Exercise is the fountain of youth. It can be fun and make you feel fantastic, with activities that work for you. Try these five cardio workouts for women.
Cardio workouts for women don’t need to involve machinery or barbells, if those aren’t your thing. The best approach is to find activities and an environment you enjoy — anything that gets you moving and you’ll do at least twice a week.
Exercises that use different parts of your body will give you more bang for your time. So you won’t worry about sweating, bring a change of clothes if you’re out, and build in time to shower and change. You also don’t need to worry that building your muscles will make you look like a man. You’re a woman. You’ll look like a stronger woman, not a man.
If you don’t like gyms, no worries — you can do the five routines below in a park or at home.
1. Lateral toe taps. Place an object like a kettlebell between your feet. Start by putting your right foot on top of the object, with your weight entirely on your left foot. Then quickly switch your weight to your right foot and lightly tap your left foot on the object. That’s one rep. Repeat for 8 reps, rest, and then start again. Aim for 6 sets. This exercise improves your balance and loosens up your hips while making your heart pump faster.
2. Skip and walk and run. Did you love skipping as a girl? There are good reasons to skip as a grownup, too, according to the website iSkip. One study found that skipping burns 20 percent more calories and gives you more of an aerobic boost than running at the same speed for the same amount of time. It is also gentler on your knees. You might build skipping into an interval workout. One 69-year old, for example, began training for a half marathon by skipping for 30 seconds, running for 30 seconds, and walking for 30 seconds. Choose your distance and aim to cut your time.
3. Jump rope. While you’re skipping, remember the other activity that came easily as a girl. Jump rope is a natural addition to all cardio workouts for women. You’ll burn about 220 calories in 20 minutes. And you can take a jump rope with you when you travel.
Jump only high enough to clear the rope and try to land softly. Turn the rope with just your wrist. You can start in the usual pattern and then experiment by jumping forward and backward. Or try jumping on one foot, or alternating feet. Aim to jump rope for at least 20 seconds before you rest, and repeat 6 to 8 times. Your heart rate will go up quickly, and you’ll help your hips and knees stay mobile.
4. Frog jumps. Place a resistance band below your knees, with your feet wider than your hips and turned out. Next, squat so you can put your hands on the ground between your legs. Don’t drop your chest or chin. Next, you’ll spring up from your squatting legs and throw your arms up in the air, reaching as high as you can. Allow your arms to fall as you land in the frog squat again. That’s one rep. Repeat for 8 reps, rest and then start again. Aim for at least 6 sets. Don’t choose frog jumps if you have knee trouble, but they will help you keep your hips, knees, and ankles strong and mobile.
5. Stairs. Alternate 1 to 2 laps up and down stairs with an exercise like lateral toe taps, jumping rope, frog jumps, or jumping jacks. To make your stairs a high-intensity workout, run or walk up as fast as you can, and then down to recover, but keep this up for at least 10 minutes.
The stronger you are, the easier it is to move. Running around after grandkids is fun when you’ve been doing frog jumps and know your legs are strong. As you build up your heart and other muscles, you’ll notice that you’ll be more attracted to sports and outdoor activities like hiking and swimming. If you’re new to exercise, you’ll probably see results within a month
April 12, 2019
Janet O’Dell, RN