Cardio workouts have been popular among fitness enthusiasts for the longest time and continue to be one of the go-to workout types for people belonging to all fitness levels. The best part about cardio exercises is that they can be adjusted and customized according to each individual’s capacity. If you have the physical endurance and stamina to tolerate high-impact exercises, then you can do cardio in the form of HIIT training. But in case you have medical concerns or simply do not want the risk of injury, you can opt for low-impact cardio exercises like walking, jogging, or cycling exercises. Such flexibility and versatility come only in cardio, and that’s the beauty about it.
In this write-up, we will talk about some of the most highly recommended cardio exercises to help you feel the burn and keep the heart rate in check. But, before we get to the exercises, let’s address the fundamental question.
Why Is Cardio So Important?
Several benefits of cardio positively affect the well-being of the full body. To start with the basics, cardio keeps your body active and maintains a healthy heart rate. Other than that, it boosts metabolism and also improves the overall immune system. Cardio is one of the most effective ways to burn calories and promote weight loss. This results in achieving the ideal body weight, keeping you away from several diseases and illnesses. You can also prevent major heart and lung diseases if you incorporate regular cardio workouts into your routine. Besides, after cardio exercises, the body starts producing more serotonin in the body, which is a happy hormone and can lead to an improved mental state. All in all, it is fair to say that cardio is the key to a healthy body and mind!
Here are the top 8 cardio exercises to keep you moving:
If you want to strengthen your bones, build muscle, or lose weight, running is an ideal cardio exercise for you. You may wonder how running can strengthen your muscles and bones. Since it is a weight-bearing exercise, it works most of the major muscle groups in the legs and core. And when you run regularly, you will notice a considerable increase in muscle definition over a period.
Skipping is often recommended as a warm-up exercise because it gets your heart rate up and quickly loosens the body for the next workout. In addition, this cardio exercise burns calories within no time. So much so that jumping rope for even 20 minutes a day can burn more than 280 calories, which is quite impressive. It also promotes quick weight loss, muscle training and improves our balance and stamina.
Another alternative to skipping is jumping jacks. Jumping jacks are an easy-to-learn exercise, and they give you the perfect burn. Unlike skipping, jumping jacks do not require any equipment. Jumping jacks can immediately get your heart pumping and can burn around 20 calories in just one minute. Besides, you don’t even need a huge space as it can be done indoors, just within the surface of your yoga mat.
High knees are yet another jumping exercise that can instantly boost your heart rate and burns several calories. However, make sure that you set the intensity level according to your physical ability. If you wish to achieve a higher impact, you may continue jumping during the high knees. But if you have any medical issues or can’t put a lot of pressure on your legs, you may discard the jump and normally keep lifting your legs, one at a time.
Most fitness trainers add this exercise to their students’ routine because of the variety of purposes that it can fulfill. This one exercise can effectively hit your legs, glutes, back, and even abs. It burns several calories and is a great way to train your muscles. You may also wear weighted anklets to increase the intensity.
Burpees is a highly recommended full-body cardio exercise because it burns calories and hits almost all the major muscle groups. Burpees can increase your endurance, stamina and improve balance. Other than that, you can also experience your heart rate going up after just two reps. There are also different variants and intensity levels for burpees, making it an ideal exercise for everyone.
Mountain climbers are an effective compound exercise that strengthens the core, burns calories, and builds ab muscles, all at the same time. It boosts the heart rate and also helps in losing stubborn belly fat. You can adjust the intensity level simply by doing the exercise at a speed that you are comfortable with. You can also build endurance by doing mountain climbers every day and increasing its intensity likewise.
A full-body HIIT routine is one of the best ways of getting that weekly cardio done. HIIT is doing high-impact exercises like jump lunges, burpees, Russian twists, supermans, plank jacks, running in place, and so on. These exercises have to be done after the other for 30 seconds while taking a short 20-second gap.
Other than these, you may also consider the following:
Cycling- Good for the leg joints, increases mobility, reduces belly fat
Swimming- Ensures full body activation without sweating
Speed Walking- Best for low-intensity cardio to burn calories
Dancing- Increases heart rate, boosts serotonin, reduces stress
Kickboxing- Improves posture, increases confidence, boosts energy
Waterobics- Low-impact aerobic exercise, enhances flexibility
Running Stairs- Burns calories quickly, tones muscles, increases agility
It is quite evident that there are many types of cardio workouts for all fitness levels. Be sure that you seek medical advice in advance so that you don’t over-exert your body. Other than that, you should also know that doing cardio every day will not help you get in shape. You need to support it with an equal amount of strength training for building muscle and toning your body.