Tag Archives: Cardio

3 Reasons Why I Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator

Photo of person's legs and orange shoes as they climb a flight of blue stairs.

I’m writing this post from the perspective of someone who is able-bodied and still fairly young. Taking the stairs isn’t the right choice for everyone, so listen to your body and your family doctor if this post doesn’t resonate with you. 

When was the last time you took the stairs?

This question popped into my head last month, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

When given the choice between taking the stairs, elevator or escalator, my preferences have shifted in the direction of the stairs for the following reasons.

It’s Faster

Dozens of lego figures crowded together
Toronto is a bustling city. No matter what time of day or night it is here, you will almost certainly be surrounded by dozens to thousands of other people while going about your daily (or nightly) business.

There are many advantages to living this way that don’t quite fit into the theme of this post.

One of the disadvantages has to do with how crowded elevators and escalators can become, especially on the weekends and during rush hour. Elevators and escalators are in heavy demand. They would be crowded even if the only people who used them were chronically ill, physically disabled, pushing a stroller, or carrying a heavy load.

The fact that people who could take the stairs also use them only increases the demand for them. I don’t judge anyone for this decision, but I do personally find it more comfortable to avoid all of that jostling and take the stairs instead.

Why fight for a space on the escalator or wait five minutes for the next elevator when the stairs are right around the corner and mostly empty?

It’s a Mini Workout

Woman running down a flight of stairs by a forestOne of the things I enjoy the most about living in a walkable neighbourhood is how much exercise is built into my normal activities.

While I have a structured fitness routine as well, half or more of the total exercise I get each day comes from mini workouts that happen in short spurts while I’m running errands or travelling somewhere.

Taking the stairs is one of these things I do regularly that only takes a few minutes here and there but adds up to a few extra hours of exercise per week.

In my experience, turning small, easy lifestyle changes like this into habits is an excellent way to become more fit over time. I’d never do this sort of exercise for two or three hours in a row, but I have no problem putting the same amount of time in if it’s two or three hours spread across an entire week (or more).

And the more I take the stairs, the stronger my urge to do it becomes over time.

It Doesn’t Require Special Equipment

Girl holding handrailI don’t know about you, but I have a strong preference for types of exercise that don’t require me to change clothes, travel to a specific place, or use a particular piece of equipment.

Blame it on my negative experiences with elementary and high school gym class if you will. All I know is that it takes far less emotional energy to make a quick decision to walk up or down a few flights of stairs when the opportunity presents itself than it does to change into gym clothes, travel to a gym, exercise, shower, change into regular clothes, and then go home again.

I believe in gravitating towards types of exercise that work for your fitness level, interests, and willpower (or lack thereof). For me, that means taking the stairs more often.

My Review of the 30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other workout routine. 

In addition, I’m not being compensated for this post and have no affiliation with the creators. There is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site.

About the 30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout

This is a 30-minute dance workout. There are warmup and cooldown exercises included in it.

If you’ve never done a cardio dance workout routine before, I’d recommend either starting with Bipasha Basu’s 30-Minute Aerobic Dance Workout instead or embracing all of the modified moves that one of the dancers demonstrates for the audience if you’re up for a challenge. This routine is not intended for beginners in my opinion.

I’d recommend either wearing a supportive pair of shoes or putting down a yoga mat or other soft but non-slippery surface for all of the jumping you’re about to do. No other equipment is necessary.

30-Minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout 

My Review

It’s been a few months since I added this workout to my regular rotation, and I absolutely love it.

I had no experience with salsa or merengue dancing before trying this workout. If any of my followers do have experience with those dance styles, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this routine!

One of the best things about these styles of dance is that they repeat the same moves over and over again in various combinations and patterns. While it definitely took me time to get all of the moves down fairly accurately, it was nice to start to understand it right away.

If I didn’t have the exact pattern memorized yet, it was really easy to pick something similar and keep moving. This is something that I haven’t been able to do in every dance workout I’ve tried, so I definitely appreciated the fact that I was able to wing it a little in the beginning while I was still getting used to how everything fit together. That extra challenge was a small but important part of the reason why I stuck around after the first time I tried it.

 Nicole Steen and other dancers in the Popsugar 30-minute Cardio Latin Dance VideoThe dancers in this video are energetic. This was especially true for Nicole Steen who was leading the routine. I couldn’t help but to smile at the jokes she cracked and the many techniques she used to keep the energy high in her backup dancers.

Dancing is one of those things that can easily perk up my mood, so the combination of getting to do one of my favourite forms of exercise with having such an upbeat instructor worked really well for me.

