08 May 2005

How to do a cardio combo

Getting bored with running, or cycling? Try a cardio combo.

If you need to get your heart rate going to get fit, any cardio exercise like running, walking, cycling, rowing, or step-ups will do.

The trick of combining more than one cardio exercise is to get the momentum going. Your cardio routine should consist of warming up, pushing yourself quite a bit, and cooling down. If you implement these basics into your cardio-combo, you may kick-off with any type of cardiovascular exercise, in any order, as long as you get your heart rate to at least 60 - 80% of your maximum target heart rate (THR).

A typical cardio-combo may include two or more of the following exercises:

  • brisk walking outdoors, hiking briskly outdoors, or walking on a treadmill
  • running outdoors or on a treadmill
  • cycling outdoors or on an exercise bike
  • rowing outdoors or indoors on a rowing machine
  • swimming
  • step-ups
  • climbing stairs or using the stair climber in a gym
  • using the ski-walking machine

It is important to do all these exercises correctly. Some principles apply to all these exercises:

  • No slumping
  • Always keep your stomach muscles taut as if you try to pull the skin below your belly button away from your pants.
  • Keep your back as straight as possible. Never arch your back. Contract the muscles between your shoulders to draw your shoulder blades down and towards to the midline of your back.
  • Using your abdominal muscles will give you the feeling of "freeing up your legs". Aim for this feeling.
  • If you do a cardio combo, don't waste time between the different cardiovascular exercises. Don't linger between the different exercises - you need to keep your pulse rate between 60 - 80% of your MTHR.

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