There are so many different types of activities that are cardio in nature. A brisk walk in the park is a cardio activity. Swimming laps in the pool is cardio. Even the Zumba class at your local gym is cardio in nature. You have a wide array of choices for cardio.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ activity that’s perfect for everyone. Different people will prefer different forms of cardio. There is no right or wrong answer here either. While walking is viewed as one of the least effective forms of cardio, it might actually be the best option for someone who can only walk short distances.
High intensity training may be too much for some. For a beginner, slowly walking daily and watching your diet, will result in losing excess weight over time and you will then be able to handle a more strenuous type of cardio.
The Best Cardio For Weight Loss
To know which type of cardio is best for YOU, you’ll need to ask yourself these questions.
(1) What’s your activity level?
If you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle for years, you should choose a cardio activity that’s not too strenuous or high impact. Walking, swimming, stationary bike, etc. are good examples of steady state cardio that you can do to slowly improve your fitness level.
Joining a HIIT class or a kickboxing class may be too exhausting for you and you may even injure yourself. It’s best to ease yourself slowly into a lifestyle that is more active.
If you’re moderately active or highly active, your cardio sessions should be shorter but of high-intensity. After several weeks of such training, you may wish to take a one week break and only do slow cardio so that your body and central nervous system have time to recuperate.
(2) What do you like doing?
It’s always best to pick an activity that you enjoy doing. Most of us automatically think of running or cycling when the word cardio is mentioned. But there are so many other activities that are cardio in nature too.
Kickboxing, Latin dancing, power walking, trampolining, organized sports, rowing, etc. are all different types of cardio activities. Pick one that you enjoy. This will ensure that you stick with it and stay consistent.
Most of us make a huge mistake by picking activities that we don’t like just because it is deemed one of the most effective for burning calories and fat loss. This will result in you dragging yourself to your workouts because you’re just not interested. If you don’t enjoy it, your mind will make up excuses to avoid it. I for sure have been through that!
Over time, you’ll lose interest and quit. You’ll stop exercising and your weight loss goal will never be met. You’ll also lose strength and stamina. Therefore it’s of paramount importance that you pick an activity that you enjoy.
Don’t worry about the fat loss goal. As long as you eat healthy and maintain a caloric deficit, the cardio will boost your metabolism and your fat loss will come. It may take longer but you won’t be torturing yourself by doing something you don’t want to do.
Your activity will become a part of your lifestyle. Have you been on a fitness weight loss journey, reached your ideal weight, and then tossed out your training since you reached your goals? Do you know why this happened? This is because you hated what you were doing… and the end result is that you’ll regain all the weight you lost and more. By doing cardio activities that you love, you’ll carry on with them even when you reach your ideal weight and you’ll keep off the excess pounds from creeping back in.
(3) What’s your goal?
If your goal is to build strength, your cardio activity should have strength training components in them. If you want to build stamina, the activities should have a higher focus on stamina building.
Adapt your cardio training to achieve your goals. If you want to improve your stamina, jump rope training is excellent. I wrote about this form of cardio and how to lose weight doing it. I also provide a jump rope challenge. Check it out here. If your goal is to tone your butt and legs, HIIT workouts with bodyweight training exercises will be ideal for you. Know your goals and pick an activity that will support them.
Cardio Exercises To Burn Fat
Now that you know what to look out for, choose a cardio activity that you like and fits in with your goals, and do it two to three times a week. Be consistent with your training and know that results happen over time and not overnight. In 90 days, you will have transformed your appearance if you’re consistent and have your diet dialed in. If you keep going, you’ll get there!