Different Types Of Cardio Exercises

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Arguably, one of the most common questions that you will hear from people who are embarking on a healthy lifestyle is, what is the best cardio for weight loss?

Many individuals will reply to this question with their favorite cardio activity, like running, swimming or biking.

Among physical fitness experts, however, cardiovascular training comes in six different types…

1) Low Intensity, Long Duration

Biking on asphalt

This cardio training type is characterized by an intensity of activity producing 40 to 60 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Newbies to physical training usually begin at this level.

Regardless of whether you are walking, jogging or biking, you observe a slow, easy but continuous pace lasting over 40 minutes.

You will know that you’re doing this training right if you can talk without being winded.

This training type helps to build strength and endurance for more rigorous activities.

It is also a good launching platform for overweight or obese persons to lose weight.

2) Medium Intensity, Medium Duration

In this type of cardio training, the intensity of activity produces an estimated 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Here, the cardio activities that you were doing in the first type are sped up to a medium pace with a duration of 20 to 40 minutes.

You can expect increased aerobic capacity and greater fat loss. You will also experience heavy breathing during this training.

A variation of this cardio type is Continuous Training, wherein you walk or jog at a medium pace for 40 to 60 minutes or more.

This training aids in body conditioning and endurance building.

3) High Intensity, Short Duration

Exercise high intensity

In this type of cardio, your aerobic activity should push you to your anaerobic threshold, which is estimated at 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Because it is highly demanding and intense, this type of training can only be done for 5 to 20 minutes depending upon your fitness level.

Greater weight loss can be achieved with this cardio type.

4) Interval Training

Interval Training involves performing a moderate or high-intensity activity and alternating it with a period or rest or low-intensity activity.

There are two sub-types of interval training, namely aerobic and anaerobic.

In aerobic interval training, you begin with a moderate or high-intensity activity and then alternate it with a low-intensity activity for a shorter time.

For example, you can sprint for a full 3 minutes first and then walk slowly for 1 minute.

In anaerobic interval training, both the duration of moderate/high-intensity activity and low intensity are the same.

For example, sprint as hard and as fast as you can for 30 seconds then walk slowly for 30 seconds.

With anaerobic training though, you need to push yourself to 85 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate.

One form of interval training that you will frequently hear is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

With HIIT, you perform a high-intensity physical activity that is shorter in duration than the alternating low physical activity.

As an example, you can sprint for 15 seconds and then follow it with walking for a full minute or more.

5) Fartlek Training

Translated as speed play, Fartlek training was developed by Swedish fitness expert and coach, Gosta Holmer.

This cardio type combines continuous and interval training, wherein you mix periods of fast running and periods of slow walking.

In some training regimens, it could be a mix of running, sprinting and walking.

Done in a single session, not only is it good for calorie and fat burning, it offers variety in a persons training regimen so that he or she doesn’t get bored.

6) Circuit Training

Circuit Training

Circuit training is a type of resistance training which employs high-intensity aerobics.

In this type, the exercise session is divided into parts, called circuits, composed of exercises targeting specific parts of the body.

Upon completion of one circuit, you move on to the next circuit.

For example, you can start with exercises that target the upper body, such as bench lifts and squats.

Once you have completed your upper body circuit, you will next do the exercises for your core and legs.

The main advantage of circuit training above all other cardio types is that every part of the body is given a workout, unlike in other training types wherein the legs and feet are primarily used.

As a result, you have a well-balanced fitness program. In addition, not only will you achieve greater weight loss with circuit training, you can also condition, tone and maintain your body.

As you can see, there are many different types of cardio.

To determine the best cardio to lose weight you have to see the advantages of each type and how that will benefit or hinder you.


Sterling is a writer, fitness junkie and loves all things technology. Sterling is the owner of ChainsToGains.com and you can get in touch with him there or on his Tumblr if you have any questions or comments.

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