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How to increase cardio?

Updated on December 12, 2013

Lets face it, cardio work outs are not very fun for most people, especially people who have very busy lives and don't have time to get up in the morning and go running or swimming before work.

Here are a few tips that will not require you to spend hours on the treadmill or trail to achieve the results you have been looking for. These tip are effective and you fill find an increase in your cardio, and it will also help you burn those unwanted calories and fat.

An amazing way to increase the intensity of your workouts it so use what is known as an elevation mask. An elevation mask is designed to go over your nose and mouth and is adjustable to simulate different elevations of training. The body needs oxygen, when you are training in a higher altitude, with less oxygen taken in per breath, your body is required to adapt to it. If you are training with an elevation mask and preparing for a marathon for example, you will find that running and even walking without the mask, your body will require less oxygen because the air you will be taking in without the mask is much more dense, and your cardio will increase on an absolutely astronomical level. *Consider trying ALL of the tips found in this article with an elevation mask for extreme results.*

Increase the intensity

So you spend hours on the treadmill and still feel like you are not getting the results you are after. Instead of running on the flat surface of a treadmill, or if you are running on the flat surrounding area nearby your house. Consider, an incline, or running uphill or using the incline function on the treadmill. Running up hill is going to send your heart rate through the roof, and will exponentially increase the calories you burn while running. Some other added benefits to running on an incline or up hill, as you will see, will be stronger and improved leg strength, and you will see that not only your cardio will increase, but your sprint and long distance speeds will increase as well.

Arm movement

When using the treadmill, if you find yourself holding onto the side bars of the machine, try to detach yourself from these bars. Let go and use the arms, pump them back and forth as you run. This will increase the effectiveness of your work out as you will not be reducing your weight by holding onto the bars, and you will increase your heart rate, and in turn, your caloric burn when you are running. So get out there, and pump those arms! If you don' use the treadmill, but find yourself pumping your arms some-what left and right, sort of across your body, stop this, and ensure your arms are going forward and backwards. When you are pumping your arms across your body, the work out becomes less effective than it would be if you were to go forward and backwards.


One word, kettle-bells. Training with kettle-bells is a workout that will increase cardio and strength levels on a phenomenal level. The best way to do this, is to alternate between various periods of going "all out" with your efforts, and periods of low efforts, and then periods of rest. If you can spring 100 meters, with no effort, add a kettle-bell to your sprint. If it becomes a challenge for you, then obviously this is a good sign. Attempt to spring 100 meters with the kettle-bell, and ten sprint 50, and then rest, then sprint another 50, and then attempt to spring another 100 after that. This exercise will increase your cardio, arm and leg strength on a substantial level, and you will without a doubt feel the burn. If running isn't going to be easy for you, try walking or jogging with the kettle-bell, depending on your athletic capabilities.

See the world

When it is possible, take a break from the treadmill and head outside, into the great outdoors. The outside environment adds a much nicer view, and more variety to your running routine. Running outdoors will also bring new challenges, such as non-flat surfaces, or surfaces that will change when you are running, such as elevations and potentially different terrains depending on where you reside or decide to run. Other exercises such as trailing or mountain biking on uneven surfaces will drastically improve your athletic capabilities and your balance, while working the smaller muscles in your legs, as well as the stabilizing muscles, which are just as important as the other muscles throughout your body, as they pretty much keep you on your feet!

Red light, Green light!

Remember that game that people would play as kids? Red light Green light? Well add a spin to your exercises with this age old game-like technique.

Interval training is used to increase workout intensity, and effectiveness, and will not only maximize your results, but speed them up as well. If you alternate periods of once again "all out" effort, with periods of low intensity efforts, you will strengthen your legs, and lungs while getting the results in just half the time.

Get more for your effort!

Want to get more for your workout and exercise efforts? Choose about 7 of your favorite, or easier-for-you different body weight exercises, cardio exercises or even resistance training exercises and create a circuit workout for yourself with an up-tempo and up-beat vibe to it. Do this my performing the first exercise of your choice, lets say you choose pushups, drop down and do ten pushups, and then get up and choose your second previously chosen exercise, lets say you chose sit-ups, and do twenty sit-ups, and then move onto the third, and then the fourth and so on, and so on. Repeat this for each exercise, and make yourself do 2-3 different "sets" of each circuit, and rest for about a minute or two between each circuit.

Circuit training is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, build muscle and drastically improve cardio, especially if you had chosen all 7 cardio based exercises. Just make sure you don't over-do it and if you re getting too exhausted, to stop. Circuit training, if you force yourself, can really give you a run for your money and wear you out pretty quickly.

Go, Go, GO!

One of the easiest and most effective ways to increase your cario levels when working out, is to use a smartphone application, a heart rate monitor or even a GPS to record your distance ran, pace or calories burned. Another commonly used device is a pedometer, which measures your steps or strides taken during your jog, sprint or walk. Tracking these various things will increase your motivation 10 fold, and you will be able to actively track your progress and set goals and push yourself while performing the exercise.


Lets talk, MUSIC! Listening to music when you are exercising, or even weightlifting, is proven to improve physical and mental motivations. Increasing your motivation will also reduce different levels of fatigue. Just make sure you pick a song, or a make a play list that has an upbeat and fast paced energy to it, to keep your energy levels and motivational levels pumped throughout your workout.

Friendly competition

Working out with a partner, or a group of friends will make the gym scene and its related experiences much more bearable. It will become a hang out session, and you can even turn it into a friendly competition and will also increase your motivational levels and desires to better and out perform your friend. Make it interesting; The person who loses the least weight, or is unable to run as far as the other, has to eat a pop-tart, or something fun to that effect, or buys you a healthy lunch and a diet coke. Keep it entertaining, and working out will not feel like a chore and will end up feeling more of an enjoyable pass-time, which in turn will drastically increase your cardio levels because you will train more often and beat your partner!

Consistency is key!

The best way, and easiest way to see results when you are working out in any aspect or doing any exercise, weather it be strength training, cardio or just attempting to lose weight, consistency is key. If its the first in the morning right after you wake up, lunch or after work, your body is designed to adapt to training during any time of the day. Keeping your work outs consistent on a daily or semi-daily basis will keep your fitness goals in reach, and you will also be able to attain them and set new goals.


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    • Mackinreviews profile image

      Ty 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hey no problem at all! Circuit training is great, and if there are any exercises you don't like doing, you don't have to do them! Just make sure you are keeping your heart rate high and maintaining a good routine! Even if its only for a couple minutes a day, the circuit training will do more work to your body and shake you more than just running, or just lifting, especially if you incorporate nothing but body weight training into your circuit like push-ups and pull-ups.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 4 years ago from Florida

      Being consistent with exercise is my main problem. I prefer to exercise in the morning, but when I'm working I can't go out there in the dark before I leave home. Your advice for circuit training is one I can implement at home. Thanks for sharing!