Why is it that when people hear the word “cardio workout,” the mind automatically goes to a painful hour on the treadmill or a sweat-soaked afternoon in a fitness class? It was a primary academy gym guru who made you believe that an hour of running numerous times a week was the only way to stay fit, or perhaps it’s a viewpoint that you created after walking.
Whatever the circumstances of cardio workout often-bad reputation, if you want to get your heart-pumping, you don’t need to scrape out a full hour to reap the many physical and mental benefits of engaging in a cardio workout. No, that’s not true at all. You only need 20 minutes.
This full-length cardio workout routine involves no floor work, includes low-impact modifications, and keeps your heart rate in the endurance cardio zone. Throughout the workout, you’ll also target muscles in the thighs, inner thighs, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, shoulders, and more. With quick transitions between exercises, my workout buddy, Peanut, looking on, this is one cardio workout that will never feel boring or painful.
Benefits of Cardio workout
You can do very few activities for a short period with all of the physical and mental health benefits that a cardio workout offers. Some of the known benefits of cardio workout include:
- It Burns fat and calories, making it easier to lose weight
- Enhances your sleep quality, especially if the exercise is moderate to vigorous in intensity
- Expands your lung capacity, or the amount of air that your lungs can hold
- Improves your sex life by increasing your body’s ability to become aroused, enhancing your body image, and even potentially helping to treat medication-related sexual dysfunction
- Increases bone density when you do weight-bearing cardio exercises like hiking or climbing stairs
- lowers stress, in part, by improving your ability to cope with issues in a positive way
- Promotes feeling good and can even help relieve depression5 and anxiety
- Provides more confidence in how you look and feel
- Reduces your risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some forms of cancer
- Sets a good example for those around you, encouraging them to exercise with you
- Strengthens the heart so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood
cardio workout for beginners
If you are new to exercise, there are a few beginner workouts that can help you start. These include:
- Cardio for Absolute Beginners: This program lets you pick any machine or activity that you’re comfortable with.
- Elliptical Workout for Beginners: The elliptical is excellent for building strength with low impact.
- Stationary Bike Workout for Beginners: This 20-minute indoor cycling workout is great if you want an activity with no impact
Another option is to start with about 10–20 minutes of brisk walking at a moderate-intensity. This means that you should be at a Level 5 or 6 on a perceived exertion scale of zero to 10, where sitting is zero, and the highest level of effort possible is 10.
Guidelines for Cardio workout
The frequency of your workouts will depend on your fitness level and your schedule. The general guidelines are:
- For public health, try moderately-intense cardio 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, or vigorously-intense cardio workout for 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week. You can also do a mixture.
- For weight loss and to avoid regaining weight, you may need to do more than 300 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to meet your goals.
- To maintain a healthy body weight, you need about 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week.
cardio workout for women
Here are some of the most popular cardio workouts for women:
Walking is an excellent activity you can do when you first add cardio to your workout routine. Go for a brisk walk in the park on the weekend, or give yourself extra time between meetings to walk instead of taking transit. Walking is also a simple activity that you can do to alleviate period cramps. Depending on the terrain, you can burn up to 200 calories just by walking for 30 minutes.
Running or walking stairs increases your cardio workout intensity because you’re lifting your body weight against gravity. You’re also targeting different muscle groups depending on whether you’re running up or running down. You are running while on your period is also good for your physical and mental health.
This playground pastime is back! In addition to improving your balance and coordination, jumping rope burns more than 10 calories per minute. You’ll also tone the muscles in your back and arms as you swing the rope.
Cycling is another excellent low-impact exercise that you can do, even when you’re on your period. Stationary bikes allow you to change the gears to increase or decrease resistance so you can adjust the intensity of your workout. A spin class at your local gym can burn up to 600 calories in a 45-minute session.
The rowing machine may be less common than the treadmill at the gym, but that doesn’t make it any less effective at giving you a full-body cardio workout. A moderate rowing session uses 80% of your body’s muscles and burns up to 300 calories in 30 minutes.
Burpees combine jumping, squats, and planks in one swift movement. A great warm-up on their own, burpees can also be combined with an interval training routine to mix up your cardio exercises.
Rollbacks are a form of abdominal exercise done on the mat or an exercise ball. You can do rollups with free weights in your hands to tone your upper body as well. Try doing 5–10 reps and 2–3 sets of rollbacks as part of your cardio routine.
Mountain climber pushups
Mountain climbers are like running on the spot — but from a pushup position. Alternate bringing the knees into the chest and add 5–10 pushups in between sets. Combine mountain climbers, rollbacks, and burpees for an intense cardio circuit workout!
