If you’ve ever jumped over a puddle, lifted a box, or twisted your torso while placing something heavy on a shelf, congratulations—you’ve done functional cardio exercises! Not only does this type of training enhance your overall fitness, but it also boosts your cardiovascular health. Learn why cardio is vital for your heart and the functional workouts that can help protect your ticker for the long haul.
The Beat Goes On
Many people associate cardio with weight loss, and while this type of workout definitely helps you drop a few pounds, one of its most important benefits is an increase in cardiovascular fitness.
A good sweat session strengthens the muscles of your heart, which supports its ability to pump oxygenated blood to the rest of your body. It also causes your capillaries to dilate, enabling the lymphatic system to eliminate waste. Additionally, cardio lowers your risk of coronary heart disease by lowering your blood pressure and triglyceride levels and raising good cholesterol like high-density lipoproteins (HDL).
Of course, if you currently have heart disease or cardiovascular issues, ask your doctor about which exercises are safe to do. There are great lower-intensity exercises, like walking, which can increase your heart rate without risk.
Blood-Pumping Functional Cardio Exercises
Rather than isolating a single muscle group, functional cardio exercises mimic everyday functions and make them more efficient. They also focus on your whole body working together to perform dynamic movements. For example, pull-ups would be the functional version of a traditional exercise like a bicep curl. Unlike a bicep curl using a free weight or gym equipment, a pull-up engages multiple muscle groups. Here are a few functional workouts that you can perform in the gym or at home:
- Plank with rotation works the core, glutes, shoulders, back, and hips.
- Turkish get-up works the chest, core, hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, arms, and mid-back.
- Sled pull/push works the calves, glutes, shoulders, arms, mid-back, chest, hamstrings, and quads.
- Mountain climbers work the core, chest, arms, shoulders, and quads.
There are countless functional, full-body exercises to choose from, but the ones we’ve listed demonstrate how, in a single movement, you can engage multiple muscle groups to build endurance and agility.
Hit the Gym and Conditioning Classes
At Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club, our members can attend group conditioning classes to get their functional cardio fix. Specifically, our Boot Camp and Total Body Conditioning class incorporate exercises like plyo box jumps and battle ropes to increase balance, posture awareness, muscular endurance, and agility.
Of course, be sure to hydrate, stretch, and pace yourself to prevent injury or dehydration. You don’t want to burn out before you reap the cardiovascular health rewards!
Get Started on Functional Training Exercises With Our Promo
Doing your functional training exercises in a gym can motivate you and provide access to supportive amenities like personal trainers, group classes, exercise equipment, and more. Plus, we’re offering one month from when you join now. Contact Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club today to learn more about this exciting promotion!