Physical activity has come to a stop for a lot of us since the lockdown that began more than a year ago. With the existence of COVID-19, it is the need of the hour to keep our body fit, healthy and active. Along with staying safe at home, we need to make efforts to stay active and build a healthy immune system.
Though gyms and parks are shut, we can always indulge in cardio exercises at home to keep ourselves fit and active. A cardio workout at home is a great way to strengthen your muscles and energise your body. It is a great activity for the body after spending long hours working in front of a computer. Without further ado, let us have a look at the benefits of cardio exercises and the various cardio exercises you can practice at home-
What Are Cardio Exercises?
Cardio exercises, sometimes called Aerobic exercises, are any form of activities that use aerobic metabolism. While partaking in Aerobic exercises, oxygen is heavily involved in the cellular reactions that produce the energy necessary to sustain the activity. Your heart rate increases and you breathe more deeply to maximize the amount of oxygen in your blood. This results in using more oxygen in an efficient manner. This helps you feel more energized and prevents you from feeling tired quickly. Some common examples of cardio or cardiovascular exercises are cycling, swimming, walking, jogging, etc. Even household chores such as mopping or vacuuming are considered to be cardio exercises.
Cardiovascular exercise is any athletic activity that raises oxygen and blood flow throughout the body while using large muscle groups of the body repetitively and rhythmically. These kinds of activities challenge your most vital internal body organs and enhance the function as well as the performance of the heart, lungs and circulatory system. Cardio exercises improve many aspects of health, including heart health, mental health, mood, sleep, weight regulation and metabolism.
Benefits Of Cardio Exercises At Home
Cardio exercises at home not only benefits your cardiovascular health but enhances your overall quality of life too. Let us have a look at the many benefits of cardio exercises at home-
Brain And Joints
Cardio exercises at home can improve your brain and joint health. A regular and vigorous cardio workout at home can reduce the risk of dementia, irrespective of your age. Some of the other benefits of cardio exercises at home include:-
- Increases blood flow, decreasing the chances of stroke.
- Enhances memory and thinking ability.
- Fights decline in brain functioning with age.
- Helps protect against developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Fights osteoporosis and reduces chances for a hip fracture.
- Helps manage arthritis discomfort and maintains a joint range of motion.
Skin, Muscles And Weight
Being active and indulging in cardio exercises at home increases circulation, leading to clearer and healthier skin. Taking part in a regular cardio workout at home increases the oxygen supply in the body and allows the muscles to work more efficiently. Over time, your muscles adapt to an increased workload, making regular activities seem menial. However, just indulging in a regular cardio workout at home is not enough. You must maintain a heart-healthy diet as well. When paired with a nutritionally balanced diet, cardio exercises at home can do wonders for weight loss. You are less likely to develop diseases like diabetes, certain cancers and heart disease. A cardio workout at home also helps you maintain a healthy weight by burning more calories throughout the day.
Pancreas, Lungs And Blood
The pancreas helps convert the food you eat into energy while also supporting digestion. Staying active helps enhance blood sugar control, decreases stress on this vital organ and reduces your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. It also helps improve good cholesterol levels while lowering blood fats. A cardio workout at home enhances your breathing efficiency as your exercise ability improves and can lead to reductions in fatigue and shortness of breath in chronic lung problems.
We are bound to feel differently each day. Some Days we are happy and active, while on some days, we feel lazy and low. Not only do cardio exercises at home elevate mood, but also help combat depression, improve self-esteem and release tension-fighting hormones like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.
Sleep And Energy
Have you ever felt energised and pumped up after a good cardio workout at home? That’s because physical exercise enhances your energy by releasing endorphins, giving you more, lasting energy throughout your day. Indulging in cardio exercises at home regularly helps you doze off faster and promotes Non-REM [Rapid Eye Movement] sleep as well.
How Long Should Your Cardio Workout At Home Last?
Studies suggest that people should at least get 150 minutes a week, approximately 30 minutes a day of cardio exercises at home. If you aim to lose more than five percent of your body weight, more than 300 minutes a week or approximately an hour of moderate-intensity cardio workout at home is suggested. The best thing about participating in cardio exercises at home is that you don't have to work out for an hour to reap the benefits. Even sessions as short as 10 minutes count towards your weekly cardio exercise minutes. According to your requirement, plan your cardio workout at home. It may feel less overwhelming to break your cardio workout at home sessions into smaller 10 to 15-minute chunks if you are a beginner. Increase your times by 5 minutes as you adapt gradually. Work your way up to 30-60 minute sessions.
