The Best Types of Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss

When most people think of working out to lose weight, cardio workouts are usually what come to mind. However, cardiovascular exercise does not have to mean long and boring anymore. Many fitness experts liken cardio workouts to the intensity of the sessions when determining what type of body the person exercising wants to achieve. For example, if you keep your cardiovascular workouts long, steady, and slower, you will get a leaner distance runner’s type of body with increased muscle strength but little noticeable muscle growth. Alternately, those that desire more muscle growth and more overall body fat loss would do better to train as a short distance sprinter with higher impact intensity workout sessions in a shorter burst of time.

Understanding What Cardio Exercise Is

To plan your exercise regimen effectively, you must first understand the basics of cardio exercise, also termed aerobic exercise, so that you can realize your specific weight loss, strength training, and muscle building goals.

Cardiovascular exercise simply means performing an activity that uses more oxygen in the process. When trying to lose more bodyweight, it is more effective to combine these cardiovascular workouts with additional strength training workout sessions two to three times a week. This will increase the rate at which you burn fat, helping you to lose more overall body weight in a shorter period of time.

Types of Cardiovascular Exercise to Consider

You should include specific aerobic exercise sessions into your weekly fitness routine for better heart health and a fitter body overall.

These heart-healthy aerobic exercise training sets should meet certain criteria to achieve the full benefits to your heart health and overall general health. They include:

  1. Must be aerobic – utilizes large muscle groups at sustained intensity for a set time period
  2. Meets current fitness/cardio health goals set by trainee/trainer/doctor
  3. Timed for 30 to 60 minutes sustained 2 or 3 times a week
  4. Choose something you enjoy to motivate yourself to continue

Examples of Cardio Workout Exercises Explained

So, keeping the above specifics in mind, choose activities that will impact a larger group of body muscles, increase heart rate gradually to get into that fat burning aerobic zone.

Then, keep it there for a safe and set amount of time using controlled breathing patterns to ensure that the muscles you’re working have the right amount of oxygen required.

Always perform the proper warm-up and cool-down exercises for heart safety before beginning and stopping any type of aerobic activity.

Some common cardiovascular activities to try include:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling or Spin Classes
  • Walking increasing rates
  • Jogging
  • Various fitness class choices – step aerobics, boxing, martial arts, dance, etc.

Additionally, some great machines that achieve cardiovascular rates of activity include:

  • Treadmill
  • Stair/Step climber
  • Rowing machine
  • Elliptical machine
  • Either an upright or recumbent bike

Factors that Influence How Fast You Burn Calories

There are several important factors to consider before embarking on any weight loss exercise program. All people burn fat and calories at different rates and time tables.

These factors to consider include:

  • Current weight – higher weights burn calories faster
  • Age – older individuals typically burn calories slower due to aging factors like decreased metabolism rates, hormones, etc.
  • Gender – Men lose weight faster than women in most cases
  • Muscle-mass body composition amounts – the more muscle, the quicker you’ll burn calories, & more fat the slower you’ll burn calories during activity
  • Activity levels especially during the day – more daytime activity equals more calories burned & sedentary lifestyle equals fewer calories used
  • Workout intensity – less vigorous activity results in fewer calories used, and more intense exercise training results in more calories burned

Determine the Number of Calories Burned for Various Exercises

Individuals who desire to lose weight can determine how many calories they will burn using exercise statistic information.

An in-depth Harvard research study lists calories people of three different weight amounts should burn doing different types of activities for 30 minutes.

This study divides activity categories as those usually performed in a gym or fitness center, ordinary household activities, sports training differences, outdoor activities, and work-related exercise.

Some statistics on calories burned for people who weigh 125, 155 & 185 lbs when performing activities from this study include:

  • Water Aerobics – 120, 149 & 178
  • Stationary Bicycling – 210, 260 & 311
  • Aerobics High Impact – 210, 260 & 311
  • Aerobics Low Impact Step – 210, 260 & 311
  • Weightlifting – 90, 110 & 133
  • Frisbee Throwing – 90, 110 & 133
  • Walking @ 17 min per/ml – 120, 149 & 178
  • Walking @ 15 min per/ml – 135, 167 & 200
  • Race Walking – 195, 242 & 289
  • Cross-Country Skiing – 240, 298 & 355
  • Raking Lawn – 120, 149 & 178
  • General Gardening – 135, 167 & 200
  • Playing with Kids Moderate Effort – 150, 186 & 178
  • Couch Potato TV Watching – 23, 28 & 33
  • Painting Interior Walls – 136, 167 & 200
  • Light Office Work – 45, 56 & 67
  • Firefighter Work – 360, 446 & 533

So a woman who weighs 155 lbs can expect to burn 260 calories during 30 minutes of low impact step aerobics. A man who weighs 185 lbs can expect to burn 355 calories while performing cross country skiing, and that same man can burn 133 calories throwing a Frisbee with his dog at the park.