I also appreciated the fact that this routine can be done in a fairly small space. Yes, you move around a lot in it, but you’re not leaping from one corner of the room to the next if that makes sense. Instead, dancers tend to do a lot of bending, twisting, and shaking. My apartment is a tiny one, but I always had enough space to copy the dancers (once I figured out what to expect from them next!)

The modifications were also a nice touch. I had enough experience with other types of cardio-heavy styles of dancing that I didn’t end up using them, but it was reassuring to know that I could drop down to less intense moves if necessary. This also was a feature that convinced me to leave the door open for people who don’t have a lot of dance experience to give this a shot. With less twisting and jumping to worry about, picking up on the moves sure seems like it would be easier.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this workout highly enough. It’s a great deal of fun and something I’m planning to keep doing for the foreseeable future.

Previous Reviews of Free Youtube Workout Routines:

The Challenging Chair Workout 

Bipasha Basu’s 30-Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

Fitness Blender’s Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout

Fitness Blender’s Ab Blasting Interval Workout

Fitness Blender’s Toned, Lean Arms Workout 

My Review of Bipasha Basu’s Unleash 30 Minute Fat Burning Cardio Workout

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to provide medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other type of workout routine. 

I’m reviewing this workout simply because I enjoyed it and think some of you might, too. I’m not being compensated for this post in any way and have no affiliation with Bipasha Basu or Shemaroo Good Health 24/7. As always, this is an advertisement-free site. 

A surprising number of people find my site every week by searching for Bipasha Basu. If you’re one of them, I hope you enjoy this workout as much as you have her previous ones. If you’re new to her videos, you’re in for a real treat today!

About the 30 Minute Fat Burning Cardio Workout

This is a 30 minute workout that includes approximately five minutes each of warmup and cool down exercises. I liked the fact that those things were accounted for. As I’ve said here in the past, I find it easy to skip out on cool downs especially when videos don’t include them because of how eager I am to flop over and relax after exercising.

One of the biggest reasons why I decided to do this particular workout was because Bipasha Basu was in it! She has an aerobic dance workout I’ll link to at the bottom of today’s post that I love, so I was curious to see what else she’s been up to lately.

There is no special equipment required for this routine. I appreciated having a yoga mat to jump around on, but this extra layer of padding on the ground is optional.

The cardiovascular exercises in this video included jumping jacks, pushups, mountain climbers, squats, kicks, squats, bunny hops, and marching in place between the most strenuous moves. Bipasha Basu’s 30 Minute Fat Burning Cardio Workout 

My Review

Let’s begin this review with a lighthearted comment about bunny hops. This wasn’t something I’d ever heard of before, but anyone who knows how much I adore rabbits can probably guess how much I enjoyed that particular part of the workout. It was the last thing I was expecting to find in such a serious video, but it sure was a cute thing to try.

Most of the cardiovascular exercise I do is in the form of walking. While it’s brisk, I was still more challenged by this workout than I was expecting to be. There’s a difference between taking a walk and doing jumping jacks, and I think I need to be doing more of the latter to build up my endurance!

This definitely isn’t something I’d recommend to a beginner. I consider myself to be a reasonably fit person, and I wasn’t able to go through this entire video without pausing when I was testing it out for this post. If you’ve been exercising regularly for a while, this may be right up your alley.

I never know how to properly gauge the intensity of a workout, but I would recommend it to people who have been exercising regularly for a while and are interested in trying something new. Bipasha’s Basu’s aerobic dance workout I previously reviewed on my site was an easier, lower-impact workout that included all sorts of positive messages about loving yourself and doing your best.

This one included a minimum amount of narration and more energetic moves. That minimalistic approach is something I appreciate. I suspect I’ll continue to be challenged by it for quite a while.

With that being said, I did notice a few exercises that carried over from her aerobic dance workout. It was amusing to be surprised by them just when I thought that Ms. Basu was expecting her audience to learn an entirely new set of moves.

The only non-complimentary thing I’ll say about this workout has to do with the background music. I’m not a fan of exercising to music unless I’m dancing, so I did find myself wishing for a version of this workout that included Ms. Basu’s instructions but no other noises. This is a minor criticism of something I otherwise found quite useful and challenging, though, and I am glad that the background music didn’t include lyrics.

What I like the most about Bipasha Basu’s workouts is the repetition built into them. Every move was repeated once before she had her audience go onto a different set of exercises. While this is a common thing to find in all sorts of fitness routines, I’ve only grown to appreciate it more over time. It’s nice to be able to practice certain moves more than once, especially if they’d be something I might skip if I were making up my own list of exercises to get through on cardio days.

