Fat Burning Cardio Workout Routines

The benefits of cardio workout routines cannot be denied; but, are you avoiding them because you think they are a long and boring way to exercise? “Less is more” is the newest trend in the fitness world, and experts are promoting workout programs that promise to whip you into tip-top shape in a mere 10 minutes a day, 3 days a week.

Appealing right, Unfortunately, it seems that all the time-efficient forms of exercise focus mostly on strength-training. The aerobic-centered ones – such as Zumba or Hot Yoga – are 60-90-minute classes scheduled in the middle of the workday. No wonder many people opt to skip the cardio and pick up the dumbbells instead. 

Well, the good news is: cardio does not have to be a long and boring painful event that you will do just about anything to avoid. In fact, it can be fun, energizing, and rewarding. Depending on the type of exercise you choose, you can get your heart rate up and improve your health while still toning your muscles and melting away unwanted fat.

Cardio Workout Routines


Elliptical Workouts:

a couple sharing elliptical workouts

Ellipticals are often the most popular machines at almost every gym. Since they allow your body to move in a more natural and functional way, they provide an excellent low-impact workout that is easy on your joints. Because so many muscles are also being engaged, elliptical workouts have you building slimming muscle tone evenly throughout your body.


Exercise Bike Workouts:

cardio exercise bike workouts

With busy schedules, a simple exercise program is important. If you are looking for something that is easy, convenient and delivers great results, then an exercise bike workout just might be the perfect option.

And, many gyms are catching on to this growing trend by offering spinning classes; so if you like a more structured program, you can still have the simplicity of biking with the discipline of in-class instruction. 


Running/Jogging:

running workout

Running will get your heart rate up quickly and can burn a lot of calories, especially if you include hills. And, it is very convenient. You can run just about anywhere –  Plus, in the nice weather, you can get outside to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine and pleasant change of scenery.

The high impact is good for your bones, but if you have any joint issues, this may not be the best type of aerobic exercise for you. For those trying to lose weight by running... following a healthy diet is the key to losing the weight and keeping it off.


Circuit Training Workout:

strength training exercises

Weight lifting is not usually considered a cardio workout, however, circuit training is the exception since you move continuously between exercises with little or no rest. As long as your heart rate is elevated into the target zone, you can count your circuit session as a cardio workout. To increase the aerobic factor, you may want to add in some lighter weight/higher rep movements.


Jumping Rope:

jumping rope cartoon

If you can't make it to the gym, or don't have time for a regular workout...jump rope. Jumping rope is a fat-blasting exercise that can have you burning 10 calories a minute while working muscles throughout your entire body. The jump rope is such a small and convenient piece of exercise equipment you can carry it around in your car or workout bag all of the time.


Make Your Cardio Fun:

rebounder workout

Cardio Workout Routines don't have to be a snooze event. There are many fun and challenging ways of losing weight and getting into shape that don't have to be boring or monotonous.

You can find that some hobbies you have or want to start, have the potential to be a cardio experience to enjoy. Activities like hiking, mountain biking, skiing etc. will allow you to burn calories, raise your heart rate, and tone muscles all while you doing something you enjoy. Be creative!!! 


Cardio Workout Routines for the Winter:

cardio snowboarding

While skating and snowshoeing both require endurance and strength to haul yourself through the snow, the ultimate cardio exercise for the great and snowy outdoors is cross country skiing. Because you have to use poles to push you forward, cross country skiing becomes a full body workout that uses every major muscle group in your body.

When so many different muscles are used in an aerobic activity, your oxygen consumption demands increase. This in turn will increase your cardiovascular exertion, which will immediately spike your metabolism to start burning a high number of calories. The higher your energy level... the more calories you burn.


Target Heart Rate (THR)

Any of the cardio workout routines that increases your heart rate into the target zone and keeps it there for at least 15-20 minutes are what you are looking for.

Treadmills, elliptical machines, and kettlebells are all great options, but you can also get a good workout by dancing, swimming, stair climbing, cycling, or jogging. Even a power walk, rock climbing, or house cleaning can give you cardio benefits if it elevates your heart rate. So, you will never have to dread those cardio workout routines again!

Studies have shown that your body is in the best fat burning, muscle building, and health improving zone when you are exercising at your target heart rate. So, knowing your THR will allow you to get the most out of your workout while staying within safe limits.

The standard guideline is to aim for between 50-80% of your maximum heart rate (MaxHR). The simplest and most common formula is 220 – your age = MaxHR

While skating and snowshoeing both require endurance and strength to haul yourself through the snow, the ultimate cardio exercise for the great and snowy outdoors is cross country skiing. Because you have to use poles to push you forward, cross country skiing becomes a full body workout that uses every major muscle group in your body.

When so many different muscles are used in an aerobic activity, your oxygen consumption demands increase. This in turn will increase your cardiovascular exertion, which will immediately spike your metabolism to start burning a high number of calories. The higher your energy level... the more calories you burn.



Benefits of Cardio Workout Routines

Cardio took a backseat for a little while, but it's making a comeback. Perhaps more than any other time in history, more people are working at inactive jobs that require long hours of sitting. 

Even our entertainment is more sedentary with the increased popularity of gaming, social networking, and on-demand television. People are realizing that in addition to toning and muscle building, there needs to be more of a focus on heart health and weight management.

Many types of exercise have begun adding in a cardio component – hot yoga, circuit training, kettlebell workouts are just a few examples – as a way of including the many benefits aerobic activity has to offer.

  • Weight Loss/Weight Control: Cardio workout routines usually uses multiple muscle groups at the same time while also raising your heart rate significantly. This combination results in high-calorie burn and reduced body fat.

  • Heart Health: Your heart is a muscle and just like any other muscle, it benefits when it is worked. Getting your heart rate up will increase circulation, control blood pressure, and improve your heart health.

  • Improved Cholesterol Levels: Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood.

  • Increased Bone Density: Regular exercise (both aerobic and strength training) is the best way to increase or maintain bone density and prevent (or even improve) osteoporosis.

  • Improved Muscle Mass: Cardio engages the muscles which helps make them stronger. If in doubt, check out a runner's calves or a tennis player's arms.

  • Strengthens the Lungs: Increased deep breathing and higher respiration rate is a great way to exercise your lungs.


group tricep dips


  • Increases Metabolism: Aside from burning calories while exercising, certain activities – especially those that combine cardio with strength training – will increase your metabolic rate, even at rest.

  • Balance Blood Sugar Levels: Some research has shown that cardio workout routines can help balance or improve blood glucose levels, which is important in the prevention or treatment of Type II diabetes. Most people will also lose weight when they begin an exercise program, and this benefit is also a great way to manage blood sugar and prevent disease.

  • Improve Hormonal Levels/ Brain Benefits: Aerobic exercise releases endorphins – those “feel good” hormones that will give you energy and endurance. It has also been shown to combat depression and fatigue. And, some experts say that cardio activity will cause the body to release hormones that suppress appetite and reduce sugar cravings. 

  • Improved Post-Workout Recovery: Jumping on the treadmill or exercise bike for a few minutes after an intense weight lifting workout can help reduce muscle soreness.

  • Improved Sleep: Aerobic activity will reduce cortisol levels, which not only helps with weight loss but will also reduce stress and anxiety and improve your quality of sleep.

Other pages that might interest you:


I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or if you have any ideas you want to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum.




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