Cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise requires you to move your body in repetitive motions. Not only does this burn calories, it also strengthens your heart and lungs, reduces your disease risk, and can reduce anxiety and depression. The best indoor cardio exercises depend on your personal preference. All forms of cardio exercise are beneficial as long as you do them on a regular basis.
The treadmill is an effective indoor cardiovascular machine that lets you walk or run without having to worry about weather or terrain. If you are just starting out, it is best to walk, and gradually increase your intensity as you get into better shape. Treadmills come with speed and incline adjustments to make your workouts more challenging. You can also choose among several workout programs that are built into the machine's computer.
An elliptical machine is commonly referred to as a cross trainer. This type of exercise closely resembles cross-country skiing. To use an elliptical, step onto the foot pedals, grasp the upright handles, and move your arms and legs back and forth in a steady, alternating motion. By using your upper and lower body at the same time, you work a high amount of muscle fiber. The glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, back and deltoids all get worked simultaneously. This allows you to tone your muscles while you burn calories. You can adjust your incline and resistance in a similar fashion to the treadmill.
Biking is not just for hills and roads. There are two types of bikes to choose from indoors: upright and recumbent. Both are low-impact and cause you to burn calories while working your lower body muscles. The upright stationary bike is designed like a regular street bike. The recumbent bike has a bucket seat with a back rest, and the pedals are out in front of your body. According to the Spine Health website, the reclined position of the recumbent bike is best for people with lower back pain.
Rowing is a full body exercise like elliptical training. Instead of sitting in a boat, you sit on the rowing machine's movable chair and glide back and forth while pulling a handle toward your chest. This type of exercise primarily works your glutes, quadriceps, latissimus dorsi and biceps while burning calories. The lats are the large muscles that give your back a "V" shape.
Stair steppers and stair climbers are low-impact machines, and both work the muscles in your lower body. The stepper has pedals that move up and down as you perform a stair stepping motion. The stair climber has a small, revolving staircase that you continually walk up. When using either machine, keep your shoulders lifted and eyes looking forward. Do not lean on the handrails, as this will reduce your workload.