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Get the most from your cardio workouts

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By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay News) -- You've made the decision to meet the 150-minutes-per-week goal of cardio workouts for better health. Now use these tips to make the most of these workouts.

If you're using a machine, like a treadmill or stationary bike, check that you're maintaining proper form. Just as coasting when riding a bike outdoors doesn't provide a workout, resting your upper body on the handles of a machine or slumping on its console means you aren't working as well as you could be. If you're having a hard time staying upright, you may have set the machine at too fast or challenging a setting.

Speaking of machines, resist making one machine in particular your only type of cardio workout. You'll expand your horizons and get some fresh air by running or walking outdoors or taking a swim when weather permits. You might find that being outside makes the workout more interesting and invigorating.

When working out at a gym, add a fun element by creating a cardio fitness circuit, especially if you find yourself getting bored after the first 10 minutes on a machine. Break up your workout into a mini triathlon: 10 minutes on the treadmill, 10 on the bike and 10 in the pool doing laps or water exercises.

Remember that cardio doesn't always have to feel like hard work. Spend a fun evening going dancing with friends or your significant other. It may not seem like it, but if you break into a sweat, you're getting your heart rate up.

Finally, make a plan to regularly try a new form of cardio, not just to stave off boredom, but also to challenge different muscles and add to your overall fitness level.

More information

The American Council on Exercise has tips to help you make the most of cardio workouts.

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