Spring is the perfect time of year to get outside, enjoy the fresh air, admire the blooming foliage, and get some fun exercise in, all at the same time — especially with the added free time of Spring Break. Here are five fun cardio exercises anyone can enjoy during their time off to reach a weight loss goal or just reap the feel-good benefits of exercising.
1. Go on a walk for a simple exercise to do around the home.
What better way to enjoy the beautiful spring blooms than to take a nice stroll down a nature trail? If you do not have easy access to a trail, don’t worry; you can always walk through your neighborhood and check out the colorful flowers growing just around the corner.
Regardless of the scenery, the important part is to get moving. Grab a friend or family member and start your walk outdoors. With Daylight Savings Time, you have more time before the sun goes down. You might even catch some beautiful sunsets.
Cardiovascular exercise is packed with benefits, like improved heart health, better mood, more quality sleep, and decreased risk of certain diseases. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on most days of the week. Making time for a fun, brisk, 30-minute walk after work could help you achieve that goal.
2. Break out your old bicycle for your health and your environment.
If your bicycle has been collecting dust in the garage all winter, spring is the ideal time to take it for a spin. Biking is a great exercise for staying healthy, and it can get you to your destinations quicker than walking.
If you have the option (and the weather permits), bike to your friend’s house or to the store for a quick errand. Even a short commute to work can be replaced with a bike ride, which benefits fitness and nutrition (you can work off desert before you even eat it!) as well as the environment by reducing air pollutants created by driving.
If you do not have a bicycle but are interested in pursuing this fun activity, there are plenty of options. Check your area for bike rental places. Many will offer a flat charge for the day. You can also find the right bicycle to purchase by popping into a sports store or doing some online research.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, explore pawn shops and thrift stores to find a gently-used bicycle. No matter how you get started, biking can be fun exercise, an alternate mode of transportation, and an opportunity to feel like a kid again!
3. Start a family sports game to take advantage of multiple benefits of exercise.
A ball is all you need to get a fun family sports game going. Soccer can be reimagined in the backyard using cones or sticks to mark off goals on each end of the yard. Dodgeball is also a fun option in which the whole family can get involved.
If you have at least three players, you can play a game of “monkey in the middle” — sometimes called “piggy in the middle” or “keep away.” In this classic children’s game, one player stands between two others, trying to get the ball as the outside players throw it back and forth. Once the middle player intercepts the ball, the thrower must then go to the middle, starting a new round.
4. Create an obstacle course in the backyard out of simple exercises to do at home.
With a little creativity, you can design a fun obstacle course in your own backyard. If you have some extra things handy, like colored cones, a jump rope, or sturdy step stools, you can star in your own, at-home American Ninja Warrior for beginners!
Even if you do not have some of these tools available, the options are endless. For example, sticks can be used to mark course checkpoints, and any object can be jumped over. Here’s an example of an obstacle course you can try:
- Take 6 colorful cones and make a large circle with them.
- On “Go,” skip from the first cone to the second.
- Next, run in a zig-zag pattern to the third cone.
- Have a jump rope ready at the next cone, where you will jump 10 times before going to the next cone.
- Have an object like a plastic plate waiting by the fourth cone, and walk backward to the fifth cone while balancing the plate on your head.
- Bounce a ball while you walk to the sixth cone.
- Finish the course by sprinting back to the starting point.
You can make this more interesting by taking turns and seeing who can complete the course in the fastest time. If you have a lot of players, you can also turn it into a relay race, completing the course in teams. In this approach, take turns and use a timer to see who is fastest, or set up two identical courses side by side to see who finishes first.
5. Opt for an inside cardio circuit to get the benefits of exercise on a rainy day.
Spring is beautiful when the sun is shining, but rainy days are inevitable, too. A little precipitation is no reason to skip the workout. Bring the fun indoors with a quick and easy cardio circuit made of simple exercises to do at home.
Make your own circuit by picking five cardio exercises. Perform them each for one minute with a thirty-second rest between. Repeat the circuit at least three times until you reach thirty minutes of exercise. Here is an example of an indoor cardio circuit:
- Jump overs: Grab a small cone if you have one. If not, use a small household item or your imagination. Stand on one side of the item and jump over it with one foot, then the other. Repeat in the opposite direction, continuing to jump back and forth over the object. For an easier modification, step quickly over the object rather than jumping.
- High knees: Run in place. With each step, alternate lifting your knees up to your chest. For an easier modification, perform this exercise walking in place instead of running.
- Shoulder taps: Start in a high plank position, face toward the ground, balancing on your hands and feet with your arms extended. Your body should create a straight line, and your core should be tight. Tap one shoulder with the opposite hand (i.e., left hand to right shoulder), then repeat with the opposite sides. Continue tapping opposite shoulders in rapid motion while remaining in a high plank. For an easier version, rest on your knees instead of holding full plank position.
- Speed skaters: Sweep your left leg behind you while bringing your left arm across your body. Then, step to the left, bringing your right leg behind you and your right arm across your body. Continue alternating sides, and build up speed as you go.
- Step ups: Find a step in your house, or use a sturdy step stool. Step up with one foot and then the other. Step down one foot at a time. Repeat rapidly.
Get Moving With These Simple Exercises to Do at Home
Whatever approach you decide to take this spring, enjoy the change of seasons with a new exercise goal. Just moving for half an hour most days of the week will show you the benefits of exercise and improvements to your overall health—and you can have fun doing it! Stick to your plan all spring, and you will be well on your way to reaching your weight loss goals. By including healthy meals, you will reap the other benefits of fitness and nutrition!
Contact Us Today
ARcare is your community health clinic in Arkansas, and we care about your health. We also understand the benefits of fitness and nutrition and what an improvement they make to your health. You should always discuss implementing a new exercise program with your doctor before beginning. To schedule a consultation or check up, please contact us today to request an appointment!