Fitness Articles

Over 110 Cardio Workout Ideas

Limitless Options for Aerobic Exercise

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You all probably know how great aerobic activity is for your heart, body and mind. After all, regular cardio exercise has been shown to reduce body fat, decrease total cholesterol, boost mood, lower resting heart rate, and improve heart and lung function. It's almost like a magic "health" pill when you think about!

So why don't more people do cardio regularly? Well, some think it has to extremely hard or miserable, and others just don't set aside the time to make it a priority. Both camps are misguided, as aerobic exercise doesn't have to be back-breaking (it can actually be fun!) and being active is a cornerstone to living a long, healthy life. When you get right down to it, what do we have if we don't have our health?

The really fantastic news is that cardio doesn't have to take you forever and it doesn't have to be at the gym--nor does it have to include running or other high-impact exercises (although those are great forms of aerobic activity if you like them!). There are hundreds of cardio options out there. The trick is picking a few that you like and then doing them intensely enough to count as cardiovascular exercise.

How does one particular thing go from "activity" to "cardio?" It just has to meet two principles.
  1. The first is intensity: It only counts as cardio when you elevate your heart rate into an aerobic zone, which is 55% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. You can calculate your target heart rate here. Simply check your pulse during any activity to find out if your activity counts as exercise.
     
  2. Second is time: For any activity to count as cardio, it has to last at least 10 minutes per session. Shoot for a minimum of 10-20 minutes per session, building up to a full hour over time. And remember, time can be cumulative, so 10 minutes here and there throughout the day is a perfectly fine and convenient way to squeeze in your cardio!
Lastly, for best results, you need to do at least 3 days of cardio—with no more than 2 days off between sessions—per week. As you get stronger, you can work towards doing cardio 5 to 6 days a week.
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomeGirls.com, FitBottomedMamas.com and FitBottomedEats.com. A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

  • I do Curves Circuit Training every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Trying to add some walking on the days in between ;) - 10/9/2014 4:07:39 PM
  • JICAMA19
    I walked up and down my stairs for 15 minutes, I was told that I burned 150 calories. I also so parked my car at the end of the mall and walked to the front entrance, then walked around the mall and back to my car. I loved it! - 8/26/2014 4:22:08 PM
  • Thanks for sharing - 7/12/2014 6:17:31 AM
  • BARBOWENS
    I do 30 to 60 mins. a day on a airofit. - 5/9/2014 1:19:05 PM
  • Thanks for sharing. I love that I am doing cardio when I do housework! At least there is something good about it. - 5/9/2014 5:51:13 AM
  • I think this is a wonderful list to show people how they work cardio exercise into their daily routine. Like it points out you have to get your heart rate up and it has to be for 10 minutes. - 5/8/2014 8:53:14 AM
  • Clean house or do cardio? Now I don't have to guiltily choose. - 5/8/2014 8:40:14 AM
  • Did I miss yardwork? You can work up quite a sweat raking leaves! :-) - 5/8/2014 6:49:01 AM
  • BEEHAPPY48
    Played baseball with grandkids. Pitching and chasing balls. 45 min. - 4/17/2014 1:18:28 AM
  • GCANO44
    Did 5 miles on my treadmill this morning.. 5am! Woohoo.. feeling great! - 3/27/2014 4:36:28 PM
  • DESSENCE
    I did Jillian 30 shred this morning.... day three. One more day to go to hit my goal of 4 days this week! I also have toning schedule for this evening - 1/24/2014 11:16:50 AM
  • MATTFN
    Unfortunately, this wasn't very informative for the activities that would count as a workout. Washing windows, even sliding doors and lots of windows, isn't anything like the intensity required for major renovations, and doing a stair climber isn't anything like using a hand wheel at the gym. I would have liked to see these ranked appropriately for some real guidelines. - 1/13/2014 11:20:53 AM
  • Did Elliptical for 60 min - 1/2/2014 7:54:12 PM
  • Walked this afternoon for approximately 25 minutes on the treadmill varying the incline and speed. - 11/14/2013 2:26:27 PM
  • DIANARUE1
    I walked/ jogged this morning for just over 30 minutes. Will be running around after a 2 year old all day today! - 11/13/2013 12:13:56 AM
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