The Best Types of Cardio Exercise for Weight Loss

The Best Types of Cardio Exercise for Weight Loss

If you’re looking for the best types of cardio exercise for weight loss, you might be wondering which ones are the most effective and how often you should do them. Cardio exercise is any activity that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe harder. They help burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and boost mood.

In this article, we will discuss the best types of cardio exercise for weight loss, the benefits of cardio exercise, and how to create an effective workout plan. We will also discuss the differences between cardio and strength training, so you can make an informed decision when planning your fitness routine.

Cardio Exercise Benefits

Cardio exercise is one of the most popular and effective forms of exercise for weight loss. It offers a wide range of physical and mental benefits and can be tailored to any fitness level.

Cardio exercise is important for weight loss because it burns calories, boosts your metabolism, and helps you lose overall body fat.

When it comes to the benefits of cardio exercise, the most common can include increased endurance, improved cardiovascular health, better lung and heart function, and improved muscle tone.

Cardio exercise helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, as well as increase your aerobic capacity. It also burns calories more efficiently than other forms of exercise, such as strength training. Additionally, it can help reduce stress levels, improve mood, and boost energy levels.

Cardio vs Strength Training

When it comes to weight loss, it’s important to understand the differences between cardio and strength training. Both are essential components of a healthy, balanced workout routine, each with its own unique benefits.

Cardio exercises are typically aerobic activities that get your heart rate up and keep it elevated for an extended period of time. Examples include jogging, cycling, rowing, swimming, and dancing. Cardio exercises aim to increase your heart rate and keep it up, which in turn helps you burn calories and promotes weight loss.

On the other hand, strength training focuses on building muscle through exercise. Strength training activities make use of body weight, free weights, or weight machines to target specific muscle groups.

Unlike cardio, which is mostly about endurance, strength training helps you build and maintain muscle. It also boosts your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories even when you’re not actively working out.

For optimal results, you should aim to implement both cardio and strength training into your overall fitness routine.

Cardio can help you burn fat and calories, while strength training will help you build muscle and increase metabolism.

When it comes to creating a balanced workout routine, it’s important to remember that you should tailor your workouts based on your individual goals.

For instance, if you’re looking to lose weight, you should focus on aerobic exercises such as jogging, cycling, rowing, etc.

However, if you’re looking to build muscle, it’s important to integrate strength training exercises such as free weights, bodyweight exercises, or weight machines.

The Best Cardio Workouts

An effective cardio exercise routine is essential to achieve a healthy weight and healthier lifestyle. The best cardio workouts for weight loss are intense, burn calories quickly, involve the whole body, and demand sustained energy. With the right combination of exercises, you can maximize the benefits of your workouts and reach your weight loss goals.

So, what are the best types of cardio exercise for weight loss? Here are some examples of cardio exercises that can help you lose weight.


Running is one of the most popular and accessible forms of cardio exercise. It can help you burn calories, strengthen your muscles and bones, and improve your endurance and heart health. Running can also reduce stress and anxiety and enhance your mood and cognitive function. Running can be done outdoors or on a treadmill, and you can vary the intensity, speed, distance, and terrain to suit your goals and abilities.


Cycling is another great option for cardio exercise that can help you lose weight. It can work your lower body muscles, especially your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It can also improve your cardiovascular fitness, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Cycling can be done indoors on a stationary bike or outdoors on a road or mountain bike. You can adjust your cycling sessions’ resistance, speed, and duration to challenge yourself and burn more calories. Cycling can also be fun and social if you join a group or a class.


Swimming is a great form of cardio exercise that works your whole body without putting stress on your joints. It can help you burn calories while staying cool, improve your lung capacity and breathing technique, and enhance your flexibility and posture. Swimming can also be relaxing and therapeutic for your mind and body.


Dancing is a fun and creative form of cardio exercise that can help you burn calories while expressing yourself. It can help you improve your coordination, balance, and agility, as well as your mood and confidence. Dancing can also be social and enjoyable if you join a class or a club.

Jumping rope

Jumping rope is a simple but effective way to get your heart pumping and burn calories. Jumping rope can work your legs, arms, shoulders, core, and coordination. It can also improve your agility, balance, speed, and reflexes. Jumping rope can be done anywhere with minimal equipment, and you can vary the speed, intensity, duration, and style of your jumps to make it more fun and challenging.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT)

HIIT is a form of cardio exercise that involves alternating between short bursts of intense activity and periods of rest or low-intensity activity. For example, you might sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds, and repeat for 10 to 20 minutes. HIIT can help you burn more calories in less time than steady-state cardio and also increase your metabolism and fat-burning hormones after the workout. HIIT can be done with any type of exercise, such as running, cycling, jumping rope, or using a rowing machine.

How much can you lose from cardio?

Some factors that affect how much weight you can lose from cardio exercise are:

The intensity of the exercise

Higher-intensity exercises burn more calories per minute than lower-intensity ones, but they also require more recovery time and may be harder to sustain for long periods.

