Never have we seen so many runners out on our streets. Whether we’re lacing up our own ergonomic, chunky-soled kicks, or dodging joggers on the way to do our weekly shops, the roads are awash with sweat — daily exercisers with a newfound passion for running. Good for them, we say — and good for people like Josh Clark, the founder of Couch to 5K, for helping them.
But not all of us can bash out 3.1 miles every lunchtime. During lockdown, some of us need to self-isolate to such an extent that we’re not actually allowed to leave the house. And that means that we’re not getting enough cardiovascular exercise.
“And cardiovascular fitness is important for long term health and reduced risk of disease,” says James Stirling, AKA Instagram’s @london_fitness_guy. “And, whilst in theory cardio is not essential for fat loss, it will certainly help us create the required calorie deficit needed for fat loss. So, during the lockdown, it’s no surprise that many of us have jumped to running as a form of exercise to increase our daily activity.”
But, for those of us stuck inside, can we recreate the effects of a run at home? Can we find an effective cardiovascular circuit to keep our hearts in tip-top condition during quarantine? Stirling says yes. In fact, he says, a lot of popular HIIT workouts are primarily cardiovascular-focused. So, if you’ve been forced to swap your running shoes for an exercise mat for the time being, why not give London Fitness Guy’s cardio circuit a try…
Perform each exercise for 30-40 seconds with a 15-20 second rest. Aim for 5 sets with 1 minute rest upon completion of each set for a 30 minute workout.
Start off with some squat jumps
Begin in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into the squat position (around 90 degrees) and then perform an explosive jump whilst focusing on a soft landing. Repeat as many times as you can in the time allocated.
Next up, some explosive jumping jacks
An old school exercise you might remember as a ‘star jump’ from PE lessons, but still an effective way of raising the heart rate. Start in a standing position and drive the arms and legs outwards to create a star shape before returning to standing. Repeat as many times as possible.
Move into some 'Down and Ups'
Like a lower impact burpee, this exercise starts in a standing position. To complete one rep, you must lower yourself into a high plank and then, once in the high plank, simply return to standing — and don’t jump. Repeat as many times as possible.
Next up, a set of skaters
There’s some lateral work with this exercise. Start on one leg and hop to the other side, landing on the opposite leg. For maximum effect, focus on explosive movements from side to side — and at speed.
Finally, a set of cross climbers
Start off in a high plank position. Next, drive each knee to the opposite elbow — one after the other. Focus on a tight core, straight back and power through the knee drive.