Regular cardiovascular activities such as running, cross-country skiing, or kickboxing can help you feel better and enjoy a healthier and longer live.
In addition to strengthening and protecting the heart, cardio activity is appreciated for its ability to burn excess fat and calories. A moderate paced exercise of 25-30 minutes (five days per week) will get the body to respond quickly in a positive way.
Other options for calorie burning exercises of a cardio nature include rowing, elliptical training, cycling, stair climbing, swimming, and aerobic dancing.
- 1 How does your body respond to cardio activities?
- 2 What does cardio activity do for your health?
- 3 Calorie burning exercises
- 4 Calorie Blasting Cardio Training (Video)
How does your body respond to cardio activities?
Cardio activity involves repeatedly moving the large muscles in the hips, legs, and arms. You will notice your breathing is faster and deeper, which increases the oxygen in the bloodstream. Your heart starts to beat faster to improve the flow of blood between the lungs and muscles. Your capillaries (small blood vessels) expand to let more oxygen through to benefit the muscles and speed up the removal of waste products like lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
Plus, exercise helps to release natural painkillers like endorphins that increase the sense of wellbeing.
What does cardio activity do for your health?
Regardless of athletic ability, weight, or age, cardio activity is a great choice. Once your body starts to adapt to regular exercise, you will soon get fitter and stronger.
Cardio activity can help you:
Lose weight: Cardio activity and a healthy, well-planned diet can help you lose weight, burn-fat, and keep it off for the long-term.
Stamina: Even though cardio activity can leave you feeling tired in the short-term, you will soon notice increased stamina and fewer episodes of fatigue.
Viral illness: Cardio activity has the benefit of boosting the immune system which leaves the body less susceptible to common health complaints like cold and flu.
Health risks: Being more active drastically lowers the risk of health complaints such as certain cancers, stroke, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Plus, the weight-bearing exercises like running or walking is useful for lowering the risk of osteoporosis in later life.
Chronic conditions: Cardio activity has the potential to control blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and manage coronary artery disease.
Heart-friendly: A healthy, strong heart does not need to beat as fast and helps to pump blow throughout the body more efficiently.
Arteries: Regular involvement in cardio activities helps to boost the HDL cholesterol (good) and lower the LDL cholesterol (bad). A positive of this is the ability to keep the arteries clear with less risk of plaque buildup.
Mood: Cardio activity is great for boosting your mood, promoting relation, and reducing the tension related to anxiety.
Stay active: Use cardio activities to keep the muscles strong and stay active and independent in later life. Plus, exercise is also believed to help keep the mind sharp. Cardio activity for 25-30 minutes (three times per week) can lower the risk of cognitive decline in old age.
Long life: In-depth studies confirm those involved in regular cardio activities have a longer and more active lifespan compared to those who aren’t involved in regular exercise.
Calorie burning exercises
Let’s look at fifteen top calorie burning exercises:
1 – Aerobic Dance
Aerobic dance is a repetitive, choreographed movement (low or high impact) routine set to music that has many benefits for the body. Most gyms offer the chance to sign-up to a dance class. It combines stretching, muscle-building exercises, and fat-burning aerobic movements for a fun way to get fit.
Calories burned: 425 per 60 minutes (160 pound person).
2 – Aquarobics
Aquarobics takes place in a swimming pool and is a low-impact exercise to improve muscle and heart strength without causing stress to the joints. It is great for those starting out with exercise, overweight, or with joint problems.
Similar to swimming, aquarobics isn’t able to help improve bone strength and a less reliable option to help with weight loss.
Calories burned: 400 per 60 minutes
3 – Boxing
Boxing is a great cardio activity for not only boosting the strength of the upper body, but also to help let off steam. Full boxing classes are widely available to sign up to. You can use a punch bag at-home (or even stimulate boxing training by just air punching) or at the gym. But there is a risk of hand or wrist injuries if you punch the punching bag for too long.
Calories burned: 350 to 500 per 60 minutes.
4 – Cross-country skiing
Whether outdoors on snow or on a machine, cross-country skiing is an awesome cardio activity that pushes both lower and upper body parts.
Calories burned: 650 per 60 minutes (145 pound person).
