What Are The Best Cardio Exercises?
When it comes to fitness, no two workouts are created equal. Cardio is an essential part of every physical fitness program, whether you want to lose weight, get fit, or just be healthier. However, it's important to vary your cardio workouts to help prevent injuries, keep up your endurance levels and avoid a plateau in performance and results. That's why we've made a list of the 9 best cardio exercises to keep you moving and fire up your workouts!
Skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises around! According to a study by the American Association for Health, just 10 minutes a day jumping rope was comparable to 30 minutes of jogging. Plus, it burns more calories per minute and engages more muscles than swimming or rowing, while still qualifying as a low-impact workout. Making it one of the best cardio exercises for taking your HIIT workout to the next level.
Sports scientists agree that cardio-boxing is one of the best forms of exercise because it conditions the whole body and provides a complete workout for your cardiovascular and endurance systems. In addition to boosting your strength and cardio, boxing improves balance, coordination, reactivity, and agility, it has also be known to help boost self-confidence and relieve pent up stress.
Ah, burpees. The exercise you love to hate, however, you can't make a list of the best cardio exercises and not have this one make the cut. Burpees are a full-body training experience, they build strength in many different areas, improving endurance and maximising the body's overall conditioning. They also get that heart-rate pumping, which means more calories burned in a shorter amount of time.
One of the most powerful ways to get your heart rate up is the Ski-trainer, a cardio device that's supposed to simulate cross-country skiing. To get the Ski-trainer or Ski-erg going, you need to aggressively and powerfully bend at the knees and hips while also pulling downwards hard on a pair of ropes attached to a variable-resistance fan. It's a potent and versatile workout. You can go for endurance or you could break it up into aggressive intervals, pushing hard for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 seconds, making it a killer HIIT workout.
Mountain climbers are just as much of a core exercise as a cardio one, giving you the most bang for your buck when you want to boost the intensity of your workouts.
This efficient and simple movement works several joints and muscles at the same time, from your neck down to your feet. In particular, it targets your triceps, deltoids, abs, back, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and glutes, which makes it a staple for any quick and effective cardio workout.
Climbing stairs is a great way to strengthen and tone your legs – from your calves to your butt. The combination of the simultaneous ankle, knee and hip extension against gravity means you work your legs naturally and without the impact commonly associated with jogging, running or sprinting. Pushing your body up stair after stair is a great cardio exercise that burns lots of calories while developing both strength and power. And since every staircase ends somewhere, once you get to the top and walk carefully back down, you end up interval training without even realising it.
Kettlebell swings provide a full-body workout while burning massive calories. This explosive movement engages nearly every muscle, including the glutes, hamstrings, adductors, quads and calves. At the same time, it builds core strength and improves spine stability. Due to its explosive nature, the kettlebell swing is ideal for both cardio and resistance training.
Read about our Top 3 Kettlebell Exercises here
Jumping jacks might seem like a basic exercise, but they offer some serious benefits, including increasing your heart rate and improving muscular strength and endurance. Since jumping jacks only require your body weight, they're also a great cardio exercise that you can do anywhere and anytime.
For conditioning, an AirBike is the perfect tool for interval training. There is no programming required. You control the intensity, as the bike uses wind resistance via a large fan, so the harder you work, the more resistance you feel. This is another machine that you can attack by going hard for 30 seconds, then resting 30 seconds; think of repeating that pattern for 6 minutes. Alternatively, you can pick a calorie goal (consider 20 calories). Hit that every minute. As soon as you complete your 20 calories, you rest until the start of the next minute. Do this for 6 to 10 minutes, and you'll be reaping those cardio benefits in no time!
Cardio workouts are an essential component to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Choose your preferred exercise and share with us how many calories you burned below.