What Workouts Are the Best Cardio Options?

Looking for a great cardio workout? Check out our top picks for the best cardio options to help you get in shape and improve your heart health!


Cardio workouts have many physical and mental benefits, such as improved endurance and stress relief. The type of cardio exercise you do depends on your goals. From low-impact activities, such as walking or cycling, to higher intensity moves like running or jumping rope, there are cardio exercises for every level of fitness and for a variety of purposes. In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits of each form of cardio exercise and how to choose the one that’s right for you.

Benefits of Cardio

Cardio is a great way to keep your heart healthy and improve your overall fitness. It can improve your endurance and help you to burn calories while getting your heart rate up. Cardio also releases endorphins in your brain which can give you a natural boost of energy and mood. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of cardio and what types of workouts can help you achieve your goals.

Improved Heart Health

Cardiovascular activity is any physical exercise that increases your heart rate and gets your blood pumping. Taking part in a regular cardiovascular activity provides a number of health benefits, including improved heart and lung health, increased energy levels, stress reduction, weight loss and better overall physical fitness. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends healthy adults complete at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week in order to stay physically fit.

Improved Heart Health
One of the most important benefits of cardiovascular exercise is an improvement in overall heart health. Your heart is a muscle that needs regular exercise to remain strong and healthy. Cardiovascular workouts increase the size and strength of your cardiac muscles as well as improve circulation throughout your entire body which helps keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check. A heart that is regularly exercised through cardio activities also functions more efficiently by using less energy to pump blood and delivering more oxygen to the body at rest making it easier to stay active longer. Regular cardio workouts can also reduce risk for many different types of diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers and other coronary illnesses such as strokes or heart attacks.

Weight Loss

Cardio workouts are great for overall health and an important part of any fitness plan. Not only can they help you lose or maintain your desired weight, but they can also increase your energy levels, strengthen your heart and lungs, improve your coordination and balance, reduce stress levels, and assist with metabolism regulation.

Including cardio in your everyday routine can help you burn calories faster, making it easier to reach weight loss goals. It’s important to know what type of exercises work best for weight loss since every body is different. Depending on preference and attention span, some people may be more comfortable with outdoor activities such as running or biking while others may prefer to hit the gym or stay home to do HIIT workouts or take an online class. No matter which exercise option you choose, it’s essential that you stay consistent in order to reach maximum results.

Low-impact Cardio: Low-impact forms of exercise such as swimming, aqua aerobics and yoga provide excellent cardiovascular benefits without straining joints and muscles. Due to the gentle nature of these exercises they are ideal for people who want a full body workout but are recovering from injuries or have chronic pain issues.

Strength Training: Working out with weights is one of the best ways to build muscle tone while also improving cardiovascular health. Strength training helps build lean muscle tissue that can boost metabolic rate even when at rest so you’re burning additional calories all day long (even after you’ve left the gym!).

Interval Training: High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an extremely efficient type of exercise because it requires short bursts of activity followed by short periods of rest – making it perfect for everyone from beginners just starting their fitness journey up through professional athletes who are looking for that competitive edge in their performance. HIIT workouts can be done using a variety of exercises depending on individual preferences – such as running on a treadmill or jumping rope – which makes them highly adaptable as well as lots of fun!

Increased Energy

Cardio exercise improves your body’s ability to take in and use oxygen, allowing it to become more efficient. When your heart and lungs become more efficient, you feel less fatigued and have increased energy levels. This will help you get more out of your day-to-day activities and make it easier to complete tasks without feeling exhausted.

Cardio exercise also helps to reduce stress. With regular moderate physical activity, endorphins are released which can help calm your nervous system and reduce stress hormones in the body. Endorphins may also act as natural painkillers that reduce muscle aches, so regular cardio could actually improve your mood and reduce aches associated with overexertion or vigorous activity.

Aside from its physical benefits, cardio also has mental benefits due to the increased oxygen reaching the brain during exercise. This will help maintain cognitive abilities such as memory recall, problem solving skills and speed of thinking — all of which are important components in daily life!

Types of Cardio

There are many different kinds of cardio exercises to choose from, ranging from low-impact activities to high-intensity ones. Each type of cardio exercise has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Knowing what type of cardio exercise best suits your needs and goals can help you make an informed decision when it comes to incorporating it into your workout routine. Let’s look into the different types of cardio exercises.


Running is one of the most popular forms of cardio and can be an effective way to get in a good workout. It is relatively low impact, and you can burn calories quickly by running for even a short period of time. To increase your calorie burn, try sprints or interval training, which is alternating periods of running with short bursts of higher speed. Running does require some skill and coordination, so make sure you warm up properly before starting. You should also wear proper shoes for running to reduce the risk of injury.


Cycling is an excellent cardio option for those looking for a low impact exercise that still provides effective heart health benefits. Cycling can be done outdoors or at the gym, on a road bike or a stationary bike. When done outdoors, you can choose from flat terrain routes to hilly terrain that help challenge and improve your fitness level. Stationary bikes are ideal for shorter bursts of higher intensity intervals, which helps to increase your heart rate and burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. Both normal cycling and interval cycling provide moderate levels of metabolic stress, help strengthen your muscles and will result in improved endurance over time.


