These are the best cardio exercises for weight loss

If you’re new to exploring exercises to lose weight, it can be difficult to know where to start. There’s weight training, yoga, Pilates, barre and more. But many people, including personal trainers, believe in the simple power of cardio for weight loss. (However, research shows that a complete fitness routine for weight loss includes both cardio and strength training.)

Meet the experts: Tim Landichow, C.S.C.S., NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and tonal fitness coach and Dennis Chakoian, CPT, owner and founder of

Tim Landichow, C.S.C.S., NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and tonal fitness coach, explains that at its core, cardio is activity that raises your heart rate and keeps it up for the duration of a workout. He adds, the goal here is to engage large muscle groups in rhythmic, repetitive movements, which, in turn, increases your heart rate and breathing.

The basic formula for losing weight, Landichow says, is to burn more calories than you consume (though this isn’t always that easy), and to burn more calories than you consume through a process called excess oxygen consumption after cardio exercise. That effort leads to burning calories long after the balance is exhausted. (EPOC), he says. According to the National Association of Sports Medicine, EPOC is characterized by an increase in oxygen intake and metabolism that occurs as the body recovers from exercise.

Cardio is good for weight loss because it reduces the body’s ability to hold calories and fat, says Denis Chakoian, CPT, owner and founder of CORE Cycle.Fitness.Lagree.

Best Cardio Exercises for Weight Loss

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults practice 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio weekly. That said, there is no universal recipe for weight loss because every body and metabolism is different. However, the CDC and the experts we spoke to can provide some good starting points for keeping your movement effective and interesting.

According to Chacoian, it takes 20 minutes of cardio for most bodies to enter fat-burning mode, so she recommends aiming for 30 to 45 minutes per session, no matter which workout you choose.


Both Chacoian and Landichow recommend running to activate your cardio. The CDC considers running to be a vigorous form of aerobic exercise, so you can meet your need for optimal health with a 75-minute weekly jog around the neighborhood.


Whether it’s an hour-long spin class or taking your bike instead of the train to work, both count as cycling toward your cardio goals. Depending on the area, the CDC considers this moderate or vigorous exercise.

jumping jacks

Landichow recommends trying breaking jumping jacks whenever your workout needs a heart-pumping boost. Try three sets of 30 seconds of movement, taking a 45-second break between each set.


Hydro athlete and triathlete Nick Karowski previously reported that using a rowing machine is one of the most effective ways to get a cardiovascular and strength training workout in a short amount of time. prevention, Some machine-specific workouts are as short as 15 minutes.


Never underestimate the power of a fast move. The CDC recommends walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week.


Jumping rope is a high-intensity form of cardio that engages your entire body, making it an effective and efficient workout. If you are jumping rope at any speed for 30 seconds, you will start to realize, Albert MathenyRD, CSCS, Co-Founder Soho Strength Lab, promix nutritionAnd arena mentioned earlier prevention, There is a lot of coordination between different muscle groups. Like running, jumping rope is considered vigorous cardio by the CDC, so a 75-minute weekly session is a good starting point.

suitcase march or high-knees

Stand tall, and using your core, drive one knee up to your chest, then alternate, ending on high knees, Landichow explains. The marching position keeps your torso tall and prevents the weight from pulling you to the side, he adds. This will not only test your cardio liability, but it will challenge your body’s ability to bear weight on one side, while balancing on one leg and switching to the other, strengthening your obliques and glutes.

pullover crunch

Lie on your back with legs in tabletop position and arms extended straight over your chest, says Landichow. Along with this, spread the legs out and take the arms upwards, keeping the body in a hollow position. With control, bring knees to chest and pull arms toward you and lift shoulders into crunch position. This move is a good mix of cardio and strength and it targets the core, which is often the main focus of a weight loss diet.


Landichow says a good freestyle dance session is her favorite form of cardio. You can participate in kitchen karaoke, or attend a more formal cardio dance class.


Swimming provides all the heart-pumping benefits of other cardio, without the sidewalk-pounding wear and tear that comes with some of them. If you’re overweight and struggling with joint pain, this is a great option for a light but effective workout, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The CDC says a 154-pound person who swims freestyle laps at a slow pace for 30 minutes burns 255 calories.

cardio benefits

In addition to potential weight loss, cardio is key to maintaining good heart and lung health, Landichow says, and the American Heart Association confirms this. He further added, it is mood-boosting, stress-busting and full of endorphins, making it a key component of a healthy lifestyle.

Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer-editor covering health, nutrition, and lifestyle topics for a variety of publications. prevention, everyday health, Self, People, even more. She’s always up for conversation about promoting delicious recipes, breaking beauty standards, and finding new, gentle ways to care for our bodies. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio University with specializations in women’s, gender and sexuality studies and public health, and is a born-and-raised Midwesterner, living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two spoiled kittens. Live in.

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