We live busy lives that can get overwhelming way too fast. Full-time jobs, family responsibilities, social events, and countless daily chores take a considerable amount of our time.
Yet, there is no reason not to take care of our health.
The meaning of health is not just the absence of disease. Health refers to complete physical, mental, and social well-being. Physical activity can make an extremely positive impact on our well-being. However, it could be challenging to make time for being active.
A short but regular aerobic activity might be the perfect option for busy adults. This type of exercise is also known as a cardiovascular activity, and it provides numerous health benefits.
Aerobic exercise involves large muscle groups, promotes blood circulation, and ensures efficient use of oxygen to produce energy for movement. Experts recommend getting at least 150 minutes per week of heart-pumping physical activity. Look at the benefits these activities may bring to your life.
Top-9 benefits of cardiovascular activity
Strengthens the immune system
Regular aerobic exercise promotes immune health by increasing immunoglobulins, which are potent protective factors. And a strong immune system fights off a variety of disease-causing organisms.
Enhances cognitive function
Recent studies reveal cardiovascular exercise is associated with improved cognitive function and can slow down brain tissue loss. If you exercise regularly, you have better reaction times, better memory, and a higher concentration level than nonexercisers.
Reduces the risk of heart disease
Studies show that people who don't exercise have twice the risk of developing heart disease than those who regularly practice cardiovascular activity.
Promotes better sleep
Researchers have found that exercisers go to sleep more quickly and sleep more soundly than individuals who don't exercise.
Relieves stress and anxiety
Exercise generates an emotional and physical relaxation that sets approximately an hour and a half after a workout.
Increases HDL cholesterol, which is known as "good" cholesterol
An aerobic workout is an effective way of raising HDL cholesterol, which lowers heart disorders and stroke risk.
Burns body fat and shapes the figure
You'd surely want to burn calories and have a fit appearance after the workout. Engaging in aerobic exercise tones your body and helps burn excess fat.
Boosts your energy level
Sometimes, people get tired not because they do too many things but because they lack physical training. An active lifestyle makes your body produce more mitochondria, which leads to a higher level of available energy.
People who exercise regularly feel better about themselves than sedentary individuals. Develop the discipline to become active - this may give you a powerful self-esteem boost.
It is now clear why cardiovascular activity is crucial for you to stay healthy and energized. But how can you free up some time for workouts if you are always busy?
The suggested 150 minutes of aerobic training per week refer to only 20 minutes daily. Here is how you can include cardio in your day-to-day life without leaving behind any of your responsibilities.
Bodyweight interval training at home
The most time-efficient way to work out is to exercise at home. No need to get ready, pick an outfit, travel to the gym or the park. Just free up some space and 20-30 minutes of your day.
The interval style of training works for both the aerobic and the anaerobic systems. Research studies show that interval training can improve the VO 2 max (amount of oxygen your body can absorb in a minute) significantly after only two weeks.
Performing bodyweight exercises quickly with very little rest provides you similar cardiovascular benefits as standard aerobics.
How to structure your interval workout?
- Warm-up to ten minutes to prepare your muscles for the workout
- Choose the favorite exercises to perform
- Set a time for training and resting. For example, you can exercise for 20 minutes, choosing five exercises, and perform each one for 40 seconds, followed by 20 seconds of rest. So it would be the first round of your workout
- If you are a beginner, begin with 30 seconds workouts, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Repeat the 5 minutes round three more times
- Give yourself some time to recharge batteries. Light stretching is a perfect way to lower the heart rate and ease muscle strain.
Congrats! You just completed an effective workout at home without wasting hours on it!
Are you wondering which exercises to choose? Here are the top-10 bodyweight exercises that don't require any equipment:
- Jumping Jacks. This cardio exercise increases your heart rate fast and activates various muscle groups in your body. It is an excellent warm-up exercise, and it also fits perfectly in interval training.
- Fast feet shuffle. This drill improves your coordination while working on your speed. Warm-up with this move before running, or include it in your interval training.
