Cardio workouts are some of the most popular exercises out there, and for good reason. Not only can they help you burn calories, but they can also improve your overall health.
A 2012 article from Harvard Health states that cardiovascular activities are proven to fight diseases, increase bone strength, ease back pain, and prevent falls, especially in older people.
So what is the best type of cardio to do? Let’s explore some of the different options available and find out which one takes the prize for the best cardio workout.
What Are Your Cardio Workout Options?
According to the American Heart Association, a cardio workout is one that “gets your heart rate up and benefits your heart by improving cardiorespiratory fitness”.
This looks different for everyone, but it should be a workout that gets you sweating and breathing hard but not to the point where you are unable to breathe or speak. For most fitness enthusiasts, cardio is something they enjoy that still makes them feel like they were active.
Examples of these types of workouts include:
- Walking (fast enough) – 30 minutes
- Jogging/Running – 15 minutes
- Swimming – 20 minutes
- Bicycling or Using a Stationary Bike – 15 minutes
- Using an Elliptical Machine – 30 minutes
- Jumping Rope – 15 minutes
- Kickboxing – 20 minutes
- Sports like Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, etc. – 20 minutes
- Spin Classes – 20 minutes
- Dance-based workouts, like Zumba or Hip Hop – 20 minutes
- Boot Camp – 10 minutes
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT), which involves adding jogging or running between your regular workout reps – 10 minutes
You should note that all of these workouts are only beneficial to you through repetition, ideally once daily. Healthline suggests a good goal is either 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of intense activity per week. If you need to take a rest day, however, sometimes that’s healthier than pushing yourself too hard.
These should be defined according to your standards since everyone is different, but think of a walking pace as being moderate and running or a brisk jog as intense. You should monitor your heart rate, breathing, and how much you sweat from your cardio workout to see how intense your workout is.
These are just a few of the popular options available, and while all of them can help you achieve your goals, some are better than others, especially for individual goals and abilities. The real best form of cardio is the one that you’ll do and enjoy.
Speaking generally, however, the form of cardio that works best for most people and has the best results is…
Using an elliptical!
Surprising? Not really. Let’s take a closer look at why elliptical cardio is considered the best form of cardio, and you’ll soon see why this is an ideal machine for your heart and physical health overall.
Top 3 Reasons Why the Elliptical Machine is the Best Cardio You Can Do
In this next section, we’ll discuss how training on an elliptical is beneficial to your joints and your entire body, as well as how it offers a workout unlike any other.
1. It’s Easy on the Joints
The elliptical is an excellent machine for those who are worried about the impact of running on their joints. The natural, smooth gliding motion makes it easier on your knees and ankles than other forms of cardio such as running, jogging, or even walking, especially when doing those on naturally uneven terrain.
Additionally, the fact that you can adjust the incline allows you to customize how intense your workout is without having to worry about putting too much strain on your body, one of the biggest benefits of using an elliptical over other forms of equipment.
All in all, this makes it an ideal exercise option for those with joint issues or anyone looking for a low-impact form of cardio who may be scared of injury or re-injury.
2. It’s a Full Body Workout
Unlike other cardio machines, the elliptical works your entire body since it has moving handles (or arm bars) that work your biceps, triceps, back, shoulders, and chest. You can adjust the resistance to focus on specific muscles or simply go for a full-body workout by pushing yourself as hard as you can.
This means you get an effective cardio and strength workout all in one, making it great for those looking to mix things up with their exercise routine.
Not only does this give you a more balanced workout, but it also helps keep things interesting – something that is key when it comes to sticking with any kind of fitness regimen.
3. You Can Easily Reverse Direction
An advantage of ellipticals for exercise equipment compared to other machines and cardio workouts is that you can reverse your direction at any time. This helps to work different muscles and prevents your body from getting too used to one particular motion.
This also makes it a great option for those who are trying to increase their cardiovascular endurance as it challenges them in new ways every time they use it.
Plus, there’s no risk of injury associated with reversing direction as you would find with all of the other forms of cardio, which makes it a safe and unique option for targeting lower-body muscles that are often neglected. Have you tried running backwards? It is quite nerve racking and doesn’t allow you to focus on the workout since you have to watch where you’re going.
Get On That Elliptical!
When it comes to cardio, the elliptical machine’s benefits are enough to make it an excellent choice for anyone.
Not only does it provide a low-impact workout that is easy on your joints, but it also gives you a full-body workout and allows you to easily reverse direction. All of these factors make it one of the best forms of cardio available today.
Cardio is good for all different parts of your body, not just the heart, and incorporating a cardio workout that works for you into your daily routine is the best way to ensure good long-term health.
So if you’re looking for something new and different to add to your fitness routine, consider giving the elliptical machine a try. They’re widely found at many fitness centers, along with an elliptical trainer, and are even available to purchase for home use; that’s why it’s easy for you to give this exciting option a chance.
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