Try this set of 6 standing exercises to build strength and improve your cardiovascular health.
No matter your fitness goal, getting your heart pumping should be part of the equation. That's because cardio exercise doesn't just strengthen your heart. It's vital for healthy blood flow through your whole body, including your brain, lungs, digestive system, and all your muscles.
First, we'll move through a set of 6 exercises to help you nail down proper form, and in the second set we'll repeat the moves. Feel free to modify these exercises to increase or decrease the intensity to fit your fitness level and comfort. All you need is some open floor space, water and a towel if you want it. If you'd like support during exercises, feel free to use a wall, chair, or counter.
Double Step, Tap Front-Side-Back
Take two steps to the right, then tap your left foot to the front, the side, and to the back. Then come back to center and take two steps to the left. With your right foot, tap to the front, side and back. As you alternate from side to side, use your arms to propel your body. This set of moves helps to improve coordination and balance.
Lateral Pull Down
From a standing position, extend your arms above your head, reaching toward to the sky (or ceiling). Make gentle fists with your hands and pull your arms down with control, bringing your elbows toward your hips. Repeat. Remember to keep your belly button pulled in, chest tall and knees slightly bent.
Low Jack, Reach Across Body
Stand tall with your hands on your hips. Alternate stepping side to side (step right foot out, then back in, step left foot out, then back in). Repeat for 30 - 60 seconds, depending on your comfort and fitness level.
A variation of this exercise: Release arms from the hips and coordinate with your steps to extend your arms forward, palms facing the front of the room. As you step your right foot out to the side, your right arm pushes to the front of the room. Then repeat on the left side.
Stand with your chest up, spine tall and knees slightly bent. Relax your arms down in front of your body, hands in gentle fists with thumbs touching. Pull your hands up toward your shoulders. This is the Upright Row. Then, release your arms back down. Repeat this move for 30 - 60 seconds. Take this time to focus on controlling your breathing.
The Skater is a cardio move, so make sure you have some clear space and remember to go at your own pace. Alternate stepping side to side, bending your knees, and using your arms to propel yourself to each side. You can push off each step for a more intense cardio move. This should feel like you're roller skating in place.
Elbow Raise, Push-Pull-Release
Start with arms relaxed to the sides. Bend your elbows and lift them to shoulder height. Push your arms out to the front of the room, then pull back toward your chest and gently release. This move helps to build strength in your shoulders and upper back while improving posture.
Repeat Set 1!
Now that you're familiar with the exercises, you can adjust to make them easier or harder depending on your fitness level. Feel free to add a little more movement and power to the routine for a more intense workout. Or, you can slow it down and decrease the range of motion for a beginner-level routine. It's your workout, make it work for you and you'll enjoy it more.
Cardio workouts are heart-healthy routines that can help boost your energy, metabolism and even your mood. Even five or 10 minutes of physical activity has real health benefits, according to the latest fitness guidelines. That’s right, five or 10 minutes! Add these quick exercises to your routine and feel the benefits.
Need more personalized guidance about what's safe for you? Your doctor can help, especially if you have a chronic condition or take any medications.
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