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Examples of Cardio Exercises

author image Christine St. Laurent
Christine St. Laurent holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from James Madison University. She has worked in hospital, university, sports performance and spa-based fitness and wellness centers as a personal trainer, program leader and group fitness instructor. St. Laurent has also taught college-level courses in exercise science. She is the owner of a personal-training and group-exercise studio in Manchester, Conn.
Examples of Cardio Exercises
A woman lacing up her running shoes. Photo Credit lzf/iStock/Getty Images

Cardio exercises are movements that challenge your heart, lungs and circulatory system. In order to increase your breathing and heart rate, aerobic exercises are those that can be performed repetitively and are rhythmic in nature. Exercises that allow one foot to be on the ground at all times, such as walking, are considered low impact. If both feet are off the ground during an exercise, the movement is a high impact drill.

Get Locomotive

Step 1

Take to the streets. Walking and running are two traditional forms of aerobic exercise. These activities do not require a lot of coordination and can be completed outside or indoors on a treadmill. At your gym, jump on a cardio machine to do some stationary cycling, rowing, stair climbing, or cross-training movements.

Step 2

Make your movements aquatic by exercising in a pool. Swimming is an efficient form of aerobic exercise and gives your joints a break from the impact of running and jumping. If you are not a confident swimmer, you can walk or jog in the water. Select a depth that is at least waist level or use a water belt for deep water drills.

Step 3

Spice up your workouts by mixing in other "locomotive" patterns. Take a break from running on the track and skip a lap. Incorporating side shuffles, gallops, and bounding moves can give your muscles variety. To side shuffle, face sideways and step out with your right foot. Slide your left foot toward your right and repeat across a room or field. The gallop is similar except your body faces forward. Bounding involves leaping movements and can be performed while traveling forward or to the side.

Creative Calisthenics

Step 1

Move in place. While jumping jacks are a popular calisthenic, you can use a little creativity to develop your own drills. Ski jumps involve jumping side-to-side. To perform a scissor jump, start in a split stance and switch your foot position as you jump. Alternate lifting your knees or kicking your legs.

Step 2

Jump rope like you're a kid again. Get the calories burning with a few swings of the rope. Once you master the basic two-foot jump, try different jump roping drills such as ski jumps, high knees, single-foot hops, and double-unders.

Step 3

Dust off your aerobic step platform and break out your favorite drills. Take your intensity up a notch by using the step with your favorite calisthenic moves. You can increase the challenge of each exercise by boosting the speed of your drills or the height of your step.

Step 4

Dance yourself into a sweat. Whether you prefer Latin, country, or hip hop, keeping your feet and body moving provides a heart-pumping exercise session.

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