Cardiovascular fitness is essential for living a long, independent, and healthy life. For cardio fitness, you have to do cardio exercises such as running. However, many people can’t do running since it puts lots of strain on their knees. Therefore, we recommend the following three workouts other than running that will get your heart and lungs pumping and improve cardiovascular fitness without equipment. You don’t have to do all three workouts in a week: For optimum results, choose one or two and stick with them for 4 to 6 weeks before switching to another workout.

Cardiovascular Fitness Without Using Equipment Other Than Running

Loaded Pack Walks

Walk around your neighborhood or go for hikes with a loaded backpack. It’s a great cardio exercise option for those who despise running. And only 15 to 60 minutes of the loaded pack walk will do the job. For this workout, put on the weighted pack or vest with an additional one to two pounds added each week. I prefer this workout because I can leave for my walk right from home or head to a local park.

Useful Tips:

Begin with a weighted pack of about five to ten percent of your body weight and increase the load by 5-10 percent each week. Gradually increasing the pack load will minimize injury risk and help build a strong strength foundation. Like any strength training, incrementally exposing your body to heavier weights will improve your muscular strength and endurance. In addition, it will make you feel more confident about carrying heavier loads.

Tempo Training

This workout style uses power intervals to improve endurance by jacking up intensity followed by a short interval of a slower pace to recover. The duration of the intensity intervals is gradually increased each week. It should be like a brisk hike than a run or jog. Build up week by week the working interval intensity slightly. Decrease the intensity if you can’t speak in short sentences during the power intervals.

For the recovery intervals, slow the pace but keep moving. An example is to go for one minute at the recovery pace and then move into the power interval. Increase the working interval by 30 seconds every week but keep the recovery duration at one minute. Begin with 15 or more minutes performing the intervals as stated below according to your fitness level.

Week 1: 1-minute intensity interval, 1-minute recovery walk

Week 2: One-and-a-half-minute intensity interval, 1-minute recovery walk

Week 3: 2-minute intensity interval, 1-minute recovery walk

Week 4: Two-and-a-half-minute intensity interval, 1-minute recovery walk

Stair Intervals

Though stairs are a simple exercise, you need to use proper form to avoid injury to get the most out of this cardio workout. Take each step by placing your entire foot on the stair. Then, press through your heel to engage more of the muscles of and press your legs, hips, and back. Avoid pushing through your toes and taking steps on the balls of your feet.

While going down, take a slow pace to save your stamina for going up. Also, be careful while going down to prevent tripping.

Choose any of the following two stepping patterns.

  • Pattern one: Take one step at a time.
  • Pattern two: While going up, take every other stair, skipping one in between. But while going down, take every stair to avoid stripping.

Try this workout with about 50 steps, roughly a four-story flight of stairs. You might need to find a multistory building or stadium stairs at a local high school for this workout. You can do the following three rounds according to your fitness level. The fitter guys can do more rounds.

Round One

Start by climbing each flight of stairs stepping one foot on each stair as you go up. Maintain a steady pace–you don’t have to rush. Once you reach the top, take a short break to gain control of your breath before coming down. Once you reach the bottom, turn around and start the next round.

Round Two

Take each step on the first flight of stairs (pattern 1). Take every other step on the second flight of stairs (pattern 2). Repeat this pattern for flights three and four. Take a short break until you feel recovered before descending.

Round Three

Take every other step for all the flights. As before, rest until you breathe normally before descending.

About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. HeJust Fitness Hub passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”

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