The duration of the exercise

Longer exercises burn more calories overall than shorter ones, but they also take more time and may be less convenient for busy schedules.

The frequency of the exercise

More frequent exercises can help you maintain a consistent calorie deficit and prevent weight regain, but they also increase the risk of overtraining and injury if you don’t allow enough rest and recovery.

The type of exercise

Different exercises target different muscle groups and have different effects on your metabolism, hormones, and appetite. Some exercises may also be more enjoyable and motivating for you than others.

Tips for getting the most out of cardio exercises

No matter what type of cardio workout you choose, it is important to remember the basics.

  • Always warm up and cool down before and after a workout
  • Be sure to drink plenty of fluids
  • Increase the intensity of your routine as your body becomes used to the exercises
  • Incorporate strength training and stretching into your routine
  • Ensure that your body has time to recover for your workouts remain effective

What are some tips to prevent injuries from cardio exercise?

To prevent injuries during cardio exercise, consider the following tips:

Warm up

Prior to starting any cardio activity, warm up your muscles with dynamic stretches and light aerobic movements to increase blood flow and flexibility.

Use proper footwear

Choose shoes that are specifically designed for your chosen cardio activity. They should provide appropriate support and cushioning to reduce the risk of strain or impact-related injuries.

Gradually increase intensity

If you’re new to cardio exercise or starting a new program, gradually increase the intensity and duration over time to allow your body to adapt and minimize the risk of overuse injuries.

Maintain proper form

Whether you’re running, cycling, or engaging in other forms of cardio exercise, focus on maintaining proper form to avoid placing excessive stress on joints and muscles.

Listen to your body

Pay attention to any pain, discomfort, or unusual sensations during exercise. If something feels off, modifying or stopping the activity is important to prevent further injury.


Incorporate a variety of cardio exercises into your routine to reduce the risk of overuse injuries. This can help distribute the workload across different muscle groups.

How can I measure my progress from cardio exercise?

Tracking your progress is essential to stay motivated and make adjustments to your cardio exercise routine. Here are some ways to measure your progress:

Duration and intensity

Keep track of the duration and intensity of your cardio sessions. Gradually increasing the time or intensity level indicates progress.

Distance covered

If you’re engaged in activities like running, walking, or cycling, tracking the distance covered can help you monitor your progress. Use a smartphone app, GPS watch, or pedometer for accuracy.

Heart rate monitoring

Monitor your heart rate during cardio workouts using a heart rate monitor or fitness tracker. You should notice lower heart rates for the same intensity as your cardiovascular fitness improves.

Rate of perceived exertion (RPE)

Use the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion scale, which assigns a numerical value to how hard you feel you’re working during exercise. Over time, you should be able to handle higher-intensity workouts with a lower perceived exertion.

Body measurements

Keep track of your body measurements, such as waist circumference, hip circumference, or body fat percentage. These measurements can reflect changes in body composition, even if the scale doesn’t show a significant change.

Performance improvements

Notice any improvements in performance, such as increased speed, improved endurance, or the ability to do more repetitions or sets during cardio exercises.

Remember, progress may not always be linear, and it’s essential to focus on long-term trends rather than day-to-day fluctuations.


Cardio exercises are a fantastic way to burn calories, improve cardiovascular health, and boost your mood.

You can effectively burn calories and contribute to your weight loss goals by engaging in activities that raise your heart rate and make you breathe harder.

Whether it’s running, cycling, swimming, or dancing, there are numerous cardio exercises to choose from, allowing you to find an activity that suits your preferences and fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.

Remember, the key to a successful weight loss journey is finding joy in your activities. Choose cardio exercises that you enjoy and vary your routine to keep things interesting.

By staying committed, motivated, and consistent, you can achieve your weight loss goals and experience the positive impact of cardio exercise on your overall health and well-being.

Related Questions

How often should I do cardio exercise for weight loss? The amount of cardio exercise you do for weight loss will depend on your goals and the intensity of the workouts. If you are just starting out, doing about 20 minutes of cardio 3-4 times per week is recommended. This can help you build up a base level of fitness and burn calories. As you get used to the workouts, you can increase the intensity and frequency to about 30-60 minutes of cardio 5-6 times per week.

What should I do if I am new to cardio exercise? If you are new to cardio exercise, start slowly and build up your fitness level over time. Starting with low-impact workouts such as walking or using the elliptical is recommended. As you get more comfortable with the movements and build up your endurance, you can start to add in more intense workouts such as running or cycling.

How do you choose the best type of cardio exercise for weight loss? The best type of cardio exercise for weight loss depends on your personal preferences, fitness level, goals, and availability. You should choose a type of cardio exercise that you enjoy, challenges you, fits your schedule and is safe for you. You can also mix up different types of cardio exercises to keep your workouts fun and effective.

Adam Johnson

As a middle-aged, 40-something cyclist, my riding goals have changed over the years. A lover of all things retro, and an avid flat bar cyclist, I continue to live off past triathlon glories.

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