Whether you love it, or loathe it, cardio should be an important part of your workout routine. You can set aside separate days for hitting cardio, or add in 15-20 minutes to the end of your workout. No matter which option you prefer, you want to make sure you're maximizing the results each time. These forms of cardio are great if you're just getting into working out, or if you're a pro looking for new activities to add into their routine. Here are some of the most effective forms of cardio to try during your next workout routine.
Jumping rope is a high-intensity form of cardio. Seriously, try to jump rope without stopping for as long as you can. I can only last 2-3 minutes before I need a break. Jumping rope will really get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. You can burn about 1000 calories per hour while jumping rope. It helps to increase your body’s strength, stamina, and speed. Start it off easy with just 2-3 sets of 30 seconds, and don't give up if you mess up, just reset and keep on jumping!
The elliptical is a great form of cardio, it is a step up from walking, but not as fast as running. To make it more effective, you should be on a high incline to really work your legs. This is a great way to work your quads and glutes. When I jump on the elliptical, I'll usually alternate between using my legs + arms then I'll take my hands off and use just my legs. This breaks the workout into 30 seconds intervals making it seem more bearable.
Can you smell the fresh air? Running burns about 600 calories per hour. Running also helps you build muscle and definition in your legs. It is also a great way to start your workout to build up to more intense forms of cardio or workout routines, by getting your heart rate up. It will help you get in shape and increase your athletic ability. If you are starting out as a beginner, I recommend trying out a run/walk routine for a certain time or mileage. So 1 minute of running, 30 seconds of walking, for 15 minutes total.
Whether you choose to cycle outside, hop on a spin bike, or maybe you even have a Peleton, cycling is an excellent form of cardio. This type of cardio really works your quads, hamstrings, and calves to help to build up those muscles. It burns about 600 calories per hour. I usually stick to indoor cycling so I can zone out or watch some Netflix to keep my mind off the burn!
If you have access to a pool, use it! One advantage swimming has is it's low impact AND it's a full-body workout. Some of the other forms of cardio we mentioned focus more on your lower body, while swimming hits your back, chest, arms, legs, core, and more! You can burn up to 600 calories per hour. It is the most efficient form of cardio to burn a large amount of calories to help you lose unwanted fat.
Talk about versatility! You can look up a few different types of HIIT workouts, but here's a quick overview. HIIT stands for "High-Intensity Interval Training", aka short rest times between sets measured with an interval timer. You can do full-body workouts, ab specific workouts, or target a specific muscle group and plan a workout around it. I recommend setting up an actual timer that beeps at you (there are free apps or websites for this). and planning the workout ahead of time. If this is your first time taking on a HIIT workout, stick to a 15-20 minute session, and work your way up from there.
These forms of cardio will help you get your heart rate up, burn unwanted fat and build muscle. Start slow and go at your own pace. Do not overwork yourself, going too hard too fast will lead to injuries. Listen to your body and do the most effective form of cardio that is right for you.