Previous Reviews of Free Youtube Workout Routines:

The Challenging Chair Workout 

Bipasha Basu’s 30-Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

Fitness Blender’s Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout

Fitness Blender’s Ab Blasting Interval Workout

Fitness Blender’s Toned, Lean Arms Workout

My Review of Fitness Blender’s Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout

From the Brutal Butt and Thigh Workout


Disclaimer: 
I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other type of workout routine. 

In addition, I’m not receiving any kind of compensation for this post, I’m not affiliated with anyone at Fitness Blender, and there is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site in general. I’m reviewing this workout simply because I loved it and think some of you might, too.

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve reviewed a workout video here. it’s time to change that.

Fitness Blender creates the videos I use for the vast majority for my weightlifting workouts. Kelli and Daniel are the couple who created and own this brand.  Their Youtube channel and website offer free workouts for every fitness level.

About the 30 Minute Brutal Butt & Thigh Workout

This workout consists of 5 groups of 2 different exercises. There are ten repetitions of each exercise before you move onto the next one, and all of the exercises are done in the AB/AB format. For example, Kelli’s movements looked like this in the first section:

  • Traditional Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Traditional Squats
  • Deadlifts

Between each muscle-building exercise, she spent 20 seconds jogging in place.

This is a good routine for more experienced weight lifters. I would not recommend it to beginners due to the intensity of the moves.

All of the videos from Fitness Blender that I use require a minimal amount of equipment. For this particular one, you’ll need a barbell or dumbbell. If you happen to own a yoga mat, that extra cushioning can be useful for the cardio portions of this routine. It’s not strictly necessary, however.

The last five minutes of this video are dedicated to cool-down exercises, but it doesn’t have any warm-up activities. I’d recommend warming up on your own before beginning it.

 

Brutal Butt and Thigh Workout

My Review

This is one of my all-time favourite workouts, so you’re going to hear a lot of complimentary things about it today.

The lack of background music was one of the first things I noticed about it. While I like background music when I’m doing a dance video, I find it distracting for most other types of exercise. It was nice to not have to think about it during this video.

Instead of instruments or the sound of people singing, the only noises you hear on this video are of the narrator explaining which moves are coming up and discussing how they affect your body. There were alternatives suggested for people who couldn’t do the full range of motion for certain moves which was helpful. It was also interesting to hear Daniel talk about how your muscles will react if you’re able to do the moves the way Kelli was in this workout. I only ever felt encouraged by his descriptions. It was fascinating to hear how the human body works and how it can adapt to new challenges over time.

While Kelli did jog in place between all of the exercises, I appreciated the fact that participants were encouraged to find their own level of activity between sets if they weren’t able to jog every time. Honestly, I can’t jog in place for the entire workout every single session. There are times when I need to walk instead, especially at the end, and that’s perfectly okay.

The Cool Down Portion of This Workout

One of the unique features of the Fitness Blender brand is an icon on the right hand side of the screen that shows you how much of the workout you’ve currently completed as well as how much of it you still have to go.

It looks sort of like a thermometer, and the color of it changes from green to yellow to red as you progress further into the routine. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this feature to see how long I have left to go and to find another burst of energy when I know we’re getting close to the end.

The weightlifting exercises themselves are challenging for me in a good way. When I first began using this video, I was a little sore the next day. While my body has grown stronger and adjusted since then, this routine is by no means an easy one for me. I enjoy being challenged in this way, and I can see myself going back to it over and over again for quite a while yet to come.

I also enjoy the cool down portion during the last five minutes. By the time it comes up, I’m usually covered in perspiration and totally ready to take a break from exercising. All of the stretches in the last few minutes are a nice bridge between weightlifting and the quieter portions of my day that are soon to follow.

Honestly, the thing I’d change about it if I could would be to include a short warm-up at the beginning. I find that I am more diligent about warming up properly when I have someone else telling me which body parts to stretch and for what period of time. Going to the trouble of actually warming up for it is well worth the effort, though!

My Review of Bipasha Basu’s 30 Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this post is in no way intended to give out medical advice. Please seek the advice of a qualified medical professional before beginning this or any other type of workout routine. 

Before I dive into this review, let me also note that I’m not receiving any kind of compensation for this post, I don’t know Ms. Basu personally, and there is never affiliate marketing of any sort on my site. I’m reviewing this workout simply because I loved it and think some of you might, too.

Now that we have the disclaimers out of the way, let’s talk about dancing.

When I was a kid, I was a member of a church dance team for a little while. The style of dancing we did was much slower than the one I’m about to share with you, but I loved every second of learning the various moves we did together. There’s something so energizing and exciting about practicing this sort of routine over and over again until everyone is moving in perfect sync with each other.