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a workout that combines short bursts of different bodyweight exercises like burpees, pushups, and mountain climbers with cardio activities like jump rope, running, or rowing. With HIIT, you want to alternate between high-intensity and low-intensity exercises for several sets.
cardio workout for men
Workouts for cardio can be done using any movement that raises your heart rate. This means you can come up with a fat-burning cardio routine without the use of gym equipment. Give this interval workout a try. Do 4 sets of the circuit below, resting for a minute after the burpees.
- As many pushups as you can in 30 seconds
- 60 reps of jumping jacks
- 20 reps of burpees
What makes rowing a great cardio workout is it trains your upper and lower body without exposing your joints and ligaments to high impact levels. It’s also a good exercise for weight loss. A person weighing 180 lb can burn more than 800 calories after an hour of moderately-paced rowing. Here’s how to do this exercise:
- When doing the exercise, use your entire body and always keep your chest up.
- Sit on the sliding seat and place your feet on the footplate.
- Keep your back straight, knees bent, and grab on the handle.
- Then, push the footplate with your legs and simultaneously pull the handle towards your torso.
- Make sure to tighten your core and hinge at the hips when your legs are fully stretched.
- Finish by returning to your original position.
Ever wonder why most boxers have the jump rope in their training routines? Well, that’s because it’s affordable, great for conditioning and coordination, and burns many calories. In fact, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities, a 10-minute jump rope session burns the same calories as running at an 8-mile pace. Try doing intervals of fast and slow jumps for 30 minutes. If you tire easily, jump as fast as possible for 20 seconds and rest for the next 10. Repeat as desired.
This won’t be a great list of good cardio workouts without cycling. It’s known to improve your cardio endurance, aid in weight loss, and build your lower body. Depending on your weight and the intensity, an hour of cycling can burn 400 to 1000 calories. Here’s a sample workout based on the Tabata method: Cycle as hard as possible for 20 seconds, coast for the next 10. Repeat 6-8 times. Here’s another sample workout that might work for you:
- Ride 1 mile. Bike the first .25 mile at 90% maximum effort.
- Then, bike the middle .50 mile at 75% maximum effort.
- Bike the final .25 mile at 95% maximum effort.
- Rest for 3 minutes; repeat 2 to 3 times.
This total-body workout begins when you start treading water. The catch with swimming is you’re fighting gravity in the water, so your muscles work harder in keeping you afloat without breaks. The critical thing to remember is to incorporate various strokes when swimming as some strokes, like the breaststroke, burn fewer calories than others. You can train better with these tips:
- Tread water and do a few laps.
- Have some intervals, say 2 minutes water treading and then 1 minute resting, especially if you’re not a strong swimmer.
- Repeat as much as you can.
- If you can swim at a higher level, swim faster as possible.
HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)
HIIT is a new and popular form of exercise that gives an intensive aerobic option shorter to complete than traditional cardio training. Compared with aerobic exercise, HIIT eliminates the steady-state pace where your body has adjusted to the workout’s speed, conserving some calories. HIIT can be performed better with this sample exercise, finishing the circuit four times with a 1-minute rest after the curls in every round.
- Jump rope in 1 minute.
- Do dips in 12 to 15 reps.
- Perform high knees with 30 agents in each knee.
- Perform curls with resistance bands for 20 reps.
This cardio workout is advantageous to those near a track field because you’ll utilize the oval. Because this involves running, it improves your cardiovascular health, increases muscle mass, and burns body fat. Do this weight training to the next level with these steps:
- Start with a 10-minute warm-up.
- Run-on the field with a 60-second rest for each interval.
- End with a cool-down exercise for 10 minutes.
This workout does not use any cardio equipment, only a barbell, but it provides intense training. You can start with a 95-lb barbell, but you can adjust the weight according to your body level. You won’t have any rest in one set, so you’ll work on one exercise to another immediately. Here’s how you do it:
- Do 15 front squats.
- Do 15 shoulder presses.
- Perform 15 bent-over rows.
- Do 15 Romanian deadlifts.
- Rest for 2 minutes and go for 5 to 8 sets.
List of cardio workout
Think outside the box and try something new with these fun cardio options. The key to sticking with any successful workout plan is discovering an activity that you enjoy.
- Jump rope
- Organized Sports
- Power Walking
- Jumping jacks
Cardio workouts are essential to keep your heart healthy and boost your metabolism. Start doing these 20 minutes cardio exercises at home right away. Stay healthy, stay fit!