From weight training to jogging in the park, there are hundreds of ways to improve your health and lose weight. One of the most effective ways is through cardio, both in short, powerful and intense bursts and slow, low-intensity workouts.
In this guide, we’ll share five cardio fitness ideas – from jogging in the park or on a treadmill to swimming at your local pool – that can help you burn fat, reduce your risk of developing heart disease and become far more energetic and active.
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Jogging (or walking)
When it comes to cardio fitness, sometimes the most basic workouts are the best for improving your health. Jogging is a fantastic way to burn calories and improve your body’s cardiovascular fitness, improving almost all aspects of your health.
Best of all, it’s a form of cardio exercise that you can do anywhere. From your local park to a treadmill in your garage, all you need for a jogging workout is some open space, fresh air and a supportive pair of running shoes.
Like any form of cardio exercise, it’s best to start small when you make jogging part of your fitness routine. Start with a 15-minute jog around your local park or on your treadmill, then gradually increase your jogging time until it’s at least 30 minutes.
Once you can jog for 30 minutes comfortably, focus on improving your pace instead of extending your workout. Try to add a few hundred yards to you 30-minute jog on a monthly basis and you’ll soon be running at a serious pace.
Jogging is one of the most effective forms of cardio exercise for burning calories, but has some downsides. One of the biggest disadvantages of jogging is that it’s hard on your knees and ankles, particularly if you have flat feet or existing injuries.
Avoid the side effects of high-impact jogging and distance running by warming up well and, if you still seem to be affected by knee and ankle pain, walking instead of jogging whenever you exercise.
Would you like to make jogging part of your cardio fitness routine? Learn the right form for running to avoid injuries, feel better and improve your mile time with some training tips from Right Form Running.
While jogging might be the easiest form of cardio exercise, it’s often quite hard on the joints in your knees and ankles. Swimming is a great alternative cardio fitness workout that’s completely impact-free and far less likely to result in injuries.
From freestyle to backstroke, all forms of swimming are great for pumping blood to your muscles and improving your heart health. A half-hour of swimming will leave any non-athlete feeling tired out and majorly calorically depleted.
Like with jogging, it’s best to start small with your swimming routine. Swim lengths of your local pool – or, if you have a swimming pool at home, your own pool – for 10 to 15 minutes. Once you’re comfortable, increase the pace but not the workout time.
A good swimming workout should include a variety of strokes and techniques, from the classic freestyle to more advanced techniques like butterfly. This variation offers a good blend of cardio fitness and resistance training for your muscles.
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While yoga isn’t a pure cardio workout, it offers a great mix of resistance training, relaxation techniques and light cardio training. A one-hour yoga session will give your heart a great workout, burning calories and improving your health.
One of the best ways to increase the intensity and difficulty of yoga is to raise the temperature. Hot yoga – yoga in a heated room – burns more calories and assists your body in refreshing itself of toxins by sweating out excess moisture.
Yoga also improves your flexibility, making it easier for you to practice other forms of cardio fitness like running, swimming and kickboxing. Because of this, it’s a great ‘accessory’ form of training that you can add to your weekly exercise routine.
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From the ancient art of muay Thai to modern forms of karate, there are numerous styles of kickboxing. While their techniques and rules may differ, the results are the same: rapid weight loss, better health and massively improved cardio fitness.
Kickboxing is one of the best ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness, and it’s something that anyone can do. Although many kickboxers compete in fights, you’ll get all of the benefits with none of the injuries by practicing kickboxing technique.
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From pushups to jumping squats, plyometric exercises help you get in shape using nothing more than your own weight. Although plyometrics are often used to build strength, they’re also a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness.
Putting together a plyometric workout is simple, and there’s no need for any special equipment or training. From bodyweight squats to pushups, the basic movements of plyometric training can easily be performed in your living room or yard.
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Which form of cardio fitness is the most effective?
Whether you want to lose weight or simply improve your heart health, some forms of cardio training are more effective at burning calories and getting your body into gear than others.
If you’d like to maximize your results in the shortest possible time, knowing which forms of cardio are the most effective is important. Read our blog post on the types of cardio that burn the most calories to learn how to create an efficient workout.