Doing cardio exercises and cardio workouts is crucial for maintaining your cardiovascular health, and it is also a great way to lose weight and get an aesthetic body.
Although most people dread doing cardio workouts because they imagine chugging away on a treadmill, there are tons of cardio workouts that are both challenging and exciting to do.
Not only can you do aerobic cardio workouts such as jogging or walking, but you can also do anaerobic cardio workouts for weight loss, such as sprinting or high-intensity interval training.
Keep reading below to see the best cardio workouts for weight loss and learn more about which cardiovascular workouts you should do to lose weight!
Should You Do Aerobic or Anaerobic Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss?
First of all, it is important to understand the difference between anaerobic and aerobic cardio workouts.
The aerobic and anaerobic energy systems are the two main energy systems of the human body. Aerobic means “with oxygen consumption,” and anaerobic means “without oxygen consumption.”
There is a third energy system as well, which is the ATP system. This system only functions for a very short amount of time.
During physical activity, all three energy systems function at all times, yet the intensity of the activity and your overall physical condition determines which energy system is most dominant.
During anaerobic exercise such as an all-out sprint, the most dominant energy system is the anaerobic phosphagen system. This system provides immediately available ATP-CP for 5-10 seconds.
During aerobic exercise such as a steady run, the body uses the aerobic energy system, converting ATP from either carbohydrates or fat, depending on the run’s speed.
If the run is intense yet longer than 2-minutes and shorter than 20-minutes, carbohydrates will be the preferred energy source. If the run is more moderate and longer than 20-minutes, fat will become the preferred energy source.
During light aerobic exercise, such as a walk, the body will utilize fat as the preferred energy source.
Fat use is most prevalent in aerobic exercise, and repeated aerobic training can affect the use of fat as an energy source. Training stimulates muscle cells to produce more and large mitochondria structures of cells, and these mitochondria structures produce ATP for energy.
With increased anaerobic training sessions, fat will be more predominately used during exercise than glucose.
Aerobic exercise uses fat as a predominant energy source, so it can be a better option for people looking to lose weight.
However, anaerobic exercise may burn more calories long-term, while also helping develop more lean muscle mass, which will increase your basal metabolic rate.
Additionally, although HIIT or Olympic anaerobic exercises can produce amazing results in a short amount of time, doing HIIT workouts or other forms of high-impact exercise is too strenuous for a lot of people.
For example, a good personal trainer will instruct those who have never begun a physical fitness routine before to stick with low-impact aerobic exercises because it will help them build a foundation of physical fitness without injuring themselves or wearing themselves out.
Another example is people who are recovering from injuries. Whether you are dealing with chronic back pain, recovering from something like Jumper’s Knee, managing arthritis and joint pain throughout your body, or any other form of physical injury, doing low-impact aerobic exercises can help you lose weight without causing any flare-ups in your injury.
Lastly, low-impact aerobic exercises can be great for advanced trainees, and even people looking to become a professional athlete or those who are professional athletes (like myself) can benefit from low impact aerobic exercise. I do low-impact aerobic exercises both during my season and in the off-season for some extra activity that doesn’t wear down my body.
Therefore, the best option is a combination of both aerobic and anaerobic cardio workouts for weight loss.
So, considering these factors, here are the best cardio workouts for weight loss!
Best Weight Loss Cardio Workouts
Not only have I listed the best type of cardio exercise for weight loss here, but I also provide some of my favorite cardio workouts. Try them out and let me know how you enjoy them!
Walking is one of the best cardio workouts for weight loss because when you walk, the body preferentially uses body fat as the primary energy source. Additionally, it is one of the healthiest forms of exercise.
As stated by a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,
“Walking is a simple health behavior that can reduce rates of chronic disease and ameliorate rising health care costs, with only a modest increase in the number of activity-related injuries.”
Walking is our basic form of physical movement, and it can increase your physical health, improve your mental health and well-being, and provide the basis for a well-rounded weight loss plan.
According to the American Journal of Public Health,
“Although walking is popular, few people do enough walking to benefit their health. Those who walk as well as engage in other physical activities appear more likely to achieve recommended levels of activity.”