5 – Cycling
Cycling – stationary or regular bike – is a very low-impact cardio activity that is great for toning leg and buttock muscles, while also improving leg strength. Cycling is a useful option for those with lower body orthopedic issues (arthritic) because it puts less stress on the knees or hips compared to walking or running.
Cycling is a practical cardio activity for people who are 50 lbs or more overweight. Cycling gives the body and heart a great workout while causing less mechanical stress to other parts of the body like the ankles, knees, hips, and back.
Calories burned: 500/1000 per 60 minutes (depends on surface incline and speed).
6 – Elliptical
Elliptical trainers are excellent cardio activities that work both the arms and legs and help to build endurance. It is a very low-impact machine which has the option to vary the speed and resistance to tailor the difficulty of the workout.
Other machines of a similar vein include steppers, stair climbers, and ski machines. But those with knee or hip complaints should limit the use of steppers and stair climbers for the fact these tools can stress the joints.
Calories burned: 600 per 60 minutes (145 pound person).
7 – Jump rope
Jump rope is a high-intensity cardio activity with the ability to improve your cardiovascular system, strengthens your bones, challenges your coordination, and blasts calories (10 minutes of jump rope is similar to 30 minutes of jogging).
Calories burned: 1000 per 60 minutes.
8 – Kickboxing
Kickboxing is a demanding, yet fun and effective cardio activity with the ability to burn a lot of calories and improve cardiovascular health. Kickboxing is great at warming and stretching the muscles (abs, arms, butt, thighs, and shoulders); boosts your metabolism, and a great type of self-defense training.
Calories burned: 350/450 per 60 minutes.
9 – Racquetball
Racquetball is a fantastic cardio activity with its fast pace and side-to-side sprinting.
Squash is another high-intensity activity with many similarities (played in closed rooms, but uses different equipment and follows a different set of rules).
Calories burned: 800 per 60 minutes.
10 – Rock climbing
Rock climbing is a great cardio activity (increases your respiratory and heart rates) that is highly dependent on existing arm and leg strength, balance, and flexibility.
Calories burned: 750 per 60 minutes.
11 – Rowing
Rowing is a low-impact cardio activity that is a great alternative to cycling or running and gives an amazing workout to strengthen the abdomen, back, and upper body muscles, as well as improving heart fitness.
Rowing can be done in a kayak or canoe out in the open waters or on a machine in the gym.
Calories burned: 600 per 60 minutes (145 pound person).
12 – Running
Running or jogging has a slightly higher intensity compared to walking and one of the most popular calorie burning exercises. Running has the ability to burn serious calories and improve bone and heart health. Use outside courses for the more diverse and interesting runs with different terrain and speed to challenge your cardiovascular system.
Running does have the disadvantage of being hard on the joints like the knees (use high-quality running shoes to minimize this negative), while also causing ankle sprains, and skin splints.
Calories burned: 600 per 60 minutes (running at 5.1 MPH).
13 – Step aerobics
Step aerobics involves sets of choreographed movements that take place on raised circular, square, or rectangular platforms. Use step aerobics to target and tone your legs, glutes, and hips.
Calories burned: 800 per 60 minutes
14 – Swimming
Swimming is extremely easy on the joints and works the entire upper body and core to make a highly efficient cardiovascular activity. Swimming provides great resistance to tone muscles in the arms, shoulders, and back, while also helping to improve flexibility.
It is a reliable form of exercise for people with joint or other injuries, pregnant, or overweight because the buoyancy of the water helps to ease pressure on joints and supports your weight. But, swimming isn’t a weight-bearing exercise, so unable to help with issues related to osteoporosis.
Calories burned: 800 per 60 minutes (fast pace, breast stroke).
15 – Walking
Walking is a convenient and low-impact activity that makes an excellent introduction to cardiovascular fitness. You can walk virtually anywhere: indoors (treadmill, indoor tracks, malls, etc.) or outdoors (parks, road circuits, etc.).
For the complete beginner, walking at a slow 3 MPH pace is a great starting point. Gradually up the pace to a brisk 4 MPH or more to get the more efficient cardio workout. Add in an incline, hills, or occasional sprint to up the amount of calories burned.
The low-impact and safe nature of walking makes it especially good for those who are pregnant, unused to physical activity, or overweight.
Calories burned: 360 per hour (walking speed 4.25 MPH).
Calorie Blasting Cardio Training (Video)