Cardio is the short-form of cardiovascular and among the “fitness fraternity” refers to exercise that speeds up the pumping of the heart and lungs and makes the sweat glands work harder. During an intense cardio, breathing becomes deeper and endorphins are released that increase energy, build strength and stamina and promote weight loss.
There are new forms of exercise that keep adding to the “Cardio” tag, but here we discuss seven of the best.
Rowing Tops the list of cardio workouts, promising to burn 800+ calories per hour, as it uses almost 85% of muscles in the body. The movement and resistance experienced during rowing is so powerful that it feels like a blast after every session. The activity engages the upper and lower body, strengthening the arms and back. It is advisable to moderately row for at least 30 minutes a day to avoid muscle injury.
Burpees are performed as a perpendicular movement, where the speed of switching between positions is key. The power in the exercise lies in going from standing to plank within the least possible time. Few beginners find it painful and inconvenient, but “burpees fanatics” can vouch for the fact that the workout burns approximately 12–15 calories a minute.
Running is as old as the hills. It is the first thing that comes to mind at the mention of the word “exercise”. Brisk running can burn 600+ calories per hour. It is necessary to begin with a slow jog for a couple of minutes and gradually gain and maintain speed before slowing down again to a jog and finish.
Swimming aims at muscle-tone, strength, endurance and weight loss, as water puts up more resistance when compared to air. This resists movement, which in turn challenges the body to fight to move forward. With a capacity to burn 600+ calories per hour, it is recommended to include a swimming schedule of 20 minutes a day / 3 days a week into the overall exercise plan.
Battle Ropes burn approximately 400 calories an hour. The exercise is super-rigorous and can make you gasp for breath, as it targets the chest. The lower body holds position while the upper body swings the ropes to perform a strength-building workout.
Cycling burns 400+ calories per hour and works at toning the lower body — hips, glutes, thighs, knees and calves. The arms, shoulders and upper body are fairly used as they need to hold position. High pedaling speed makes cycling an intensive workout and with a slot of 30 minutes a day / 3 days a week, it sure contributes to an explosive fitness target.
Jumping Rope brings back memories of childhood, when it was called skipping. As kids we skipped till we were tired or it was time for a friend’s turn. As part of a fitness regime, jumping rope is a cardio that can be done at the gym or at home with little or no investment. You would need to jump rope for at least an hour to burn approximately 500+ calories.
While a high-intensity cardio for 30–45 minutes a day / 5 days a week is an explosive way to burn 500 calories and stay in shape and good health, a moderate cardio for an hour is a great and sustainable way to achieve the same goal. However, it is imperative to provide for rest days to relax, rejuvenate and recover, before getting back to the grind.