If you struggle with walking enough each day on your own, try forming a walking group with some friends or family who live near you. You can walk each morning or night, depending on your schedule. According to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine,
“Walking groups are effective and safe with good adherence and wide-ranging health benefits. They could be a promising intervention as an adjunct to other healthcare or as a proactive health-promoting activity.”
Fasted cardio in the morning is my personal favorite way to walk a couple of miles. Usually, I do a 30-45 minute walk every morning. Fasted cardio is great for many additional reasons as well. If your goal is to lose weight, starting your morning with some fasted walking is a great place to begin!
If you begin consistently walking each day, not only will you improve your ability to lose weight, but you will improve your overall health in a variety of ways as well.
As stated by a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
“Recent studies have linked regular physical activity with reduced likelihood of developing coronary heart disease. Even low- and moderate-intensity exercise such as walking, when carried out consistently, is associated with important cardiovascular health benefits. Walking has also been shown to reduce anxiety and tension and aid in weight loss. Regular walking may help improve cholesterol profile, help control hypertension, and slow the process of osteoporosis.”
Walking is the simplest cardio exercise and it is also one of the most effective cardio workouts for weight loss!
Although jogging may be a little tougher on the joints than some of the other exercises in this list, it still is one of the healthiest forms of exercise and one of the best cardio workouts for weight loss!
Along with burning calories, jogging at a steady pace will help with the release of endorphins, as well as toxins from your body, which generally makes us happier and more relaxed.
Jogging is a great cardio workout to lose weight because you can burn slightly more calories than if you are walking, but you do not need any additional equipment. In most cases, comfortable running tights, running shoes, and a simple sweat-absorbing t-shirt are enough.
As a specific suggestion, the tights and sweatshirts from Ivy Park clothing are great options for joggers.
However, you should be careful that you are always running with good form. Jogging can be taxing on your hips and lower back if not done properly. If you would like to build a habit of jogging, I suggest you start with a one-mile jog and then slowly increase your pace, and distance.
Remember, your form is the most important part of your success with jogging!
To make your jogging workouts even more successful, try using some of the best supplements for runners.
Running stairs can be a replacement for jogging on the ground and it will provide you more benefits too! You just have to be sure that you don’t try to run up the stairs too fast so that there is a chance of falling down.
In the beginning, do it slowly. With time, you can increase your speed.
Running stairs is a great cardio workout for weight loss and it burns significantly more calories than walking or jogging.
A simple cardio workout for running stairs is to find a suitable staircase and run up, then walk down, and repeat Every Minute on the Minute. This is one of the best sprinting workouts for weight loss!
Jumping rope is an outstanding cardio exercise and it doesn’t take long to do a good cardio workout with only a jump rope.
Jump rope workouts are a great form of cardio because not only will they help you build stronger lungs and a stronger heart, but they also are great for your calves, ankles, knees, shoulders, and core.
Although jumping rope involves repeatedly jumping up and down, it is a very controlled movement and it is actually a low-impact cardio exercise.
ERG workouts are great for building cardiovascular endurance along with your lower body muscles (primarily hamstrings and quadriceps), and your back muscles. Using a rowing machine is a full-body workout and it is great for burning a lot of calories in a short amount of time.
CrossFit workouts often involve the use of an ERG rowing machine because of how intense of a cardio workout rowing is!
Swimming is a great low-impact exercise and it is certainly one of the best cardio exercises for weight loss. Swimming burns tons of calories and will give you incredible cardiovascular endurance.
Swimming is a great cardio exercise for people with back pain or other joint pain because doing your cardio workout in the water will alleviate a lot of your pain.
You can choose to do long endurance swims, or you can choose to do short swim sprints. Either way, swimming is a tremendous cardio exercise!
If you are going to swim often, you might want a Swimmo Swim Watch to track your results!
Cycling is a fantastic cardio exercise whether you do cycling outside or ride a stationary bike.
If you don’t want to do cycling outside, you can use a stationary bike at your local gym or you can easily fit a stationary bike in your home gym.
