing anything at all and you can still see the benefits from doing that.
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Like many women, I love me some cardio. I like to get sweaty when I work out and feel like I really accomplished something, and almost nothing makes me feel that way like a tough Spinning class or long run can.
But as a trainer (and self-proclaimed cardio lover), I've seen my share of mistakes in and out of the gym.
Cardio does a body good, but if you're guilty of these common cardio crimes, you could be putting your body at risk and undermining your efforts.
Think you're a cardio saint, innocent of any and all offenses? Read on to see if you're guilty as charged! Read More ›
We’ve always heard that the positive benefits of physical activity continue long after your workout session is over. More energy, less stress and those “feel good” endorphins are some of the immediate effects. But what about the mysterious “afterburn” that a lot of people talk about? Do you really continue burning more calories after the workout, or is it really just during the workout that matters? A new study finds that it’s possible to burn more calories throughout the day--in fact, up to 14 hours later.
The study, published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, took 10 healthy males and examined their energy expenditure under two different sets of conditions. “During the first session, participants were mostly inactive, but they stood and stretched for two minutes every hour. They could also perform everyday tasks, such as washing their hands and brushing their teeth, as needed. During the second session, participants followed the same routine, but then cycled vigorously for 45 minutes.”
Researchers found that participants burned 190 additional calories while at rest throughout the day after vigorous exercise (defined in the study as a 73% max heart rate), compared to when they did no activity. The increased calorie burn lasted for over 14 hours--and continued even into the first few hours of sleeping. This is the first study to use a metabolic chamber (a highly controlled environment) to estimate calorie burned after vigorous physical activity.
The number of calories each person burns during--and after--a workout will vary. It depends on many factors: gender, age, genetics, type of workout, etc. But it’s something to keep in mind as you weigh the benefits of exercise, and whether or not the time and effort is worthwhile. I think exercise is a key component of any healthy lifestyle, regardless of how much exercise you can do or how intense it is. Previous studies have also shown that your body's metabolism stays revved after a workout and that generally, the more intense the workout is, the greater the post-workout "afterburn" will be. This study just gives one more reason to get off of the couch and get moving--no matter how much or how little time you have!
What do you think? Read More ›
I know plenty of people who love their elliptical trainers—and there is plenty of reason to. The elliptical mimics the motion of walking or running but with very little impact on the joints. That means it's more comfortable for you to get your heart rate up and get really sweaty. Whether you want to go easier, go harder, or something in between, a standard elliptical has plenty of options for you.
But following the same elliptical programs day in and day out can make your elliptical workout turn stale—and hurt your results. So I developed a fun interval-style workout that'll challenge you and help pass the time. With frequent changes in speed and resistance, your workout will fly by—and you'll reap the fat-burning, time-saving, calorie-torching benefits of interval training! Read More ›
It's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of the treadmill. I love to run, hike and even walk with my pup, but I do it all outdoors all year round. Rain, snow, wind, heat—almost nothing can keep me from my outdoor workouts. For me, a treadmill is a "last resort" when I have no other option to get outside.
But I know that not everyone is as gung-ho about outdoor exercise as I am. Many people hate running in the cold or the heat. (Nothing wrong with that.) Others have no other option to work out, especially if they have to be at home with kids or don't live in a safe neighborhood for walking or running. And still some prefer the slightly cushioned surface of a treadmill, which takes away some of the impact of running, making it easier on the joints and even the spinal discs.
Whatever your reason, we've all turned to the treadmill from time to time. And the best way to prevent boredom and get great results from your treadmill workout is to incorporate intervals. Here's a simple workout I developed to help you torch calories with your trusty treadmill. Read More ›
Yoga has seen a steady rise in popularity over the past few years. According to a 2008 report released by Yoga Journal, 15.8 million American adults were practicing yoga. In 2010, that number grew to 21.9 million. The majority reported that they practice yoga for a number of health benefits, stress reduction and relaxation. Yoga is a great complement to a well-rounded exercise routine, no matter what your fitness level. It offers a variety of modifications (as needed), styles and intensities, giving it a wide appeal among exercisers of all fitness levels and goals.
But one of the questions I get most about yoga isn't whether I recommend it (I do), but whether it counts as a cardio workout. Could yoga replace one or more of your weekly treadmill or elliptical dates? Read More ›
Whenever friends or family see me running around our neighborhood, they know it’s me right away. I have a very distinct run, or as I like to joke, a distinct “shuffle”. Over the years I’ve tried to adjust the way I run, because I think it could help me get faster. So far, that has been totally unsuccessful. I blame my dad for the problem because he runs exactly the same way I do. It must be genetic.
My problem is that all of the movement in my legs comes from the knee down. My feet don’t come very far off the ground and I don’t have any lift in my knees. I know if I could get my knees up and my quads working a little more, I’d have additional power and potentially, additional speed. I’ve worked with a running coach to try and correct the issue, but at this point, it’s hard to change something I’ve been doing for so long. Perhaps if I would have tried much earlier in my running career, I would have had more success. A new study proposes that people naturally become better runners, just by running more. Although I can’t say the same applied in my case, the results are pretty interesting.
The study, published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, followed 10 women on a 10-week, self-paced program for new runners. Each woman visited a lab before started the program to have their aerobic capacity, running form and running economy assessed. “Running economy, also known as running efficiency, is a measure of how much oxygen a person uses to run at a particular pace — in essence, how hard it is to run at that speed. Efficiency is considered one of the determinants of running success. A more economical runner requires less energy than others and presumably should be able to run farther or faster.” It’s no surprise that the new runners were not very economical in the beginning, but that improved as the 10-week training program progressed.
Additional tests over the 10-weeks found that the women improved their speed and endurance, and also improved their running economy (their ability to use oxygen increased by about 8.5%.) There were also changes in running stride which ended up making running easier. For example, their legs became more flexed as they left the ground which allows for a quicker turnover and increased speed. They also increased stability in their feet as they struck the ground, which indicates becoming more comfortable with the movement of running.
This study was done on a very small, specific group of people. The results won’t necessarily translate to all runners, but the study’s author feels it can lead to some important takeaways: “You can optimize your gait naturally,” she says, “by becoming more conscious of your running movement and how it feels.” Your body, at least in the early stages of becoming a runner, can be a fine and knowledgeable coach.”
My advice is to stick with what feels comfortable. I know I’ll never have the long stride and leg lift of an Olympic sprinter. But as long as I can stay injury-free and enjoy what I’m doing, that’s what is most important to me.
Have you considered becoming a runner but don’t know where to begin? Check out SparkPeople’s Running Center, where you can find articles, training programs, virtual races to join and much more!
What do you think?
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You don't need any fancy equipment to get a good work out. You don't even need a lot of space!
I teamed up with my friend Cassey from Blogilates.com to create this simple cardio workout to help you burn lots of calories in just a few minutes. As an added bonus, it's super quiet! You can do this if you have sleeping kiddos at home or even if you're trying to be quiet for your downstairs neighbors.
Are you ready to try it? Read More ›