Your body is adaptive. If you walk for 20 minutes every day for cardio, within a few sessions you’ll start to see a decline in the results you get from that 20 minutes of walking. It doesn’t take long before you have to walk 3 miles to get the same results that 1 mile used to get you. This is because your body is designed to adapt to new stresses, but it lowers effectiveness of performing the same cardio over and over again.

The world’s best athletes are constantly adjusting to their body’s ability to adapt by lifting more weight, adjusting the number of sets and reps, and tweaking exercises to keep their body adapting, because that adaptation makes them better. If you’re doing cardio to lose weight, you can learn a lot from these athletes to get leaner. In fact, if your weight loss has plateaued, a little variety might be just the thing you need to get the scale moving again.

Here are 5 ways to switch up your cardio routine and jump-start your results!

1. Interval training

If you haven’t tried interval training, now is the perfect time. Interval training involves short, intense bursts of exercise with less intense moves in between. The beauty of interval training is that your heart rate will stay elevated even during the low-intensity or rest period.

One easy example of interval training is doing 20 seconds of low-intensity exercise and then 20 seconds of  high-intensity exercise, alternating between walking or jogging, and jumping jacks.

During the low-intensity portion, you will jog in place. Do not stop moving completely – you want to allow your heart rate to come down a little bit so you can catch your breath, but it still needs to be elevated. During the high-intensity portion, you’ll be doing jumping jacks as quickly as you can for 20 seconds. Push yourself and you’ll see some amazing results!

2. Jump rope

A jump rope could be your greatest ally when it comes to losing weight. Surprisingly, while you were having fun jumping rope as a kid, you were also staying healthy by burning calories and keeping your cardiovascular system in tip-top shape. But that doesn’t mean that jumping rope is just for kids – boxers and MMA fighters have been using it as a conditioning tool for over 100 years!

Try jumping rope for 1 minute, followed by 30 seconds of rest. Keep alternating for 10 minutes, rest for 2 minutes and then repeat. You can always find new ways to jump rope by varying speed and duration. Have fun!

3. Stairs

While it’s not high tech or cutting edge, an ordinary stairwell could be your ticket to weight loss success, and it is a great way to change up your cardio. Even something as simple as walking up and down a flight of stairs for 20 minutes at a brisk pace is a solid cardio workout. For an added challenge, go two steps at a time.

If you’re really up for a challenge, try Hop Ups!

  • With your feet shoulder-width apart, jump up on stairs with both feet
  • Keep your arms bent at your sides to assist with momentum and balance
  • Hop up a flight of stairs and walk as you descend
  • Repeat 4 times

Like jumping rope, using the stairs has endless possibilities. Use your imagination and vary your speed, the number of stairs you take per step, and how long you exercise for to keep your body adapting.

4. Burpees

It’s likely that you’ve already heard the reputation of this calorie-torching exercise. Burpees work your entire body as you jump, squat, plank, push-up, and repeat. And they’re versatile, as you require neither a lot of time nor equipment. Try doing 50 burpees to start, with a 10 burpees/rest 15 seconds rest tempo repeated for a total of 5 sets.

5. Circuit training

Circuit training is basically aerobic weight training. These circuits develop a well-balanced mix of cardiovascular conditioning and strength conditioning, and they burn a ton of calories in the process!

To do this, set up a number of stations with a variety of exercises that work the entire body, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, chin-ups, arm curls, shoulder presses, and calf raises. You can even do this at home using everyday items from around the house as weight or your own bodyweight for exercises like squats and lunges.

Do each exercise continuously for a specified time interval such as 1 minute at each station, and go through the cycle 1 to 3 times.

Mix it up! Throw in a mix of all 5 of the above throughout the week or month and your body will continuously work to adapt to your new routine while burning more calories along the way!

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