Best Cardio for Weight Loss

Best Cardio for Weight Loss

When it comes to effective weight loss, cardio is an invaluable tool we should use. And knowing the best cardio for weight loss can keep you on track for your weight loss goals. It makes the whole process a lot more streamlined, it helps us feel good, and it brings about numerous health benefits.

But, there are so many options out there, and knowing which one to pick can be difficult.

Today, we’ll go over the best cardio for weight loss and what you should keep in mind.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Best Cardio for Weight Loss Options

Here are the best cardio options for weight loss:

  1. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
    This is a tremendous workout, and can help you to burn a lot of calories in a short time. Click to learn more about HIIT workouts.
  2. Jogging
    A moderate pace jog will always be a best cardio for weight loss. Jogging doesn’t require a gym or equipment, and it’s a great exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Why? Learn the best time to do cardio
  3. Elliptical Machine
    This cardio takes a little practice, but is an excellent choice. It’s ideal if you have any joint injuries, as it’s very low impact.
  4. Stair Climber
    A great cardio option that is a heavy workout on your legs. If you’re new to the Stair Climber, you’ll be sore after Day 1.
  5. Swimming
    A great option for weight loss, as you’re always burning calories in the pool. Whether you are treading water, or doing freestyle, your body is in motion and burning calories.
  6. Jog – Walk 
    If you’re new to fitness, this is an excellent option. You can go on a 20-minute jog-walk, alternating between jogging and walking. This can be a great low intensity cardio exercise. It’s a terrific option if you’re new to fitness and cardio. 
  7. Jumping Rope
    All this requires is a little space, and a jump rope. A great cardio workout that adds nice variation to your cardio routine.
  8. Cycling
    This one obviously requires a cycle, but is also a good variation and also a great social cardio to do with family or friends. It’s also an incredible mental release, as cycling often time provides beautiful and new views of surrounding areas.

Is HIIT a Good Strategy For Cardio Weight Loss?

HIIT is a great weight loss strategy because of two things:

  1. It burns many calories in a short period, which can be beneficial if you don’t have much time to dedicate to cardio. You can get a great cardio workout in 4-20 minutes with HIIT.
  2. It offers an EPOC (excess-post exercise oxygen consumption) effect that helps you burn some extra calories in the 24 hours following your cardio workout.

Learn more about the many benefits of HIIT.

HIIT is very possibly the best option for cardio, but it does require a base level of fitness and experience. It is not a good choice for everyone, and always consult your doctor before attempting HIIT.

If you’re overweight and new to fitness, you should not attempt HIIT. Click for some good reasons to not attempt HIIT, and to better understand the risks. (1)

However, if you’ve been cleared by your doctor, and want to give HIIT a try, here are some HIIT workouts to consider:

And if HIIT is not a good fit for you, there are many other cardio options to choose from. And all are outstanding. Again, the key is to take action and choose one (or more). If you take the first step, and choose to give the best cardio for weight loss a try, you’ll be far ahead of most adults.

And you don’t need to choose only one type of cardio. It’s best to have many options, depending on your mood, your schedule, and what’s available. If you’re out of town and your go-to cardio is the Stair Climber, it’s good to have other options available. So in that scenario you could go for a 20-minute jog.

To get the most out of your cardio routine, it’s also helpful to know your heart rate training zone. Another important consideration is knowing when to do cardio in order to burn the maximum calories that you possibly can. 

What Makes Cardio Beneficial For Weight Loss

Contrary to popular belief, weight loss is not about following a special diet or training plan. It’s also not about taking a supplement or herb.

Weight loss comes down to eating fewer calories than you burn each day. That way, your body has no choice but to use the stored fuel (fat tissue) to get the energy it needs to function correctly. And thus, we achieve weight loss.

Cardio is incredibly beneficial for weight loss because it makes it easy for us to achieve this calorie deficit. By doing cardio, we burn calories, and we then have to consume more energy to maintain our weight. If we also take care of our nutrition, we can easily stay in a deficit and lose weight.

Some Final Tips On Effective Cardio Training

Shoot for daily cardio sessions – do some easier sessions, and do some more intense ones (for example, HIIT). Doing it every day makes it part of your routine, and you build momentum. Before long, the question of, “Should I do cardio today?” becomes obsolete – you do it without thinking. (2)

It’s also important to set specific goals for your cardio sessions and avoid pushing yourself to your limits every day. Sure, that might make you feel more satisfied, but it slows down your recovery and hinders your following workouts.

Do things at a sustainable pace, progress from week to week, and you’ll do great in the long run.

And finally, it’s also a good idea to have some variety in your cardio training. If you do the same activity every day, it can start feeling stale. So, it’s good to switch between different types of activities to keep things fresh and engaging. For example – jogging, using the Stair Climber or Elliptical, swimming, hiking, and more.

Click for more cardio workouts.

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David Williams

A diet and fitness enthusiast, David is an ex-Army Airborne Ranger and Infantry soldier with decades of fitness and wellness experience. A West Point graduate with a degree in engineering, he focuses on technical research related to fitness, nutrition, and wellness. He loves the beach and working out, and spending time with his wife and daughters.

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  1. Bedosky, L. (2019). 5 Times HIIT Could Be Dangerous for You. LIVESTRONG.COM.
  2. Nunez, K. (2019). Cardio Exercises at Home: 19 Moves for Every Fitness Level. Healthline.

Click to see our medical disclosure.