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These days, doesn’t it seem like everyone wants to get more done, but spend less time doing it? Haven’t we all microwaved dinners to save the time it takes to do real cooking, bought things online to save the time it takes to drive to the store and wait in line, and taken all kinds of similar shortcuts?
If you’re like me, you can’t imagine sipping your morning coffee without checking your email. Maybe you even have the TV news on in the background at the same time. Multitasking like this makes sense because, in the end, what is the one thing we all wish we could have more of? That’s right – time.
Even though we all know we should work out to maintain good health and get rid of stress, many of us have to find a way to fit a daily workout into an already-packed everyday life. When you have an hour to spend at the gym or an extra 30 minutes to get in some cardio, don’t you want to make every second count?
Here are a few ways you can tweak your current cardio workout to burn calories more efficiently. They’ll work for any type of cardio workout.
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1. Speed It Up A Notch
This one’s a no-brainer. Pick up the pace of your workout, even if it’s only by a small amount. Slow and steady may win the race, but it won’t burn the most calories.
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2. Your Upper Body Needs Attention, Too
Typical cardio workouts like stair-climbing, elliptical, biking, and walking are focused mostly on your lower body, but you can burn more calories in the same workout by moving your upper body at the same time as your legs.
If you’re a runner or a walker, pump your arms over your head while you work out, hard and high. If ellipticals are your thing, be sure to grab the one with handles that move. You might even think about changing up your cardio workout by adding an exercise that works your whole body, like a rowing machine. Those additional muscles you’re moving will burn more calories!
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3. Work Out To Fast Music
Do you never seem to feel pumped up before or during a workout? If you want a faster-paced workout, try some fast-paced music!
The Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences conducted a study of the effect of music on workouts. Researchers discovered that when their subjects listened to upbeat music while working out on stationary bicycles, their pedaling speed and their heart rates both increased. The subjects even reported that their workouts didn’t feel as intense as they actually were!
And, not surprisingly, when they listened to slow music, the reverse effect occurred. Pump up your cardio routine with some energetic music!
4. Give Plyometrics A Try
Are you an experienced, intermediate-to-advanced exerciser trying to figure out how to burn even more calories? Plyometrics might be for you.
Plyometrics are intense exercises based around explosive moves like hops and jumps. They increase your heart rate rapidly, which causes your body to burn calories at a higher rate.
These movements also give your fast-twitch muscles a workout and challenge your agility and coordination. This is a whole new, different way to train your body. A workout that presents your body with new challenges usually gets results – and burns more calories.
5. Don’t Overexert Yourself
This idea may not seem to make sense at first, but bear with me.
You know it’s important for your workout to be intense, but have you ever thought about the impact your workout has on how you feel during the rest of the day?
Let’s say your workout consisted of an entire hour of nothing but lunges and sprinting. Sure, it may have burned 600 calories, but if you spent the rest of the day feeling completely exhausted, was the workout really worthwhile?
Although you should push yourself every time you work out, you shouldn’t push yourself so hard that your workouts interfere with other things you have to do by draining away all your energy. Remember, the purpose of working out is to achieve a better quality of life.
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