If you’re looking to prolong your life, lose weight, and live a healthier and happier life, then consider participating in one or more of the best five sports for cardio fitness. Research indicates that cardiovascular exercises can slow the aging process, fight diseases, and improve your mental and physical wellbeing. The optimal routine involves 15 to 50 minutes of exercise, three to five times per week, while burning about 2,000 calories. Whether you decide to run, cycle, swim, row, or dance, you can reap plenty of benefits by involving yourself in these sports.
Running or Jogging
By running or jogging at 60% to 80% of your target heart rate, you can obtain the most optimal benefits during your workout. To calculate your target heart rate, subtract your age from 220, and then multiply the result by the desired percentage of target heart rate. It’s important to stretch and warm up for five to ten minutes before running, and cool down and stretch after running to prevent injury. If running or jogging places excessive strain on your knees, consider low impact activities, such as cycling, swimming, or rowing instead of running.
Though you won’t turn into Lance Armstrong overnight, you can reap plenty of benefits by hitting the streets or the trails with your bike. If you’d rather not navigate outdoor hazards, you can also try peddling a stationary bike at your nearby gym. Similar to when you run, it’s important to stretch before and after a cycling workout. By biking at a rigorous pace for an hour, you can burn about 500 calories.
When you swim, you work out every muscle in your body, making it an excellent sport for improving your overall physical fitness level. If you’re new to swimming, consider taking lessons to learn proper form and breathing techniques. Try to workout in a shallow pool with dedicated lanes for running laps, rather than a community pool where people splashing about could interrupt your workout. If the closest pool is far away, or you become bored practicing the same sport every day, try alternating swimming, running, and cycling.
In some areas, such as the Northeast, you can join a local rowing team, and paddle across streams, rivers, and lakes. Rowing provides an excellent upper body workout with cardiovascular benefits. If there aren’t any nearby rowing clubs in your area, or you’re not one to participate in team sports, consider using a rowing machine at your local gym. These machines mimic the movements of rowing across water, giving you an excellent workout.
If you’re not interested in traditional exercises, or if they bore you, consider dancing. Dancing is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your overall cardiovascular fitness, all while having fun. You can take formal dance classes at a local ballet studio, or see if your local gym offers non-traditional styles of dance, such as modern or hip-hop. In large, urban areas, you may be able to find group classes offering multiple different styles, but if there aren’t any nearby classes where you live, you can try purchasing dance exercise videos and working out at home.