- Jumping lunges. Lunges are a great exercise that strengthens your legs and glutes while working on your stability—adding a jump after the lunge increases the intensity and recruits your cardiovascular system.
- Mountain climbers.This fast-paced exercise fires nearly every muscle in your body. It strengthens the core and helps you build cardio endurance.
- Burpees.This entire body movement works on your explosiveness, aerobic and anaerobic fitness. You can make the exercise even more complete by adding a push-up when you are on the ground.
- Squat jumps. This power move helps you build endurance, speed, and explosiveness. It is a transcendent exercise for interval training.
- Plank jacks. This move is a combination of cardio and core-strengthening exercises. It helps you build stability and promotes aerobic fitness.
- Single-leg deadlift. This exercise improves your balance and works your leg muscles at the same time. Add it to your interval training after some fast-paced activities and focus on keeping your back straight.
- Stationary run. Increase lung capacity and boost cardiovascular function with this move. Besides good exercise for a home cardio workout, it is also a great way to warm up before running and sprinting.
- Jumping split squats. This move strengthens your lower body and improves your balance while making you more explosive. It works for both aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
Go for a run in your neighborhood
If you're not so fond of exercises and prefer running, you'll manage to fit this into your busy schedule too! You don't need to go to a specific park for your run to get it done fast unless you live very close to one. Warm-up at home and start your run straight from your doorstep.
To get the most out of your activity while running, use earphones and listen to your favorite music or some exciting podcasts! Remember that just 20 minutes of run each day are enough to face the advantages of cardiovascular activity.
You can also integrate the interval technique when running to take your performance to the next level — experiment with intervals of running at a faster pace or sprints, followed by walking or jogging.
Use a bicycle for transportation
If you are used to moving around only by car or public transport, maybe it's time to consider cycling. Riding a bike is a great cardiovascular activity that increases your basal metabolic rate, strengthens your lower body, and improves your balance and coordination.
Choosing a bicycle as primary transportation can help you get your daily cardio dose without spending time on other physical activities. It might seem like a drastic move, but bikes are easy to adapt to and have many advantages over cars.
Bicycles are often faster than cars in urban areas, especially during rush hours. The more you ride, the more ways you'll find to avoid traffic and explore new places. Furthermore, bikes are eco-friendly and cost a lot less to maintain and operate than a car.
If your workplace is too far away from your home and you can't go by bike, you can still use cycling as primary transportation for everything else.
There might be days when you are extremely busy, and you cannot find any time for aerobic activity. On such days, try to move as much as possible.
For example, you can park your car a bit further from your destination; walk the stairs instead of using the elevator; stretch for 5 minutes before going to bed. Small efforts like these teach you that you don't have to be perfect every day but have to make progress.
When you want to adopt a new habit in your life, you should plan your days and become more organized. Schedule your workouts like you schedule your meetings and prioritize them, sticking to the Five P's rule - Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. And stay tuned for more insights on health and productivity!
Learn more in our free ebook:
Did you find the ideas on how to get your daily cardio dose practical enough to try? Then we have fantastic news for you — you can get even more insights on how to boost your daily energy and productivity! Just download our free ebook "How to Increase Your Daily Stamina" and start changing your mindset towards a healthy lifestyle. It includes easy-to-follow suggestions and tips that you can incorporate in your busy life right now to become a better version of yourself.
- American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids (2018)
- The Effects Of Exercise On The Immune System And Stress Hormones In Sportswomen (2005)
- Aerobic Exercise Training Increases Brain Volume in Aging Humans (2006)
- High-Intensity Aerobic Exercise Training Improves the Heart in Health and Disease (2010)
- Efficacy of Aerobic Exercise on Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors (2008)
- Aerobic Exercise Improves Self-Reported Sleep and Quality of Life in Older Adults With Insomnia (2010)
- Exercise and HDL Cholesterol Levels (2020)
- Aerobic High-Intensity Intervals Improve VO2max More Than Moderate Training (2007)