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Articles by natural health author Sarka-Jonae Miller
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Having a Ball with a Bosu Series – Cardio Workout
by Sárka-Jonae Miller
(The Best Years in Life) Bosu balls are most often used for performing core or balance exercises because of their unstable surfaces, but they can also be effective for cardiorespiratory workouts. Instead of marching on a flat surface like the floor or stepping onto and off another stable surface like an aerobic step, use a Bosu ball. Not only will you burn more calories but you'll get some extra core training too. Why would you burn more calories? It's like hiking on a trail or walking on the beach versus walking on a track – your body has to work harder to keep you upright and moving.
Marching in place is a gentle way to increase your heart rate and get your lungs working, the obvious signs that you're performing a cardio exercise. But marching in place isn't very hard. Try it on the rounded surface of a Bosu ball and you'll feel the difference.
Not only will you burn calories, but you'll also strengthen your ankles and work your calves. Keep your abs tight while you march on the Bosu. Start off slow and increase your speed as you go. This exercise is also effective as a warm up or cool down exercise. Swing your arms if you want to work harder.
Bosu Step Ups with Knee Lifts
The most basic move in step aerobics is step ups, meaning simply to step up and down off the aerobic step. A popular variation is to add knee lifts. Raising your knee with each step requires more energy and thus gives you a greater cardio challenge. It also challenges your balance and strengthens your thighs. Since you'll be lifting your knee while standing on one leg on the Bosu instead of a flat aerobic step, you'll get a greater benefit to improving your balance and core strength too.
Start this exercise by standing in front of a Bosu with the rounded side up. Let your arms hang at your sides with your elbows bent. Step your right foot onto the center of the Bosu. Then, lift your leg and raise your knee up to waist height if you can. If you start to lose your balance, try lifting your knee only halfway. Bring your left foot back to the floor and then step your right foot down next to it.
Next, step your left foot onto the center of the Bosu ball and lift your right knee. Continue to alternate, stepping up onto the Bosu with one foot and doing a knee lift with the other leg.
Few cardio exercises are also full-body exercises. Running, cycling, stair stepping, etc only utilize the lower body. Bosu burpees work your upper and lower body for a more complete workout.
Start by standing on the floor with the Bosu ball in front of you, rounded side up. Position your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees into a deep squat and place your hands on top of the ball. Next, jump your feet back into push-up position. Then, jump your feet forward again. Stand up. Jump with both feet and land on the center of the Bosu ball. Jump back to the floor. That is one complete burpee. Repeat.
Chances are you might not be able to do Bosu burpees for very long, so try incorporating 15 to 60 seconds of the exercise at a time into your cardio routine. You could try Bosu marching for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up followed by 20 minutes of Bosu step ups with knee lifts interrupted by intervals of burpees. Don't forget to cool down for at least three to five minutes. Always speak with a physician before starting a new exercise routine.
About the Author
Sárka-Jonae Miller is a health and fitness expert. She began working in the fitness industry in 2000 while pursuing a BS in journalism at Syracuse University. She became certified as a personal fitness trainer and group exercise instructor in 2003. She has also received training in massage therapy. Sárka also writes fiction. She is the author of the chick lit novel, Between Boyfriends. Get more health and wellness tips on Sárka's Natural Healing Tips blog or join her on Facebook and Twitter.