Cardio Exercise For Weight Loss (And Other Benefits)

Want to lose weight?

Of course, you’ll need to do something about your diet because that is why you’re overweight, isn’t it?

However, adding Intense cardio exercise for weight loss will burn excess fat off quickly.

In fact, there’s not a faster way to lose weight, or a better exercise to stay fit,  than doing cardio several times a week.

High intensity cardio exercises are the ultimate method to lose pounds, look and feel better than you have in years.

They work even when you’re out of shape, because cardio exercises get you in shape, improve your health, and burn off the pounds at the same time.

Been Having A Problem Losing Weight?

Cardiovascular training is the key to weight loss when nothing else has worked for you.

You don’t have to be an athlete to do aerobic exercises either, you just need to get started.

You’ll also be strengthening your heart and lungs,  improving your blood pressure with exercise and increasing bone density.

With as little as 30 minutes a day, you can also improve your sleep, and reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Cardio just works!

The list below indicates an approximate number of calories burned for each cardio exercise:

how many calories does exercise burn chart

Doing Cardio Exercise On Machines

Cardio exercises can be done inside or outside, or with machines either at the gym or at home.

Check out the best and most economical cardio workout equipment for doing cardio at home.

Here are a few ways to get your exercise, burn fat, and improve your overall health and lifestyle with cardio machines:

1. Treadmills – Treadmill machines are popular home machines and in virtually every gym. They’ll let you walk, run, or jog on a smooth surface, and many will allow you to go uphill. You can set your own pace and program according to your personal needs and weight goals.

Treadmill for Cardio Exercise

When you’re just starting — treadmills are great for walking at a slow pace to get in shape, increase your endurance, and strength. Many exercises feel more comfortable knowing their always on a smooth and predictable surface.

As you get in shape and increase your endurance levels, you can increase the pace and incline to burn more fat while keeping your heart in your own target zone.

Treadmills Are Great For Arthritis

It’s easy to get overweight when you suffer from arthritis in your knees, and treadmills are the answer for you. You can exercise with arthritis in your knees, or knee injuries, much easier than on pavement due to the inherent cushioning you walk or run on.

If you’re thinking of buying your own treadmill, find one that will go up to 10 mph and has a long deck. If you only plan to walk on it, a max speed of 5 mph and an average length deck is enough.

2. Elliptical Trainers – Elliptical trainers are for workouts equally as intense as doing running or cross country skiing, without any impact on your knees or hips. They’re much more gentle on your joints as your body moves with a fluid and flowing movement.

Elliptical for Weight loss

Like all exercise machines, elliptical machines come in different levels. You might find one with no options or as many as you could think up.

When you are using cardio workouts to lose weight it’s best to have one with an incline option. This way you can adjust the stress and energy used to vary the intensity of your training.

You will be able to pedal faster, raise the incline, increase the resistance, and all sorts of combinations of the features. Remember that for cardiovascular health results you don’t really need intensity.

However, when it comes to weight loss, you want to vary your workouts from high to low intensity while also varying the times spent.

3. Stationary Bikes – Stationary bikes are for cycling and are often considered one of the safest cardio cross-training activities. They are easy on your joints, you can pedal as fast or as slow as you like, and easily increase your strength and endurance levels with them.

There are two main varieties of stationary bikes: The upright, and recumbent. The upright is taller and resembles a bike with only one wheel, while the recumbent bike is much lower and you sit in a reclining position with your feet forward.

For a steady paced fat burning workout just keep the resistance low and spin the pedals much faster. If your bike comes with pre-programmed features, try hill climbing or interval training to turn up your fat and calorie burn. Climb hills by manually increasing the resistance for a while, then decreasing it.


In Robert Reames book, “Make Over Your Metabolism” with a fat-burning exercise plan in place and a simple nutrition plan that will optimize your metabolism: you can manage your weight, shape, and appetite.

His 4-week program is based on metabolic burst training that turns your body into a calorie-burning machine by exercising 3 hrs a week.

Cardio Exercises Without Equipment

1. Jumping Rope –  It’s good for heart health, burns a lot of calories quickly, and strengthens virtually every part of your back. With a jump rope, you’ll need to be pretty fit to start with and it is like running or jogging when comes to high impact on your knees, ankles, and hips.