Swimming is a great cardio exercise for all ages and body types. Swimming uses all major muscle groups, which helps tone your body; promotes cardiovascular health; and burns many calories within a short amount of time. Swimming can also be particularly helpful for those with joint problems or back pain, because the buoyancy of the water reduces stress from gravity on the joints. There are several different strokes to choose from in order to increase difficulty or add variation to your swimming routine: butterfly stroke, breaststroke, backstroke and freestyle. Try interval swimming — brief bursts of speed followed by periods of rest —for increased calorie-burning potential. Additionally, swimming can be done indoors or outdoors which provides additional flexibility in terms of time and location. Whether you’re a beginner or an elite swimmer, there are plenty of ways to add variety to your workouts in order to stay healthy and get fit!


High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of cardio where you alternate between short bursts of intense physical activity and short periods of rest. HIIT has been growing in popularity as an effective and efficient way to burn fat and calories. It’s usually performed using bodyweight exercises such as running, jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, burpees, etc., or with minimal equipment like a jump rope or kettlebells.

The key to HIIT is pushing your body to its max capacity during the exercise portions of your workout. This helps boost your metabolism as well as improve your aerobic and anaerobic endurance. With that being said, HIIT also comes with potential risks if done incorrectly – it’s important not to overdo it or push yourself too far in order to avoid injuries.

To get the most out of a HIIT cardio workout you should keep the work-to-rest ratio between 1:1 and 1:4 (for example 30 seconds of exercise followed by 15 second rest). Additionally, you should aim for exercises that keep your heart rate elevated during the entire interval time period to guarantee maximum results. Some examples include sprinting on a treadmill or track, rowing machine intervals or stair stepping intervals. Alternating between various machines may help spice up your workout while keeping it challenging and fresh!

Tips for Doing Cardio

Cardio exercises are an essential part of any fitness plan. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or just stay in shape, these types of workouts can help you reach your goals. But with so many different types of cardio, it can be difficult to know which workouts are the best for you. In this article, we will discuss some tips for choosing the right cardio workouts for your needs.

Choose the Right Workout

Cardio exercises provide an excellent way to improve your health, increase energy, and reduce stress. To ensure you reach your fitness goals, it is important to choose the right type of workout for your body and lifestyle. There are a variety of cardio options available that can accommodate different physical levels, as well as different time commitments.

The most popular types of cardio include: walking, running/jogging, cycling/spinning classes, rowing machines or elliptical machines. Each type of exercise provides a range of health benefits and can improve physical strength and endurance. When selecting an exercise regimen for yourself, you should consider factors such as your fitness level and the amount of time you can devote to it each week.

For those new to cardio exercises – or people who haven’t been very active for a long time – an easy pace on a treadmill or low-impact machine such as an elliptical may be sufficient to start with. This sort of exercise allows for gradual increases in intensity over a period of time as the user builds stamina and endurance.

Another option is high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which generally requires shorter bouts of intense activity separated by short periods of rest. HIIT workouts are great because they don’t require any special equipment other than what you already have at home, such as some weights or a jump rope. Although high-intensity workouts must be tailored specifically to each individual’s abilities and goals in order to be effective, they can produce big results in just minutes if done correctly.

In general, no matter what type of workout you choose – it should challenge you while still being within comfortable limits so that you continue exercising regularly over time in order to achieve your desired outcomes. Consider mixing up your workouts periodically so that they remain interesting; this will help ensure that even when motivation wanes there is always something new waiting for you at the gym!

Start Slow

It is important to start slow when it comes to cardiovascular exercise. As with any type of physical activity, it is best to gradually increase your level of intensity over time in order to minimize the risk of injury and give your body enough time to adjust and adapt. Begin by performing 10-15 minutes of moderate-intensity activity on a regular basis, such as walking, jogging, swimming or using an elliptical machine. Once you become comfortable doing these activities, you can increase the duration and intensity of the cardio session. Aim for at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week for optimal results.

Warm Up and Cool Down

Before starting any type of physical activity, it’s important to properly warm up and cool down to prepare your body for exercise and to help you avoid injury. Before beginning your cardio session, it is recommended to perform a light warm up such as walking or jogging at a slow pace for 5-10 minutes. This practice increases your heart rate gradually and helps you ease into the activity. Performing dynamic stretching or foam rolling the major muscle groups is another efficient way to prepare the body for cardiovascular exercise.

At the end of your workout it’s important to perform a cool down period in order to decelerate the cardio session and reduce Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness (PEMS). A proper cool down can consist of activities such as low intensity running, active stretching, yoga poses or foam rolling major muscle groups. The cool down period should be twice as long as your warm up; 10-15 minutes depending on your intensity level.

Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress is a key way to stay motivated and continue seeing results. When you set goals and track improvement over time, you will be able to see what you have already achieved and strive to achieve more. Writing down how long, how far, how frequent, or how intense your cardio workouts are each day will help you do this effectively.

It is important to have at least one measure that quantifies progress in your cardio workouts so that you can know if what you are doing is working for you. For example, if your goal for a certain program or workout is to increase the intensity of your workout over time, then tracking the length of time it takes you to do a certain distance would be an effective measure of progress.

Other popular metrics for tracking progress in cardio include heart rate zones or number of calories burned during each workout session as well as average speed per minute or average pace over the entire course. It is also very useful to keep a chart that documents changes in weight, body fat percentage and other measures over time. Having both short-term and long-term goals will allow you to see the larger picture while still maintaining motivation in between goals.


When you’re searching for cardio workouts, it’s important to remember that no single activity is the best. The best exercise for you is one that you enjoy and will actually do on a consistent basis. With a range of aerobic activities available, it’s possible to find an activity that suits your needs and interests. Running, biking, swimming and even strength training can all serve as effective cardio options. Ultimately, the cardiovascular workout you choose should be one that provides enjoyment while also pushing personal fitness to a higher level.

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