Updated: Apr 9
For many people, cardio and strength training are two separate areas of the gym, however, combining the two can have excellent results for your overall fitness or weight loss goals.
Cardio workouts are typically rhythmic activities that raise your heart rate — walking, running, and cycling are very common forms of cardio exercises. The benefits of a good cardio workout are vast, including creating a healthy heart, increasing lung capacity, improving sleep, lowering your risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, and of course, it helps burn fat (among many other things).
Strength training helps make you stronger and fitter. This form of exercise uses resistance or weights to contract your muscles against the resisting force. As we age our lean muscle mass can deteriorate at a rate of 3 to 5 per cent each year, however, studies have shown that just 30 minutes of resistance training twice a week can improve functional performance as well as bone density and structure. Strength training can also help keep the weight off, boost your energy and develop better body mechanics.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends that adults complete at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, in sessions of 10-minutes or more. The good news is you don’t have to feel trapped on the treadmill to get your heart rate up.
Here’s a workout you can do at home that combines cardio and strength training:
Perform as a circuit 3-4 times through performing each number of repetitions stated beside each exercise. Rest at the end of the circuit for 30-seconds and repeat. Your weights should be of moderate intensity.
Kettlebell Swing 15 repetitions
Push-Ups 15 repetitions
Jump Squat 15 repetitions
Plank Walk 10 repetitions each side
Squat with Single-Arm Overhead Press 10 repetitions each side
Make sure you warm up before doing any workout. Here’s the classic Fit for Self warm-up routine.
Stand tall holding a kettlebell with both hands. Keep arms long and loose while keeping your chest forward and engaging your core. Soften knees, shift bodyweight into heels, and lower butt back and down toward the wall behind you. Driving through heels, explode through hips to send weight swinging upward from quads. Bring the kettlebell overhead to a bottom-up position, at this point lock in your core to control the bell, and pause for 1 second. Achieving this finish position requires you to snap your hips through, contracting your core while squeezing glutes. As the kettlebell begins to descend, let the weight do the work as you ready your body for the next rep. Shift weight back into heels while hinging at the hips and loading both the hamstrings and glutes. Receive the weight, allowing the kettlebell to ride back between legs. As it makes the transition from backward to forward, drive through the heels *you can alter this exercise to bring the bell only up to chest/shoulder height.
Lie face down on the floor with your palms at shoulder level, fingers pointing forward. Push yourself up until your body weight rests only on your palms and toes. Lower yourself and repeat. To accent the chest, place your hands wider than shoulder-width; to target more of the triceps, bring your hands close together with thumbs and index fingers touching.
Stand in a regular squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower yourself down to a squat position dropping a little deeper than usual to reap the benefits of the kinetic energy from the floor. Drive your feet down into the floor and explode back up to full extension, jumping as high as you can get.
Land all the way back down to full absorption getting your buttocks low. Practice landing as quietly as possible!
Start in a plank position with arms at full extension, hands directly under shoulders and core braced. Move right arm out to the right and follow with the right leg as though walking sideways across the floor. Walk side to side by following with the left arm and left leg. Keep the hips level throughout the movement as though a ball is sitting in the small of your back and you do not want it to roll off. Move from side to side several times to complete a set.
Squat with Single-Arm Overhead Press
Hold a kettlebell in one hand by placing hand palm-up through the handle, hold the bell at ear level of your right shoulder. Stand in a regular squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. As you squat down, press the bell straight up over your shoulder to full arm's length. Take a deep breath in and lower down returning to start position. Complete your repetitions on one side and then change sides to complete a set.