Research has proven that regular exercise can help you live a longer, healthier life. In fact, according to Harvard Health Publishing, people who are overweight can potentially live as much as four more years by simply increasing their leisure activities. If they’re inclined to achieve a weight that’s healthy—and stick with it—while keeping an active lifestyle? Well, they may increase their lifespan by seven years or more. If you want to add years to your life, keep reading on to learn more.
The highest benefit to help increase longevity, research says, is extreme aerobic exercise—most especially in individuals 70 years of age and up. Does this sound like a great plan to you? If so, listen up. Eat This, Not That! spoke with Gary Gianetti, a personal trainer on Fyt, the nation’s largest personal training service that makes fitness under the expert guidance of an in-person or virtual, certified fitness professional convenient and accessible for everyone. Gianetti shares with us the absolute best cardio exercises that will add years to your life. Try them out and start living a longer, fit life today. And next up, be sure to check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.
According to Gianetti, “Interval running is a great way to obtain many health benefits of cardio. With interval running, you can be time efficient and continue to burn calories all day long.”
He suggests warming up prior to starting the interval. You can do this by performing a light jog for five to 10 minutes. Once you’ve completed your warm-up, begin these intervals with a 20-second run, followed by a 40-second jog. The interval should be repeated six times.
“When you get more comfortable with cardio, you can challenge yourself more by increasing the time you run (for example, 30 seconds running and 30 seconds jogging) or adding an incline,” Gianetti says. “It’s a great way to get the heart pumping and oxygen flowing throughout the entire body.”
“Cycling is another fantastic exercise to add to your cardiovascular movements,” Gianetti tells us, adding, “The exercise is low-impact, which means it won’t be so harsh on your joints but will still provide fantastic benefits.”
Because cycling is a low-impact workout, it can also decrease your chance of getting injured, which is great news. Gianetti recommends doing intervals on a stationary bike. Like interval running, he suggests performing a low resistance warm-up for 10 minutes. Then, increase the resistance “so that your exertion level is six out of 10.” Pedal for 20 seconds, then decrease the resistance for 40 seconds. Repeat this two times with six intervals, Gianetti instructs.
So many excellent cardiovascular benefits are achieved from swimming. Gianetti recommends swimming for anyone who has access to a pool.
“It’s a low-impact form of cardio, so your joints will thank you after! In addition, it’s extremely versatile as there are many strokes to choose from that’ll work out different muscle groups,” he explains, adding, “It’s one of the best ways to perform cardio while toning your entire body.”
He suggests starting this water workout with a stroke that feels most comfortable to you. Then, begin swimming from your end of the pool to the other side for a total of 15 minutes. When you begin to feel more comfortable with the water, Gianetti recommends switching your strokes and increasing the time of each swim.
Hiking is another form of physical activity that provides some pretty awesome cardiovascular benefits. You’re getting some fresh air, too, from being outdoors!
According to Gianetti, “Indoor cardio can feel stagnant at times, so I believe incorporating an outdoor hike whenever you can is a great way to feel re-inspired about your cardio habits.” He encourages an easy to moderate hike on off days, in between strength training days. You can begin your hike on flat ground for a minimum of 30 minutes. When you feel familiar with the exercise, add in more hills and increase the time to add some challenge to your hike.
Professional tip from Gianetti? “I tell my clients to perform cardiovascular exercise for at least 30 to 45 minutes a day. An excellent tool to use to make sure you’re at the right intensity is the talk test.” He also says, “An exertion level is around six out of 10, and a good way to measure that is by being able to say short phrases while performing cardio.”
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