Cardio can be hell on earth.
We know we need to build up stamina, we know that cardio is good for heart health, we know that getting sweaty is the best way to build fitness levels – but that doesn’t make burpees feel any less horrific.
The good news is that it is possible to get an effective cardio workout without jumping jacks, burpees, high knees, or anything high-impact.
This will be music to your ears if jumping is your nemesis.
According to fitness expert, Andrea Marcellus, there are several ways to increase intensity and up your heart rate without performing high-impact movements.
In fact, performing low-impact moves at a quicker pace not only strengthens muscles while simultaneously getting your heart-rate up, it can also help to avoid injury and stave off osteoporosis. Which is a definite bonus.
For a low-impact, highly effective burst of cardio, Andrea suggests doing any standing movements with your arms raised.
‘This brings more muscle groups into the work, increasing the demand for oxygen, she explains, ‘which forces your lungs to take in more air and your heart to pump it out to your muscles faster.
‘Strategically use isometrics (holding positions) with large muscle groups (i.e. holding a squat or a lunge) or total body exercises (like holding a plank, or a down dog) in between concentric/eccentric workout moves (everything that involves movement).’
Andrea has outlined a simple low-impact cardio workout that you can try at home or in the gym, which will give you your fitness fix without the need to jump around like an idiot:
Prisoner squat to mermaid
With your hands behind your head, elbows wide, squat down and bend your knees while drawing your hips back and keeping your chest as lifted as possible.
As you stand back up, extend your arms overhead and bend to the side, pull your spine long and keep your abs deep.
Do 10 reps, alternating sides
Chest opener back lunge with rotation
10 reps each leg
With your hands behind your head and elbows wide, step back into lunge.
Turn your body toward the front leg while extending your arms.
Return to standing and repeat 10 times each leg.
Twisting knee plank to down dog
In a plank position, twist one knee in and across your chest while keeping your abs deep and your shoulders open.
Return to the plank and then push back to down dog, drawing the hips to the ceiling, the heels down and pressing your chest toward your thighs.
Drop back into plank while drawing in the other leg.
Do 10 sets.
Kneeling star leg swings
20 reps each leg
With one knee on the floor and one hand on the flow, extend the opposite arm to the ceiling and lift your leg to hip height.
Slowly move your lifted leg forward and back 20 times, without letting the foot drop below the level of your hip.
Leg lift down dog to plank
10 reps each leg
From a plank position with shoulders and back wide and abs deep, press back into the down dog while extending one leg behind you, keeping your hips square to the floor.
Return to plank and repeat with the other leg. Do 10 sets.
As many as you can
Using a timer, try for 15 reps in 45 seconds.
Keep your neck relaxed and abs deep as you bend your elbows to drop the chest to the floor and then ‘press the floor away’ to straighten your arms again.
Tip: aim to make a W-shape with your arms instead of a T-shape straight out from the shoulders, to work your chest and triceps properly and avoid straining your neck and upper traps.