By Juliane Morris
It seems a good time of year to encourage us all that loving our hearts over the course of our lifetimes helps us live longer and better as we stay in shape or improve the shape we’re in! Let’s look at some relatively gentle cardio-activating exercises that you can do at home, when traveling or at the gym. Adding these lower impact and easy cardio exercises may be much more effective than you think, and you can work your way up incrementally over time! Consult your doctor before you begin a significantly different sort of exercise, and warm up your muscles before you start.
- With your core engaged, lift one knee to a comfortable height while raising the right-angled hand on the opposite side.
- In a smooth motion, transition from the position to bring the lifted knee to the side of the body, placing the foot on the ground in a slight bend and side lunge.
- Return to standing position.
- Repeat steps 1, 2, and 3 with the other leg and arm. (Try 6-10 reps.)
Hip Swish Rhythm
- With one foot in front of the other, and elbows bent, swing arms back and forth, frontward and backward while swinging hips side to side for 30-90 seconds. Feet and legs do not change position.
- Alternate feet positions, and repeat step 1 for 30-90 seconds. Add weights as desired.
Gentle Skippin’ to Your Lou
- With a preferably imaginary jump rope and with your core engaged, alternate between the balls of your feet in rhythmic motion, and circling hands with elbows around waist height, pretend like you’re skipping rope.
- Try for one minute, and increase time as comfortable.
Slow-town Drop and Rise
- On your back on the floor and with your core engaged, and keeping lower back pressed into the floor, inhale over 4-5 seconds, slowly lifting both straightened legs perpendicular to the ground.
- Exhale over 5-7 seconds, slowly lowering legs back to floor.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2. (Try 6-10 reps.) You can place an exercise ball or throw pillow between your feet for added control.