Best Cardio Exercises At Home
Now that we have covered the benefits and importance of cardio exercises at home, let us move on to which exercises you can practise regularly to enhance your fitness levels. Below mentioned are some of the most effective and best cardio exercises at home.
Burpees is amongst the best cardio for weight loss at home. It is a two-part cardio exercise at home:- a push up followed by a leap in the air. Burpees are a challenging exercise that work many of the major muscle groups in your body and provide a complete body workout. Let’s have look at how to do Burpees perfectly-
- Start in a squat position with your knees bent, back straight and your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your hands to the floor in front of you so they’re within the range of your feet.
- With your weight on your hands, take a jump with your feet towards the back so you’re on your hands and toes, and in a pushup position.
- Keeping your body straight from head to heels, do one pushup. Remember not to let your back sag or to stick your butt in the air.
- Do a frog kick by jumping your feet back to the starting position.
- Stand and reach your arms over your head.
- Jump quickly into the air so you land back where you started.
- As soon as you land with knees bent, get into a squat position and repeat.
Jumping Jacks is one of the best and most enjoyable cardio exercises at home. They help build stronger muscles, work on the core muscles for a flat stomach and is one of the best cardio for weight loss at home. It is a must-include in your cardio workout at home. Let’s have look at how to do Jumping Jacks perfectly-
- Begin by standing with your legs straight and your arms to your sides.
- Jump, spreading your feet apart at your sides while bringing your arms above your head, nearly touching them.
- Jump again to return to your starting position.
Mountain Climbers provides a complete body workout and is one of the most effective cardio exercises at home. It is great for building cardio endurance, core strength and agility. As you indulge in Mountain Climbers, your shoulders, arms and chest work to stabilize your upper body while your core stabilizes the rest of your body. Your quads get an incredible workout, too. Mountain Climbers also benefit heart health and burn calories. Let’s have look at how to do Mountain Climbers perfectly-
- Get into a plank position, making sure to distribute your weight evenly between your hands and your toes.
- Check your form - your hands should be about shoulder-width apart, back flat, abs engaged, and head facing downwards
- Pull your right knee towards your chest as close as you can.
- Switch legs, pulling one knee out and bringing the other knee in.
- Keep your hips down, run your knees in and out as far and as fast as you can. Alternate inhaling and exhaling with each leg change.
Squat Jumps are a cardio exercise at home that involves your lower body muscles as well as your core: abdominals, glutes, hamstrings and lower back. It is beneficial for people who indulge regularly in sports such as football or running. A dynamic power move, it is a must-include in your cardio workout at home. Squat Jumps help you develop running and kicking abilities, as well as balance and agility. Let’s have look at how to do Squat Jumps perfectly-
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Bend your knees and descend to a full squat position.
- Engage through the quads, glutes, and hamstrings and propel the body up and off the floor, extending through the legs. The feet should be a few inches (or more) off the floor as you jump from your static position.
- Descend and control your landing by balancing with your feet (toes, ball, arches, heel) and descend into the squat again for another explosive jump.
- Upon landing, immediately repeat the next jump.
High Knees is one of the most beneficial cardio exercises at home that can be incorporated into a wide variety of workout routines. It engages your core, strengthens all the muscles in your legs, gets your heart rate up and improves momentum, coordination and flexibility. When you indulge in High Knees regularly, it enables you to build significant strength and endurance within your abdominal muscles and hip flexors. Let’s have look at how to do High Knees perfectly-
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your left knee to your chest.
- Switch to lift your right knee to your chest. Continue the movement, alternating legs and moving at a sprinting or running pace.
Air Squat or Bodyweight Squat is a cardio exercise at home, commonly used in training programs like CrossFit and workout routines. It is a great cardio exercise to learn the proper form of squats and helps build both a solid strength foundation and balance in your lower body. Air Squat targets your thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and core. Let’s have look at how to do Air Squat perfectly-
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward.
- Engage core muscles and pull shoulder blades together slightly to push out your chest.
- Squat back as if you were about to sit in a chair. Keep your weight in your heels so you don’t lean forward. Your hips should move down and back.
- Make sure your lower back curve is maintained and keep heels flat on the floor the whole time. Hips should descend lower than knees.
- Hold for a few seconds, then rise by pushing through heels and using glutes to return to a standing position.