While there are many cardio exercises, depending on your fitness level, health concerns, and goals, this guide to the best cardio workouts will help you find the perfect workout. Treadmill workouts and interval training cover all of your options to find the perfect one.
Benefits, Risks, and Which Cardio Exercises Is Right For Your Next Workout
The health benefits of regular cardio are well-documented for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. Cardio is also an essential part of any exercise program and for everyone, even those focused on building strength and muscle mass. Some of the many health benefits include:
- Strengthen your immune system
- Build aerobic endurance
- Help enhances your sleep
Below you will see four types of cardio compared. The kind of cardio can also impact the results depending on your fitness goals.
Who is this best for: Beginners, seniors, and those wanting to perform light cardio as a warm-up or cool-down exercise
If you’re new to working out, start with brisk walking. Walking provides cardiovascular benefits and applies to all experience levels and age ranges. It’s also a weight-bearing movement, which helps maintain healthy bones, joints, and muscles.
Cost: There is no cost for the exercise; however, a good pair of athletic shoes and a water bottle are needed for most walks.
Risks and Cautions: While gentle, first-time exercisers should stay at a slower walking pace to reduce the risk of injury.
Tips and Tricks: Use the RPE or Rate of Perceived Exertion scale, aim for a 2-3 on the scale.
Who is this best for: Those who are moderate to advanced in fitness levels or those who want to enhance their endurance will find the gym a valuable tool.
Running offers a more strenuous approach than walking, which can help increase your aerobic fitness, extend your endurance, and burn more calories.
However, beginners should be cautious because form and footwear significantly affect their risks of overuse injuries, shin splints, and fractures.
Cost: There is no cost for the exercise; however, a good pair of athletic shoes and a water bottle are needed for most runs.
Risks and Cautions: Running has some of the highest injury risks among cardio exercises. If you’re injured, stop running right away and take time to rest. Talk to your doctor if you experience persistent pain or if your injury worsens.
Tips and Tricks: A strong core can be important for running because it helps maintain your running form as you fatigue.
Who is this best for: An easy, full-body cardio workout that’s gentle on your joints.
Swimming is a low-impact sport that people of all fitness levels can do. This makes it an ideal exercise for injury rehabilitation, seniors, and people who want to improve their endurance and strength by working your upper and lower body muscles.
Cost: Swimming requires a place to swim. A Membership fee or entrance passes for a recreation center, pool facility, or public swimming are needed.
Risks and Cautions: Swimming is generally safe for most people, including pregnant women, people with chronic diseases like MS, and those who have respiratory health concerns like asthma.
Tips and Tricks: Kickboarding is a great way to build strength and improve your swimming technique if you struggle initially in the water.
4. Machine-Assisted Cardio
Who is this best for: A most advanced workouts focus on strength building and those who want to push their endurance limits and burn a lot of calories.
Cycling and rowing are excellent forms of cardio if you want to push your heart rate and lung capacity to their limits. They both have significant strength-building aspects, making them unique among cardio exercises. Cycling will help you build endurance in your lower body, while rowing is a complete movement that helps strengthen your lung capacity.
Cost: Machine-Assisted Cardio requires the equipment. Either Buying a stationary bike or rowing machine or having a gym membership is needed.
Risks and Cautions: Warm up before high-intensity training to ensure proper form. This can help prevent lower back pain from occurring.
Tips and Tricks: Your goal should be to maintain a challenging cardio workout while also outputting power. Set the resistance of your rower or bike to the point where it feels difficult.
What Works for You Is The Best Form of Cardio
If you enjoy walking and hate using machines, enjoy your walk. There is almost no need to do a form of cardio that you do not want. The cardio machine is excellent for days when the weather is terrible but enjoy your time outside if the sun is out.
Stay hydrated during your workout and have a post-workout meal or drink ready for optimal recovery.