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During the fall and winter you may find yourself performing more cardio indoors on a machine. This can be as much an exercise in mental endurance as physical endurance. Try some of these cardio workouts which have been known to make the minutes pass by a little bit faster. They are also great because they will feel like they get a little easier as they go, which prevents you from quitting early. For example’s sake, I am going to describe how to perform these workouts on a treadmill, but the workout plan can be applied to other machines such as the stairmaster, the bike, or the elliptical if you set the levels accordingly.
1. The ever-easier workout. After a 5- to 10-minute warm-up, set the treadmill on a challenging speed and incline. Every 2 to 3 minutes, lower the incline by 0.5% or 1%, and every other time you lower the incline, increase the m.p.h. by 0.1. This workout will get easier as it goes, but because you are getting progressively fatigued, it will still be a very effective workout.
2. The steady-speed, hilly workout. After a 5- to 10-minute warm-up, set the treadmill on a challenging speed and a slight incline. After 3 minutes, increase the incline but leave the speed alone. After 2 minutes on the higher incline, return to the lower incline for 3 minutes. Every time you tackle the higher incline, strive to keep the ‘hill’ at the same height, but if you have to lower it a little lower it a little as the workout progresses, go ahead. However, be sure to leave the speed alone.
3. Ever-easier flat intervals. After a 5- to 10-minute warm-up, set the treadmill to a moderate pace walk or jog and 0% incline. Spend 2 minutes on this level. Then set the speed to a sprint pace and sustain that for one minute. Alternate 2 minutes of moderate pace with 1 minute of sprinting, but each time you sprint lower the speed by 0.1 m.p.h. Finish with a 5-minute cool down at a moderate pace.
4. Ever-easier hill intervals. After a 5- to 10-minute warm-up, set the treadmill to a moderate pace walk or jog and 0% incline. Spend 2 minutes on this level. Then increase the speed slightly and increase the incline to as high as you can sustain for 1 minute. Alternate 2 minutes of moderate pace with 1 minute of hill, but every other time you tackle the hill lower the incline by 0.5% grade. Finish with a 5-minute cool down at a moderate pace.
Perform one of these workouts three times per week for 20-40 minutes for best results! Increase your speeds across the board as your fitness level increases.
Click here for more articles by Gina Paulhus
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