Recommended Cardio Workouts to Burn Calories & Bust Fat

In past years, taking long walks and running for hours was an everyday exercise routine for individuals trying to lose weight. However, these types of slow and steady, yet longer, exercise sessions have recently been found to be less effective with regards to weight loss.

Try the following variety of cardio workouts to begin melting away your unwanted fat stores and losing that excess weight for good.


Swimming is an effective cardio workout option that is easy on the joints due to the weightless environment when in water. The added resistance when doing any exercise moves or swimming strokes raises the intensity of each movement without the strain on feet, joints, and bones like most other aerobic exercise choices often do.

Sprint Rather than Run for Weight Loss

While many love the feeling of running free through the countryside, recent fitness studies show that sprinting at faster speeds for shorter time periods is far more effective in increasing body metabolism rates. These quicker and more intensive bursts of aerobic activity also continue that burn longer, resulting in more weight loss.

Incorporate HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training

Both men and women can significantly benefit from incorporating a variety of HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training into a weekly exercise regimen. The idea here is to continually keep the repetitive movements shorter in time and increased in each move’s intensity.

At the same time, it’s best to continually vary the routine elements to curb the body’s natural tendency to drop metabolism levels during longer activity sessions to save the body’s fat stores.

With a HIIT workout, the body never has time to adjust its responses to sustained increased activity. This method keeps metabolism rates higher for longer stretches of time, even 24 hours or more following the workout session. This effort burns way more calories and melts body fat stores for a sleeker physique and better all-around fitness and good health.

Many gyms and fitness centers offer classes in HITT cardio workouts, or interested individuals can find lots of effective and convenient exercise videos online or on television exercise channels. These options mean that there should be no excuse for not getting in your scheduled workouts, even if you are stuck at home.

Add Cycling for Faster Cardio Workouts & Greater Calorie Burn

While jumping on a bicycle and pedaling for hours up mountainsides and through country forests is appealing in many ways, simply utilizing a stationary bike at home or the gym is a better fat/calorie-burning activity option.

Since the lower body is fully engaged, it checks the box for reaching that ideal cardio aerobic zone while finishing up much faster than traditional cycling.

For faster and more significant weight loss and fat/calorie burn, you must be willing to up the pace. Consider taking a spin class for peer support and friendly competition that can motivate you to continue.

A hint is to keep your butt off of the seat for a higher intensity that works those glutes and side abdominal muscles for even greater caloric and fat storage burn.

To incorporate the HIIT method with cycling, speed up to a vigorous pedaling rate for short bursts of intense action. Then slow down a bit for a minute or so and repeat for several sets. This process will work with rowing machines as well.

Perform Kettlebell Workouts to Boost Calorie Burn

These workouts are not necessarily a full-on cardio exercise option, but the high rate for calorie burn using this method is well worth it in the final analysis.

This exercise is one of the few aerobic activity options that can strengthen and build muscle in the process of burning calories. It’s best to do 30 to 40 seconds of moderate weighted motion reps with 20 to 30 seconds to rest. Try to do as many repetition cycles as you can for 30 minutes to reap an average of 400 to 600 calories burned in just 1/2 an hour.

Jump Rope to Burn Calories Rapidly

Jump roping is still a fun and very effective exercise strategy that boxers and other sports enthusiasts continue to recommend. The key is to learn how to jump rope correctly and keep sessions shorter lesson risks of injuries.

This cardio workout can burn upwards of 1000 calories in an hour or less when done correctly. It builds body strength, increases endurance, and is now thought to help prevent osteoporosis later in life.

This aerobic cardio workout takes no extra space, requires no heavy or expensive equipment, and can be done just about anywhere, making it highly versatile. It can be combined with martial arts training, boxing, and other exercises for greater overall fitness capabilities.

Why EMOM Workouts Are Making Headlines

Most people lead busy lifestyles that leave them little free time to relax and get in enough exercise throughout the week. As a result, fitness buffs are learning to make good use of any time that they have available, even if short.

Try the EMOM workout for yourself to see why everyone is talking about it. It only takes 10 to 20 minutes. The goal is to increase work effort and rest amounts. For instance, work hard for 30 to 45 seconds, rest over the next 70 to 90 seconds. Repeat 8 to 10 rounds. The acronym stands for repetitions “every minute, on the minute” or EMOM.

Remember that cardio exercise should:

  • Increase heart rate & keep that rate in an aerobic exercise zone for a specific time amount
  • Will use larger muscle groups like upper body and legs for instance
  • Requires trainee to use a controlled breathing pattern during workouts

Jumpstart your weight loss with cardio workouts and follow us on Facebook for more great fitness tips!

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