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Cardio is it all about running

Cardio is it all about running

We are in this strange time of lockdown, where gyms are all shut but we are allowed out for 1 hour a day at least to exercise. In this time many people are going out running, this is ok if 1/ you enjoy running or 2/ if you are actually able to run, but what happens if you don’t like running or cant run, maybe because of an injury or other medical/health reason, how do you build your cardio strength then, even if you are able to run, but haven’t done it for a while or ever before (except maybe running for a bus or train), you will need to start slow and steady to remain injury free at least.

So lets start with looking at variations on running, that you can do to stay within your abilities and injury free. When I started out as a personal trainer I used to run with some of my clients, some had never run before and some had limited abilities. You can start with walking, briskly at first then add a load (in the way of a back pack or similar) of some kind to increase your heart rate, walking up hills is also a great way to stress the cardiovascular systems, this is a great way to start improving your fitness (again only if you are able, I suffer with sciatica and walking any distance can be very painful for me).

Moving on form walking is some sort of run/walk type exercise, when I lived in Portugal I would often take clients along the “Paradoun”, the sea wall/path, it was nice and flat with relatively good pathing and along the path where well spaced benches and well spaced street lamps, depending on ones fitness we would run a lamppost to lamppost then walk one and so on, as fitness increased we would run 2 and walk 1 and so on, you could vary this by increasing the run distances and or reducing the walk spaces, alternatively you could add in some sort of fartlek training where you would say, sprint 1, jog 1 then walk 2, then jog 3, walk 1 and sprint 2.

However if you cant run or walk for what ever reason, whether its medical, physical or you just want a break from running there are many things you can do in your own garden or even in the house with very little kit.

In the gym we teach classes that are designed to get your heart rate up and your lungs working hard, sometimes with equipment and sometimes without, outside of the gym with no specialist equipment you can even as earlier use a back pack filled with weight to increase intensity levels. A garden step or bottom rung of a staircase can act as a step, if you don’t have stairs, or a step you could maybe use a low stall.

HiiT training is a great way to increase your anaerobic capacity which in turn will increase aerobic capacity too (but not at the same level as base aerobic work). Hiit for those unfamiliar with it means High Intensity interval training, so a circuit style workout would work well as long as the rest periods where low and the intensity of the work pace was high enough.

Many of the workouts I have been doing at home have been HiiT workouts, 1 of which is on the battling ropes (a long rope looped around a fixed object and swung in various ways) and for this we use a method of HiiT, called TABATA this is short intervals of 20 seconds with only a 10 second rext period done for 8 Tabatas (the workout is short so the intensity needs to be high for this to work well), other workouts have included various intervals of kettlebell swings, burpees, mountain climbers, step ups, even press ups can work (plyo exercises work well too… plyo is explosive moving and jumping exercises).

I have posted a few workouts and videos on my facebook group “#trainwithpaul personal training group” but I will post up a blog post with some routines in with and without equipment.

If you have access to a bicycle then cyclings a great cardio workout, I used to do Time Trials and Triathlons as well as raced mountain bikes all are great ways to keep fit and you don’t really need a lot of time, find a steep(ish) hill sprint up cruise back down and repeat, a great exercise.

Skipping is another great exercise and works very well with either a circuit session or just on its own as an interval session, boxers and crossfitters use skipping a lot to get and keep fit.

So is cardio all about running, no, do it if you like it, but its not necessary to get fit or keep fit during lockdown

This is a clip taken from my old gym in Portugal

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