I personally dislike long workouts, they can be boring and obviously time consuming. Long workouts can really have a negative affect on motivation.
I prefer to limit my workouts to 30 – 40 minutes. Sometimes I will workout longer if I am feeling particularly energetic or motivated. The workouts here will reflect my preference for shorter workouts.
Mix it up – Don’t just run
Another key factor in maintaining workout motivation is exercise variety. Running on a treadmill for an hour is not my idea of fun, I am sure many would agree with me. Just running by itself is also limiting, it may be great for improving your cardio fitness, however only the muscles in your lower and middle body are being trained. Plus running is known to cause problems with your knees over time, from the constant impacts that your knees have to deal with.
These workouts will start off with low repetitions and short time periods, once your fitness improves you can progressively increase the reps, time periods and intensity.
I will give example sets, reps and time frames, however these are only examples. Adjust them to suit your level of experience and ability.
Home cardio workout
- Warm up – perform arm circles and hip rotations for 2 minutes or until your muscles feel warm and your heart rate and breathing has increased.
- Knee press ups – 3 sets of 30 reps.
- Front lunges – 3 sets of 10 reps each leg.
- Standing knee raises – perform for 1 – 2 minutes. Use controlled movements at a pace your are comfortable with, bring your knees up nice and high so your thighs are parallel with the floor, keep your arms at your side.
- Squats – 30 reps in total or 3 sets of 10 reps.
- Star jumps – 3 sets of 30 reps.
You can simply increase or decrease the intensity of this workout by adjusting your rest periods between exercises.
Gym cardio workouts
- Warm up – 2 minute brisk walk on a treadmill, extend the 2 minutes if you are not feeling sufficiently warmed up.
- Cycle machine – 5 – 10 minutes medium intensity.
- Ski or elliptical fitness machine – 5 – 10 minutes medium intensity.
- Chest press machine – 40 reps with light resistance.
- Lat pull down machine – 40 reps with light resistance.
- Treadmill – 5 – 10 minutes medium pace jog.
I highly recommend swimming as an alternative workout. Swimming is a fantastic exercise that works your cardiovascular and muscular system.