Top 10 Effective Ways to Get the Most from Your Cardio Exercise

by Suzanne Hiscock

A cardiovascular (cardio) routine is regular exercise that gets your heart pumping. It helps you lose unwanted body fat, gives you a higher energy level and helps you lose weight. But, unfortunately, like all exercise, you actually have to do the exercise to gain the benefit from it.

Exercise doesn’t have to be on your short list of favorite things to do for you to be able to enjoy it and lose weight at the same time. Follow these 10 tips to help motivate you to move your body! 1.) If your cardio exercise involves something you can’t stand doing, then stop it and do the kind of cardio you do like. Studies have shown that if people don’t enjoy an activity, eventually they’ll cease doing it.

2.) Have a strategy in place - a map that you can follow guiding your way through each week. This plan should tell you when to intensify your workout and suggest ways for you get the most from your cardio exercise. Work with yourself, not against. If you’re not a morning person, setting a clock for five AM isn’t going to make it happen for you.

3.) Boredom has killed more cardio plans, more diets and more fitness goals than any other roadblock to better health. Change your routine around so that you don’t fall into the trap of having a dull routine. Use different activities, vary the equipment you use. If you exercise outside, bring the exercise in - and if you exercise inside, take it outside.

4.) Are you doing it right? Not completely sure if you’re gaining top benefits from the machines you use? Don’t be afraid to ask one of the trainers at your gym.

5.) Nothing can end your cardio workout like an injury. Make sure you warm up before each workout. Take the proper steps to keep your body safe. If you’re running out of doors, buy the best shoes for the job, scope out the area before you choose it. Watch for dogs out of a fence and beware of heavy traffic.

6.) Keep a notebook as a way of logging your cardio exercise. Record when you workout, the weight you lose, how much your BMI has dropped and any milestones you cross. Revisiting success creates the drive to keep going.

7.) Aim for your target heart rate. Your maximum heart rate is figured by taking the number 220 less your age. That gives you a ballpark of where your heart should be during your exercise. Your pulse rate times six is where your range is. Or use the FitWatch target heart rate calculator for your estimated target heart rate zones.

8.) Don’t go it alone.  If possible, set up your cardio exercise to do it with a friend or colleague.  But if you do have a partner and they’re holding you back, you may need to rethink the partnership or head out with them when you need a lighter workout.

9.) To eat or not to eat? Try doing a fasted cardio, early in the morning before eating for a fat-burning boost.  On the other hand, if all you do is fasted cardio, try a cardio workout later in the day, eating a light meal about an hour before your workout.  See if it gives you more energy to work harder or longer. 10). Don’t stick to the same pace. Plodding along doing cardio isn’t too much fun. Challenge yourself with interval training.  After warming up, use different speeds and or different intensities mixed in with cardio at a lower level.  If you’ve got an iPod or mp3 player, I highly recommend Cardio Coach Guided Workouts.  It’s what I use for interval training.

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About the Author

Suzanne is the owner of FitWatch. She's had strong interest in nutrition and exercise for over 20 years, and is an ACE-certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. Back in 2002, she started FitWatch.com because she wanted to help people lose weight by creating helpful tools and calculators. A huge fan of calorie counting, Suzanne created the FitWatch Fitness Tracker to make it easy for people to count their calories.