Exercising in your target heart rate zone improves cardiovascular health. As your fitness level improves, you will find that some activities are no longer challenging. For example, your regular 30-minute walk on a flat trail may not increase your heartbeat and respiration enough to reach your target zone. You will need to find new ways to raise your heart rate without giving up the activities you enjoy.
Move your arms overhead
When you raise your arms, your heart rate elevates. This allows you to increase the intensity of almost any activity. When walking, alternate punching your right and left fists overhead. When jogging or marching in place, move your arms out and up like jumping jacks.
Add an incline
Whether you are outside or at the gym, climbing a hill raises your heart rate. Include hills in your walking or jogging route, or increase the grade on the treadmill.
Cardio machines, like elliptical trainers and bikes, have resistance settings that make the movement more challenging. When you are in the pool, water weights and hand paddles make moving through the water more difficult. All of these forms of resistance help to increase your heart rate.
Switch to intervals
If you can’t sustain a higher intensity activity for an extended period, work in intervals to help increase your heart rate. Alternate jogging and walking, walk on a flat surface and then add a hill, or alternate between cycling segments with and without resistance. Raising the heart rate and then allowing for a short recovery will help you maintain a higher heart rate throughout the workout without pushing you to exhaustion.
Choose cardio boosting strength moves
You don’t have to separate your cardio and strength training. Exercises that engage larger muscle groups and move the body up and down increase heart rate. Squats, lunges and burpees are good examples of exercises that build strength while keeping your heart rate elevated.