That experience ignited a lifelong love of this form of exercise. While I’ve yet to join any other dance groups, I still smile every time I get the chance to learn a new move.

About the 30 Minute Aerobic Dance Workout

This Bollywood dance routine includes warmup and cool-down sections, so I’d estimate that it’s closer to a 20-minute workout without those things added in. Nearly all of the moves in the warmup were repeated and combined in different ways later on, so there was a lot of overlap between one section and the next. There was also a short water break included a little over 20 minutes into the session before the dancers put everything they’d been practicing together into a fun, fast-paced routine at the very end.

I’d especially recommend this video to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with dancing in general. Since all of the moves were repeated multiple times and in various combinations,there were plenty of opportunities to practice anything that might have seemed complicated at first.

However, this doesn’t mean that more advanced viewers won’t enjoy it as well. The music made me want to jump up and keep dancing long after the 30-minute session ended. This is still something I fall back on when I have one of those days when I don’t feel like exercising at all. That’s how much fun it is!

No special equipment is needed for this workout. All you’ll need is a flat, even area to dance in that has been cleared of any tripping hazards.

If the embedded link above doesn’t work, click here instead.

My Review

Bipasha Basu

I originally discovered this dance workout about four years ago. During that time in my life, I had recently begun exercising regularly again. I’d never been the sort of person who thought of myself as athletic, so I was still figuring out what I did and didn’t enjoy as I attempted to get back into shape.

Bipasha Basu’s dance routine quickly became my favourite way to get moving on days when I honestly didn’t want to do anything at all. As I mentioned above, I still feel the same way about it.

First of all, dancing is a great deal of fun. There were times when I forgot I was technically exercising at all because of what a good time I was having learning the moves and enjoying the cheerful music everyone was moving their bodies to. This was especially true during the warmup and cool-down portions due to how nicely the background music was matched to them.

Speaking of warmups and cool-downs, I appreciated the fact that they were built into this workout. To be honest with you, I get awfully tempted to skip this kind of stuff when I need to do it on my own even though I know how important it is. The more vigorous portions of any exercise session generally appeal to me more, so it’s nice to be encouraged to remember to stretch, breathe deeply, and ease myself into and out of a workout as well.

Basu’s friendly and encouraging reminders throughout this routine made me smile. She did everything from talk about what moves were coming up to cheering her audience on to reminding us to love ourselves at the very end of the workout once the cool-down was finished.

Ms. Basu even reminded everyone to pause and drink a little water if and when they felt thirsty. I appreciated all of her kind words and good advice. It almost felt as though she was standing in the room next to her audience while gently cheering us on on to do our best and not worry if every single move was perfect the first time.

I don’t know about you, but I respond really well to this form of “coaching.” There’s something to be said for framing exercise as a cooperative experience instead of a competition for those of us who want to worry about winning or losing while getting fit. (Kudos to those of you who are energized by competition, but I’m simply not wired that way at all…..well, unless we’re talking about certain board games).

It sure isn’t easy to determine how difficult a workout is. If only there were some sort of universal scale for such things!  I did find the last ten minutes challenging when I first began doing it, but the earlier sections were easy once I memorized all of the different moves. Obviously, your experiences  of the same routine could be quite different from mine based on what kinds of activity you’re currently used to.

If you’re brand new to working out in general, I would recommend giving the first ten minutes a try and seeing how challenging you find it.

One Minor Criticism

There was only one thing I would have liked to see being done a little differently with this video, and it had to do with what Basu’s female backup dancers were wearing. While her male backup dancers wore loose, comfortable clothing, nearly all of her female dancers wore much tighter and ab-revealing clothing that honestly didn’t look ideal for all of the shimmying and moving around they were doing.

Bipasha and her backup dancers

This has nothing to do with modesty or body shaming. I would have preferred to see all of the dancers wearing loose and comfortable clothing for this routine from a purely practical point of view given how much bending and twisting was involved in it.

Yes, I know that sex sells, but I don’t think it’s necessary to mix that into what was otherwise a wonderful workout. This is even more true since only the women were expected to wear such skimpy outfits. If everyone had been wearing more or less the same types of clothing, I wouldn’t have had the same feelings about it.

Don’t let this discourage you from trying it, though. Everything else about it was really well done.

Have you all ever tried a dance workout? if so, what did you think of it?

5 Fitness Rules You Should Break

One of the most interesting things about fitness culture is how many different rules there are about what you are and are not supposed to do in order to get healthier. I’ve learned so much about the art of staying fit by listening to what other ordinary people find helpful. There is a lot of fantastic information… Read More