Many Vegatopians, and of course our formulator Brendan Brazier, are cardio fanatics. Of the five members of the Vega® Education Team (my department) I’m literally the only one that is not a runner and has not done a marathon. But no shame here; my training is in functional athletics. However cardio training, or aerobic conditioning, is important for heart health and overall fitness levels, for athletes of all types.
If you’re like me and dreaded the timed mile test in high school or the thought of “going for a run” sounds excruciating, you’ll love my favorite fun cardio workouts that are not running:
If you haven’t been on a trampoline yet, or since childhood, you are missing out. I just got a mini one for my home as a way to encourage myself to do more cardio. The benefits of bouncing on a trampoline are said to include invigoration of the heart and cardiovascular system while being gentle on your joints and tissues. It can also be used for improving your balance as well. Some athletes use trampolines to improve their speed, jump and anaerobic performancesKarakollukcu M, Aslan CS, Paoli A, et al. (2014) Effects of mini trampoline exercise on male gymnasts’ physiological parameters: a pilot study. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.. If you don’t want to invest in one for your home, many gyms now offer classes using this equipment or better yet there are trampoline parks where you can take your entire family to play.
Jumping rope is like a little black dress: simple, classic and never goes out of style. It also has the benefit of being portable; if you’re traveling, pack one in your suitcase and it hardly takes up any room. Whether you’re in a gym or outside in the sunshine jumping rope is a great way to achieve cardio benefits and shows potential for improving shoulder strength as well.Duzgun I, Baltaci G, Colakoglu F, et al. (2010) The effects of jump-rope training on shoulder isokinetic strength in adolescent volleyball players. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 19(2):184-99.
Rowing is one of my new favorite workouts. As a full body movement, it gets your heart rate up, making it an effective cardiovascular exercise and is a great deal of fun. Some of the rowing machines even have games that you play as you row. High-intensity and short duration rowing is said to preserve skeletal muscle function and structure, in addition to playing a role in preventing atrophy in antigravity muscles (joint stabilizing muscles such as quadriceps, glutes, and spinal erectors—muscles of the lower back)Krainski F, Hastings JL, Heinicke K, et al. (2014). The effect of rowing ergometry and resistive exercise on skeletal muscle structure and function during bed rest. Journal of Applied Physiology. 116(12):1569-81.. A quick internet search can help you find rowing clubs near you so you can experience this activity outdoors and meet other people interested in fitness.
If you haven’t noticed I love workouts that don’t feel like workouts. Finding an activity that you enjoy doing is a great way to ensure that you’ll continue with it.
What are your favorite fun cardio workouts?