5 Effective Workouts That Won’t Leave You Gasping for Air
Intimidated by the current trend of high-intensity workouts? While high-exertion exercises certainly have their health benefits, low-intensity cardio puts less stress on your heart and other organs while still improving your aerobic fitness levels and burning fat. The key is going at a pace you can stick to for about 30 minutes (start out with a shorter amount of time if you’re a beginner). And the best part is how many options there are.
Try any of these moderate-intensity workouts and see how easy they are to add to your routine.
- Power walking: This is one of the easiest activities to do if you want to keep your weight under control. By exaggerating the movements of your arms and hips, you work more muscles than you would walking normally. Keep a brisk pace of around 4.5 mph (see how fast this in on a treadmill so you have an idea) and you’ll burn around 200 calories in 30 minutes.
- Water aerobics: Exercising in a pool is great for building strength because it takes extra effort to move your body through the water. It’s also good for cardiovascular endurance—and because the movements are zero-impact, it’s easy on your joints. Try out different varieties of water aerobics, like aqua jogging and flutter kicking, or sign up for a class and turn it into a fun social activity.
- Indoor cycling: Exercise bikes are great for anyone, even if you’re just getting back into working out, have limited mobility or are overweight. This activity is easier on your back, hips, knees and ankles than other workouts—even walking.
- Yoga: Don’t underestimate how many benefits you can get from doing yoga. The stretches and poses are ideal for improving your flexibility, range of motion and balance while strengthening your core and other major muscle groups. It can also reduce anxiety, stress and depression as well as lower your risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
- Swimming: Doing laps in a pool is a great low-impact workout because it puts very little stress on your joints (you are weightless there, after all). That’s one reason why it’s so good for those with arthritis or back pain. And on top of helping you burn calories and get stronger, swimming can help lower bad cholesterol levels and improve your blood sugar.
For anyone 65 or older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio in every week, and in two of those workouts you should make sure you’re strengthening your muscles, too. Boost that to 300 minutes (five hours a week) for the most health benefits. Looking for somewhere to start? Read how one Blue Cross member got back into an activity they love while making friends along the way through the SilverSneakers program.
Photo credit: PBC Parks and Recreation
Medicare Plus Blue℠ and BCN Advantage℠ are PPO, HMO-POS and HMO plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue and BCN Advantage depends on contract renewal.
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