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A lot of people think that gym machines are the best place to get their cardio in, but we couldn't disagree more.
Aside from the fact that you have to pay a monthly fee to access the equipment (unlike when you utilize your own bodyweight), the movement patterns that you find on most ellipticals and treadmill varieties is really not that functional and definitely not at all varied. Think about the number of strides you might put in on 60 minutes of work on one kind of elliptical or another. Think of how many thousands of completely redundant repetitions that you're doing over the course of that hour - in addition, they're often movements that have little to no functional purpose when it comes to everyday living activities. So you end up forcing strange and minimally useful ranges of motion over, and over, and over again.
On top of all of that, those machines are incredibly easy to "cheat" on, or to tune out of your workout completely. We don't have gym memberships anymore but when we did, I would always notice many people spending an hour or more on a machine, often watching tv, reading a book or magazine. They would move along slowly, not paying attention to their form, not pushing themselves, never breaking even the slightest hint of a sweat, and often just letting the equipment move them instead of the other way around. Don't get me wrong - any activity is way better than no activity, and I'm not judging anyone, it’s just that there’s a much easier and more effective way to go about it, and I wish more people would try it, embrace it, and benefit from it. The problem arises when this person climbs off of the gym equipment and the screen reads that they've just burned 800 calories in 80 minutes, when in reality they've truly worked very few muscles, in very few ways, and they've likely only burned 30-70% as many calories as the screen shows, and definitely haven’t worked hard enough to cause the metabolic disturbance that HIIT does, or built the metabolism boosting muscle that strength training does. They've also not adequately challenged their coordination, balance, agility, or proprioception (the absolutely vital sense of where your limbs are in relation to your own body, and your environment).
Now that I’ve rambled on for ages, I’ll just jump to the point and encourage you to at least supplement your machine based workouts with bodyweight ones. Not only will your movements be much more varied, they’re also going to build control over your own body, your balance, strength, range of motion, and coordination. It often looks a little stranger and more awkward than the stuff based on a typical health club apparatus, but if it’s far more effective & healthy for your body than the other option, who cares!
Here’s the rundown on this at home cardio workout:
1 Side Step Jacks
2 Walkdown Backbows
3 2 Knee Pulls
4 Lunge + Rotation
5 2 Jumping Jacks + Lateral Jumps
6 Push Up + Roll
7 4 Switchfoots + Squat
8 Plank Jacks + Lifts
9 Lunge + Bow
10 Hip Raises
11 Supine Plank Reach
12 Squat + Side Lifts
This is definitely one of our easier cardiovascular workout videos, if you want something more challenging, make sure and check these out:
If you're looking for something easier and/or lower impact, we've got that too:
Make sure and drink lots of water after this workout, eat well for a strong healthy body, and take care of yourself!