To maintain your fitness (and to be able to eat without gaining weight) it’s best to shoot for a minimum of 3-4 cardio workouts a week. To be effective, the workouts should be 30 minutes or longer. But – consistency is more important than intensity. If all you have is 10 minutes, then do one of these 10 minute workouts or go for a fast 10 minute walk in the hospital. If you can do three separate 10 minute workouts in a day, it is just as effective (at least for maintenance of fitness) as a 30 minute session.
Some people have incredible discipline about this (and the rest of us hate them.) For mere mortals who basically have to really work at this, you have to have a different strategy….
The first thing you have to do is choose what kind of cardio you want to do. The trick here is feeling like you are playing, not working. Dancing counts… so does jumping rope. You have to look for fun ways to exercise
For many people, music is the difference between feeling like you are playing during a workout vs. working. Use music to create your own “Fartlek” workout. Fartlek workouts are also called “speed play” – the idea is to incorporate random intervals of speed work into your workout so you don’t just plod along at the same rate. One way to do this is to put your music on a random shuffle, or find a good (and free) music source that you can stream. Change your speed and intensity based on the song, or part of the song you are listening to. If the song is slow, decrease your speed (but increase the resistance if you are on a machine). If the song is fast, move with it – increase your effort (e.g sprint if you are running) to keep in time with the music.
Have fun! Go out and play!
Internet music sites:
- http://www.pandora.com– internet radio that lets you design your own radio stations or choose from a large selection
- http://www.folkalley.com– singer songwriters, irish music, bluegrass, etc
- I’m sure there are a lot of other sites… if you have any that you use, comment below or email me.
Information on Fartlek workouts
- How to do a Fartlek workout from Runner’s World: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-263–12081-0,00.html
- Fartlek workouts for cyclists: http://www.training4cyclists.com/fartlek-as-interval-training/