Cardiovascular exercises, or cardio, is a form of aerobic exercise that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time to improve your overall fitness and stamina. It’s also a good way to burn kilojoules, which can lead to weight loss. So, of course, many in our fitness community ask us, “What’s the best cardio for weight loss?”
There are many different forms of cardio exercise, from running to cycling to even jumping rope. So, which is the best cardio for weight loss? Actually, any form of cardio exercise done at a moderate intensity has been shown to burn calories.
However, cardio exercise has other benefits worth discussing too. It strengthens your respiratory and heart muscles, making them stronger. It increases the total number of red blood cells in your body so you can move more oxygen throughout your body faster. And it can also reduce your stress and increase your overall mood after a long day at the office.
Different Levels of Cardio
Cardio activity can be broken down into two levels of intensity: low-to-moderate and high intensity. Each level is defined by the percentage of your maximum heart rate, but we won’t go into that today. Just remember low-to-moderate intensity cardio is less stressful on the joints and burns fat directly. High intensity cardio will burn more total calories and more total fat as a result.
Low-to-moderate cardio activity can include anything from walking to cycling to swimming. An hour of walking can burn upwards of 400 calories and is low-impact, making it great for obese people looking to start losing weight. Cycling, whether indoors or out, is low impact cardio exercise that can burn close to 600 calories an hour.
Running is another form of cardio exercise considered high intensity and high impact because is weight bearing. Running isn’t for everyone, especially those with back or joint issues, but it is a great way to burn almost 600 calories per hour!
The Best Cardio for Weight Loss
There is no right or wrong form of cardio to burn calories. The best form of cardio for weight loss is the one you like doing. If you hate running, then don’t do it. You can choose anything from kickboxing to rowing to swimming. Just choose something you enjoy doing and you’ll most likely stick to doing it regularly.
In order to burn calories and lose fat, you need to do cardio on a consistent basis. If you’re just starting out, then aim for at least three times a week for between 20-30 minutes. From there you can built up to 4-5 times a week for an hour. And don’t be afraid to change it up. You can walk one day and swim another. Pretty soon you’ll see the weight fall off.