There are tons of stationary bike benefits to take advantage of! Specifically, riding a stationary bike is an incredible leg workout and cardiovascular workout for your heart and lungs.
If you put a stationary bike in your home gym, every morning you can wake up and start using your stationary bike before going to work. After doing this exercise, take a nice bath which will make you fresh and energetic for the whole day.
Want to make your stationary bike workout more intense? Try wearing an elevation training mask while doing your workout!
Pilates Reformer Exercises
When Joseph Pilates, the twentieth-century inventor of the controlled breathing, stretching, postural alignment, and stamina-building workout program known around the world as Pilates, invented the fitness routine, he did not think it would become a health and fitness craze.
Today, Pilates is practiced worldwide from western nations like the United States and Canada to African countries like South Africa and Kenya, and it is a great low-impact exercise.
Pilates can do many things for the human body; from helping to alleviate back pain to improving balance and conditioning in both the young and old.
As a low-impact cardio exercise, Pilates, when practiced consistently, is known to:
- Improve Flexibility
- Increase Strength
- Help Develop Absolute Control of the Human Body
- Increase Endurance
For many years, athletes and dancers who have suffered fatigue or several forms of injury have used Pilates to recover and regain their physical shape.
Whether using a yoga mat or a specialized training apparatus like the Pilates reformer machine, there are many ways Pilates can be used to improve strength, balance, and flexibility.
Pilates is an outstanding cardio workout!
Trampoline training is one of the best cardio workouts for weight loss because it is easy on the joints and incredibly effective for burning calories!
Trampoline training is often called “rebounding” and is used by individuals going through physical therapy or lower-body injuries, NASA astronauts in training, professional athletes, and an extensive list of other trainees. Trampoline training is effective for anyone looking to build stability in their muscles and joints, while also not stressing the joints with forceful impact on the ground.
As you bounce on a rebounder trampoline, the main concern for you is to make sure you are constantly aware of your body position in relation to the frame for a healthy bounce.
Trampoline workouts can provide benefits for many aspects of your physical conditioning. In terms of calorie burning, trampoline training is excellent since it is a fairly intense aerobic workout, and works many muscles in the body at the same time.
According to a study published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine,
“A group of previously sedentary college women who trained on rebound equipment three times a week for eight weeks showed a 9% increase in max (aerobic conditioning) but no significant change in percent body fat. A control group showed no significant changes. The improvement was similar to results produced by conventional aerobic dance programs of like intensity but moderate in comparison to other established forms of aerobic exercise.”
if you plan on buying a rebounder for home use, make sure to choose one that is made of high-quality materials. We recommend the Needak rebounder, as it is extremely sturdy and it comes with different options for different weights.
As you can see, trampolining and health go hand in hand!
If you are interested in finding the best trampoline to purchase for your training sessions, check out Hot Trampoline to learn more!
When you think about yoga you might think about slow stretching, but there are multiple types of yoga and regardless, yoga is one of the best cardio workouts.
Most yoga classes are not as intense as many of the cardio workouts for weight loss I already listed in this article, but yoga styles such as hot yoga or the 21 Day Yoga Shred program are very intense!
Yoga is one of the best cardio exercises because you will strengthen nearly every muscle in your body and become significantly more flexible. It is also another great low-impact exercise that nearly everyone can do, even if you must start out with beginner yoga. Additionally, it is one of the best exercises for neuropathy because it does not put a lot of stress or pressure on your nerves.
If you would like to sign up for an online yoga subscription so you can do yoga every day as your main cardio workout for weight loss, I suggest you use YogaDownload.com.
Concluding Thoughts – The Best Cardio Workouts for Losing Weight
Doing cardio workouts for weight loss might seem boring until you understand how many different options there are. Additionally, you can do these workouts at fitness centers such as Anytime Fitness or your local YMCA, or you can do many of them outside, which is even better for your health.
These weight loss cardio workouts will help you burn body fat and improve your overall health!
If you are looking for another resource to use for health and fitness advice, you should check out All Day Fitness.
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