What are the best cardio exercises to lose weight?

First off, I don’t necessarily think that any one exercise is best.  There are a wide variety of cardio exercises to lose weight, but the best is ultimately the one that you enjoy performing consistently, on a regular basis.  Sure, some of the exercises below will burn more calories than others, but the most important factor to me is intensity.  Despite its many benefits, you won’t see walking listed below because it’s not the most efficient way to lose weight given the lack of intensity.  In no particular order, here are some of the best cardio exercises to lose weight.

Best Cardio Exercises

1. Sprinting: good old fashion outdoor sprints where you exert as much energy as you can.  For an increased challenge, perform beach sprints where the instability of the sand will really work your muscles.  If that’s too easy, start running up hills.

2. Jump Rope: a great way to get your heart pumping while improving coordination.  Once you get the coordination down, you can perform a really intense workout.

3. Kickboxing: take out your aggression on a punching bag.  In addition to getting a good cardiovascular workout, you’ll likely improve muscle tone from the resistance the bag offers.  You’re also likely to improve core strength from twisting motions involved in punching and kicking.

4. Roller Skating / Ice Skating / Cross Country Skiing: simple outdoor activities that may not seem like much but can really get you winded.  Roller skating and ice skating may actually trump sprinting due to the side to side motion required to get you going.  Cross country skiing is a great way to add a little extra focus on your arms.

5. Rowing Machine: this is the latest toy I’ve been playing with and wow is it tough.  It’s a full body workout so you’ll probably burn more calories here than in some other exercises.  You’ll have to utilize your legs to push off while your back and arms pull the mechanical rowing arms.  Additionally, there’s a resistance component involved so you’ll build muscle while burning fat.

6. Swimming: if you have access to a pool, swimming is a highly effective way to lose weight.  The added bonus is that it is low impact.  Unlike sprinting where your knees may take a pounding, swimming involves a nice smooth motion while still giving your lungs a workout.

7. Biking: I generally use biking as part of a steady state routine, but you can do some intense intervals as well.  An upright bike is more effective than a recumbent bike for this type of training.

8. Stepper: basically like climbing hills/stairs.  Enough said.

9. Elliptical: some people will argue that you can’t perform an intense workout on an elliptical.  I’d say it depends on the type of elliptical.  Personally, I have a rear drive elliptical that I can instantly accelerate to sprinting speed on.  However, I’ve tried front drive ellipticals that only allow me to perform steady state cardio.  This is another good low impact exercise.

10.  Treadmill: I’m not a big fan of the treadmill, but a lot of people can perform intense intervals by using one.  I just don’t like the idea of trying to select an appropriate speed that will allow me to sprint but not fall off.  That being said, just like running, you’ll burn calories here once you can perform an adequately intense workout.

Other Exercises to Lose Weight

1. Resistance Training: studies have shown that resistance training actually burns more calories than cardio.  The challenge is that most cardio exercises can be performed longer than resistance training exercises.  This type of training could include weight lifting, bodyweight exercises, circuit training, or even kettlebells.

2. Classes: not really an exercise per say, but things like spinning, step aerobics, Zoomba and other group activities involve some challenging, but fun workouts.

3. Yoga: I don’t have enough experience with yoga to offer an opinion, but I’ve read about types of yoga that can be relatively intense.

The Best Exercises to Lose Weight

How can you use these exercises to lose weight?  I’d recommend checking out my post on the Best Cardio For Weight Loss to see my preferred routine to maximize fat loss.  I hope that these exercises provide enough variety to help you craft your own workout.  I also realize that most people don’t enjoy cardio but hope that at least one of these exercises is appealing enough for you to perform regularly.  That type of consistent, intense workout is what will make these the best cardio exercises to lose weight.

Lose Fat With Daily Aerobic & Cardiovascular Exercise Workout Routines