The Best Types Of Cardio For Your Fitness Routine?

You hate cardio, we know. As much as it seems like literal torture, cardio has persisted for so long as a workout routine as a result of its verifiable effects.

As a matter of fact, there are a variety of cardio regimens, each tailored to the particular fitness goal you wish to achieve. With this in mind, it is important to know just what type of cardio best fits in with your body and your routine.

As you already know, we take great pride in collating tons of fitness ideas and methods, and condensing them in an easy to interpret manner to help you in your quest for fitness.

So without further ado, here’s a list of the most common options for a cardio workout and how you can choose the one that’ll best meet your needs.

What is cardio?

Cardio, or cardiovascular exercises, work according to an extremely simple principle; the harder you exercise, the stronger your heart becomes.

All cardio exercises have this are their core, and you can typically measure the intensity of your workout by how much your heart rate goes up during your exercises. You can also vary the effectiveness of the cardio by the number of sessions and the length of time you carry out the exercise.

Cardio And Impact

The range of cardio you do can be categorized as high, low and no impact, depending on just how it is carried out. High impact cardio typically consists of exercises that involve both of your feet leaving the group.

This includes running, jumping or even dancing and, as the name implies, lead to the expenditure of more calories than the low and no impact exercises.

Low impact exercises involve workouts like walking or ellipticals in which one foot is always in contact with the group. No impact exercises on the other hand, involve no contact with the ground. These exercises include swimming, and cycling.

While low and no impact cardio might not be as evidently intense as high impact cardio, they can still serve as a great way to push past limits especially when you turn up the heat.

Like most exercises, a lot depends on how much effort you put into it, so some low impact cardio exercises may turn out to be more intense than some high impact exercises depending on how you do it.

Cardio and Heart Rate Monitoring

As we had previously stated, the most im important indicator of the intensity of your cardio exercise is your heart rate.

With the advent of wrist straps, iWatches and chest strap monitors, you can easily keep track of how hard your heart works during your workouts. If you’re not technologically inclined, or you simply just have a DIY attitude, you can calculate your ideal heat rate with the following formula.

Your maximum heart rate (MHR) is an indicator of the limit to which you can stress your heart during exercising in order to avoid injury and optimize benefits.

To calculate this, subtract your age from 220. For example, if you’re 40 years old then your maximum heart rate should be 220 minus 40, which is 180 bpm. This means than your maximum heart rate during exercise should be 180 bpm.

You can also use this number to figure out an ideal heartrate zone, which is the right number of heart beats you should have per minute in order to make your heart stronger while remaining safe. You can either multiple your maximum heart rate by decimal increments or just use an online calculator.

The Best Cardio Exercises

If you have been paying attention, we have been careful to categorize the different types of cardio exercises into the impact they have on your body, which should go a long way towards helping you selective that fits into your workout schedule.


Running is quintessential cardio. You’re essentially making use of all your muscle groups in a coordinated movement that stimulates your heart to higher performance. Running can help you burn as much as 500 calories in a session, and get this, its totally free. You dont need a gym membership or any fancy equipment to participate.

The only possible downside that comes with running as a cardio exercise is that it is a high impact exercise that may be hard on your knees, and as such it is best alternated with cross training and a lot of rest days.


This is essentially lower impact running with props. It works pretty much the same muscle groups as running and can be scaled up to burn up to a thousand calories if you make ramp up the intensity and make proper use of intervals.

Remember your maximum heart rate? When cycling, you should aim to keep it in the safe zone — right in the middle of your target heart rate zone — for the best results


Don’t sleep on running as an effective workout exercise. This low-impact workout has consistently shown amazing results in burning fat and toning the lower bodies of enthusiasts. Even better, it can also serve as a low cost introductory exercise to people who are new to fitness regimens, priming them for the cardio that is to come.

When walking, you should endeavor to maintain your maximum heart rate within 50 to 70 percent of your personal zone.


Swimming is low impact, but boy does it get results! It leads to what is aesthetically known as a swimmer’s bod for a very good reason, as it shreds and tones all in the same motion. Swimming safely helps you lose fat, strengthens your heart and tones your muscles and it requires nothing except the ability to swim and a pool of water.

Kettle Bell Swings

While Kettle Bell Swings aren’t typically regarded as cardio, I have included them on this list for one simple reason: they work. Kettle Bell Swings build strength and puts pressure on your heart, which is the essence of all cardio.

It is an excellent full body anaerobic/aerobic exercise, and it tones your arms, shoulders and heart in almost equal measure.

Jump Roping

Jump roping is a high impact exercise that is favored by boxers and other professional trainers for a reason; it works. This exercise burns hundreds of calories per session when done right, and it has been demonstrated to help build strength, endurance and speed.

One other point in favor of jumping rope as an exercise is that it can be done indoors or outdoors, and carried out with the cheapest equipment; a simple length of rope.


Remember when I said that the only drawback to running as a cardio exercise was its impact on your joints? Well, Ellipticals provide much the same workout as running without hurting your joints. Ellipticals also help tone up your upper body by providing handles that you can push as your quads handles most of the workout.

One of the main attractions of ellipticals is the almost effortless way it encourages people to work out more than they think they are, leading to more calories lost at a quicker time.

Stair Climber

Stair climber machines provide a pretty intense workout, and anyone who has ever worked out on one can testify that it burns a lot of calories and workouts your core in a manner that could be frightening if you’re not used to it.

Since stair climbers are essentially artificial hills, you can get pretty much the same benefits from climbing up a hill or jogging up a staircase. Stair climbers helps work out your core, tones your lower body and strengthens your heart.

HIIT Training

You probably don’t need me to tell you that HIIT or high intensity interval training is pretty hardcore. This exercise is ideal for burning fat, and provides an absolutely effective way to strengthen your heart.

Interval training calls for the use of alternating high and low intensity exercises to keep your heart rate elevated and help you burn the most calories in the least possible time. This type of exercise is the final every on this list for a reason, as it is super intense but ultimately super effective.

What are the benefits of cardio?

The Cleveland Clinic lists some of the potential benefits of regular cardio exercises as:

In addition to the above, cardio will help you burn fat, tone muscles and give access to a higher quality of life, all at the cost of a little time and a lot of dedication.