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Top 10 Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss

Exercises that target your cardiovascular system are great for weight loss because they get your heart to beat at the target heart rate zone where your body can burn fat.

1. Running – Running has many fitness benefits. It gets your heart rate up more quickly than other forms of exercise, which can help you burn more calories. Since it’s a high-impact exercise, running also helps build strong bones and ligaments. Other than a good pair of shoes, you don’t need any fancy equipment either. The hardest thing about running is the fact that it takes time to build up the strength and stamina to keep going. Many people begin by alternating walking and running.

2. Biking – Riding a bike also burns lots of calories and increases endurance, whether outdoors or on a cycling machine. You can continue to challenge yourself by increasing speed and resistance. It is also an activity that can be easily incorporated into your daily life – ride your bike to work or to run errands. Unlike running, biking is low impact on your joints.

3. Cross-Country Skiing – This is one of the best ways to give your whole body a cardio workout. As you move your arms and legs on skis or an indoor arc trainer, you’ll burn lots of calories. Of course, the movement can take a little while to master, and you’ll need to be somewhere that gets enough snow in the winter.

4. Swimming – Like cross-country skiing, swimming is a full-body exercise. Since your joints are supported in the water, you don’t have to worry about high-impact injuries that you can get in other sports. Swimming is also a good activity for cross-training for other cardio exercises.

5. Elliptical Trainer – This popular gym machine works your body out more than a treadmill with less impact. You can also increase resistance and speed while moving your body in a natural way.

6. Rowing – This machine isn’t as popular in the gym, but it can give you just as much of a cardio workout. It takes time to learn how to row properly on a rowing machine, but once you get the hang of it, you can work your upper and lower body at various resistance levels. Or if you happen to have a rowboat, rowing around a nearby lake is another option.

7. Step Aerobics – This is a fun alternative to high-impact activities. Whether in a class or following along with a video, doing choreographed moves around a step platform can be a surprisingly intense workout that targets the lower body.

8. Kickboxing – Like step aerobics, kickboxing offers a choreographed routine to burn calories. You’ll work your upper and lower body with all the kicks and punches, which can also improve your coordination.

9. Jump Roping – You may not have jumped rope since primary school, but it’s another great way to burn calories. You can easily start by jumping for a few minutes at a time with breaks, then work up to longer intervals. You can even add variety by doing different moves such as jumping on one foot or swinging the rope backwards.

10. Walking – Perhaps the most accessible cardio workout, walking is something that can be done anywhere and only requires some good shoes. If you walk at an accelerated pace for 30-45 minutes, you can still get your heart rate up to the fat-burning zone.

Sarah Charles owns her own exercise education site:

Exercise Science Degree Programs. She considers herself to be a fitness guru and enjoys writing articles about staying healthy and fit.

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