30-Day Cardio Challenge

Here are a few scary statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack every year. About 600,000 people die from heart disease in the United States each year—that's 1 out of 4 deaths. And heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

The good news, almost all risk factors associated with heart disease are lifestyle related. That means eating, moving and thinking right can literally add years to your life.

How? Cardiovascular-interval training is one excellent way to strengthen your ticker. Cardio intervals are short bursts of intense exercise that gets your heart pumping, lungs working and body moving.

MoreHow to Find Your Target Heart Rate Training Zone

The five exercises listed below not only get your heart rate up, but they also strengthen muscles from head to toe.

Bust through any fitness plateau and keep your heart ticking strong with this month-long challenge.

How To Do The 30-Day Cardio Challenge

At the end of your regular exercise routine, add at least one set of each of the following exercises. Aim for at least 30 seconds per exercise for week one and increase by at least 15 seconds each week. Time your intervals and record them on your tracker.

  • Burpees
  • Bicycle Crunches
  • Jump Squats
  • Ski Jumps
  • Mountain Climbers

If you don't have a regular routine or are short on time, do these moves as a quick circuit. Make sure to do an easy warm up for 5 to 10 minutes (walk, run, bike) and cool down for about five minutes with some easy stretching. These five exercises are body weight movements, so you have lots of control over the intensity of each move.

Watch this quick video for exercise instructions and modifications.

Note: Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

More: Infographic: A 30-Minute Bodyweight Workout

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