However, rope jumping is great for burning off calories. In fact: you can work off more calories with a rope than you could running an 8 minute mile. And it’s cheap enough to get started with a jump-rope from Wal-Mart.

Find a 4 x 6 foot area with about a foot of space over your head, and get started. The best surface to jump on is wood, so try to use either a wooden floor, a piece of plywood, or a quality cushioned mat. Don’t do this exercise on carpet, grass, concrete, or asphalt.

Start slow and build up to jumping for no more than 10-minute intervals. If you haven’t jumped rope before, take your time and work up to a few minutes at the time, because most any jumping routine is intensive training.

2. Walking – Don’t think you can lose weight or build your cardio strength with walking?

Walking is a great way to do cardio, lose weight, and control your blood sugar. Check out this study that shows that 3-15 minute post-meal walks are better than 1-45 minute walk to control blood sugar and food cravings.

But if you want to turn on the fat burn, include one-minute intervals in your walk to pick up the pace. For one minute walk as fast as you can without jogging, then slow down and return to your normal pace. Try to do this again and again during every walk.

As you get accustomed to this faster pace for 1 minute, you will naturally increase the pace and then you can increase the minute to longer periods. Swinging your arms more intensely will help burn more calories and builds strength in your core muscles and shoulders.

Burn Even More Fat When You Walk

During your walk, stop about the distance of a block, and do 10-20 squats, run in place, do pushups, or walking lunges to increase your heart rate, and fat burn. Immediately go back to your normal pace for a block or two, and stop to burn more fat again.

3. Running – Running is great cardio, and a lot of people start running with the goal of losing weight. But let’s be honest: if you’re out of shape, running is hard and can get you out of the mood to run or to lose weight if you don’t go about it right.

The best way to start a running program is with a run/walk program. That’s where you run either as far as you can, or for a given amount of time, then you walk until your wind comes back. Then you run again. If you’re a beginner runner you may not be able to run but a few minutes, whereas with the run/walk method you should exercise for 30 – 45 minutes.

As you spend more and more time in the run/walk routine, you will very naturally start running farther until the walk just disappears. If that’s what you want to do? Otherwise just keep the same routine for as long as you like. It’s great exercise and great for losing those pounds.

Starting slow and building up to a regular running routine gives you time to learn to:

Protect your knees

Stretching routines

How to eat

What to wear

Benefits of Cardio Exercises

Cardio exercise is both aerobic and cardio-respiratory exercise. It refers first of all to the fitness of your respiratory and heart systems, but when done with increased intensity — your body becomes a fat-burning machine. But that’s not all! High-intensity workouts will aid in feeling stronger and more capable, increase your sense of well being and happiness, and raise your energy levels.

1. Great for Losing Weight

It’s important to remember that cardio is, first of all, exercise for your heart and cardiovascular system. When using this activity for heart health, low intensity is really all it takes.

However, for dropping pounds you’ll need to step up the intensity rates for any exercise you choose.

Exercising with high-intensity aerobic exercises naturally causes fat to be burned and used as a fuel source for your body, and you’ll see results quickly.  High intensity means fat burns first! Even though protein and carbohydrates are burned during cardio exercise, fat burns first. Your metabolic rate increases and stays that way long after you’ve stopped.

And that’s the beauty of stepping up the pace with cardiovascular workouts. Your body will still be burning fat and calories hours after you’ve finished your training.

2. Keep A Healthy Heart

Sometimes we forget that our heart is a muscle the same as the calf of your leg or your bicep? That’s right, your heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle work and exercise keeps it healthy. Exercising your heart means getting your heart rate up and holding it there for a sustained period of time.

When you elevate your heart rate with exercise you keep it strong and healthy, decreasing your risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, you need at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise to improve cardiovascular health.

3. Improved Circulation

When you increase the blood flow with better circulation throughout your body you are promoting cell growth and organ function. Your skin even becomes healthier and more aptly fights off bacteria and infection. As you exercise, your heart pumps faster and at full force.

This increased circulation lowers your resting heart rate as your muscles relax and blood pressure flows more evenly and smoothly.  Cardiovascular exercise improves your circulation which in turns helps you get rid of accumulated toxins. Keeping good circulation helps prevents heart attacks and strokes.

4. Boost Immunity

  • Physical exercise can help you flush out bacteria from the lungs and airways. Getting harmful bacteria out of your airways can reduce your chances for colds, flu, and a host of other illnesses.
  • When you exercise white blood cells which are the body’s immune system, circulate more rapidly. When your WBCs are circulating freely through the body they can quickly detect illnesses and outside interference to your health.
  • During and immediately after cardio exercise, your body’s temperature rises, and this may help prevent unwanted bacteria from growing.  The rise in temp can help your body fight off infection.
  • Exercise will slow down the release of stress hormones and stress increases your chances for illness to attack.

6 Cardio Myths To Disregard

1. Skip Strength Training to Focus on Cardio

I don’t know about you, but doing only cardio with no intervals for strength training can get boring? To go along with that, cardio only can’t be responsible for all the calories you need to burn.

Doing strength training will build lean muscle mass. And you need that muscle mass to turn on your metabolism and burn fat. So building more muscle is going to help you burn more calories with cardiovascular training.

The American Council on Exercise says that you can burn 20 calories a minute with kettlebell workouts. Incorporate kettlebells, weight lifting, and TRX training into every week of cardio to maximize your results.

2. Cardio First Then Weights is Better

As for weight loss, it doesn’t really matter which you do first — until you read the next sentence. There is a good reason to do cardio first and an even better reason to do weights on a different day.

Here’s the problem that keeps this myth going: If you’re really having an intense cardio session, and then move to weights, you won’t have enough energy or “heart” to be very productive with your resistance training.

So, the real answer is don’t do them on the same day! Plan one day for an entire high-intensity cardio workout, and another day for resistance training with weights. Giving each day your all is going to allow you to burn more calories and use more fat overall.

3. Every Cardio Should Burn At Least 500 Calories

To start with machines can only make rough guesses at how many calories you’re burning. So why waste your time trying to hit some number on a machine at all? Instead, forget the console, and focus on intensity and getting it done.

If you want more fat burned and more calories burned long after you’re through, work harder for short burst. Slow down, catch your breath and go again.

Try to stay between 75 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate most of the time, high intensity, and forget the calorie counter.

4. You Must Stay In The Fat Burning Zone

There’s no doubt that you will burn fat during low-intensity workouts — “the fat burning zone” which is training at about 65% of your maximum. But there’s a better way to train for weight loss, really.

Focus on overall calorie burn, not how much fat your burning. Your using up fat as a fuel source alright, but what you’re after is overall calorie expenditure. The higher intensity you can workout at, the more calories you burn. That’s why the short burst works so well.

High-intensity workouts will burn calories up to 24 hours after you’re through. And your belly will shrink faster. But you must be careful about making all of your cardio high intensity because you can injure yourself, and get fatigued. Build your strength up a little at the time for best results.

5. Cardio On An Empty Stomach Burns More Fat

The biggest problem with this myth is that your large muscles that power your workout must have both carbs and fat for energy. Running or cycling on an empty stomach causes your body to use fragments of carbs and fat from your bloodstream.

You need it to use the fat from your fat cells for energy! This can cause your blood sugar to diminish and to dehydrate — which will make your workout at less intensity or quit before you should.

The real answer to eating before a workout is to eat about 1 -1 1/2 hours before you start, preferably something light and easy to digest. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water before you begin to stay hydrated.

6. Eat As Much As You Like With Cardio

Most of us are guilty of underestimating how many calories we are eating, and the machines overestimate calorie usage, so that’s the first problem with this myth.

The next thing to know is that if you keep eating like you ate to put on these pounds, exercise won’t be enough to help you.

If you keep on with the same eating habit, you can expect your cardio or weight training to take off about 5 pounds of fat in 8 months.

Why put yourself through any regular workouts to lose weight for so little results. Make a healthy diet part and exercising a regular and systematic part of your lifestyle, and the weight loss will be fast and permanent.

Conclusion

If you haven’t been exercising, starting off with cardio about 3 times a week is great.

As you get more fit and your body makes the transition, you can increase the intensity and the number of days you exercise.

Getting in shape doesn’t come overnight, so take your time and ease into more intense workouts as you build strength and endurance.

Remembering to change up your workouts with intensities, machines, locations, and times is key to the ultimate results from cardio exercises that leads to weight loss.

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