Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio for short, has a plethora of benefits. Cardio is good for your whole body, helping to prevent heart problems, manage your blood pressure and reduce cholesterol. It’s also a proven way to relieve stress and boost brainpower.
One of the main selling points of cardio is how much it can assist in burning fat. Even doing a few 30-minute cardio workouts a week can boost weight loss, when combined with a healthy diet. With such extensive benefits, there’s really no reason not to do some cardio.
These exercise machines offer great cardio workouts for boosting health and burning fat. While they are available in many gyms, you can also buy your own to get a good home workout.
The original and the most popular cardio machine. Treadmills are appreciated for their simplicity- all you need to do is get on, start and run! Modern electric treadmills offer a range of controls for your workout. You can raise the speed for a more heart-pumping workout. Increasing the incline is also an effective way to get a better workout at lower speeds.
It depends on the level of incline and speed you use, but you could potentially burn a few hundred calories in a 30-minute treadmill workout. The only real drawback of the treadmill is it can feel limiting. If you’re happy to run on a small patch of rubber, you might be happier to be out running in nature.
Elliptical machines, also known as cross-trainers, are a relatively new entry to the cardio machine market. They were first introduced by the Precor company in 1995 and have since become one of the trendiest machines for cardio workouts.
Ellipticals work both your upper and lower body, as you push and pull on handles while you run. They have fewer controls than some other cardio machines, but generally offer different levels of tension. You generate the workout yourself with how fast you use your arms and legs. You can choose to give yourself a fast-paced, fat-burning sprint or a slow walking marathon.
Elliptical machines are a favorite for many cardio enthusiasts. If you’re in the market for one, it’s worth looking at an Elliptical Machines Review.
Workouts on climbing machines can be absolutely exhausting. You use both your arms and legs to replicate the motion of climbing, making it an excellent upper and lower body workout. Most climbing machines use pedals and handles. The Jacob’s Ladder is an interesting alternative, on which you climb up a revolving ladder.
Exercise bikes (also referred to as stationary bikes) are another popular cardio machine available in all gyms. The name says it all- these are simply bikes without wheels. You pedal while you hold onto handles which can measure your heart rate and let you know how much fat you’re burning.
Regular exercise bikes usually have controls to change the pedal resistance and see your workout stats. Another common form is the spin bike. Spin bikes are smaller exercise bikes without electronics. They use a weighted flywheel for you to generate your own level of resistance. Spinning is hugely popular for workout classes.
An offshoot of the exercise bike. Recumbent bikes offer all the same features with the key difference being the position. You lean back in a chair with a backrest and have handles at the side of you. These can be better for your back, although the workouts can be less intense.
The fact you can lean back and use nothing but your legs makes recumbent bikes ideal for reading or using your phone while you work out.
If you’ve ever sprinted up a long flight of stairs, you know how easy it is to break a sweat doing it. Now imagine sprinting up a never-ending escalator.
That’s the general concept behind stair climbers. They provide a grueling fat-burning workout while also toning your legs.
The problem with stair climbers (or stair machines) is they require a lot of power and cost a lot. This means it isn’t practical to get one for home use, but if there’s one at your gym it’s well worth using!
Stepping machines are similar to stair machines, and often referred to by the same name. The difference is that instead of a revolving stairwell, they use stepping pedals with varying levels of resistance.
You can also get portable steppers without handles. These are good for home workouts. While you might not get as much of a cardio workout, they can burn a few extra calories while you tone your legs.
Rowing machines offer one of the most complete cardio workouts in the sense they put your whole body to work. Pulling back on the handle pumps your lats and contracts your biceps while pushing away from the pedals works your glutes and quads. Your core is also used throughout to keep a straight posture.
Rowing is the best way to get cardio while working all muscle groups. The technique is important, so make sure you practice the right form for rowing.
Airdyne bikes are like a mixture of exercise bikes and elliptical machines, as you push and pull the handles while pedaling. These can be perfect for a heart-pumping workout. It’s even possible to burn 87 calories in a minute! Airdyne bikes create more resistance the harder you pedal. If you’re looking for a challenging workout, they’re a great alternative to a regular stationary bike.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Workouts
Alright, so this last one isn’t an exercise machine. But it is an effective cardio-boosting method you can use with any kind of cardio machine.
High-Intensity Interval Training workouts involve alternating between slow and fast paces while doing cardio. For example, you might walk on a treadmill for a minute, sprint at a high speed for 30 seconds then repeat the cycle for 20 minutes.
Interval training is hailed for its range of benefits. You can burn more fat, prevent muscle breakdown and even boost your metabolism in a much shorter workout. You can apply HIIT to all kinds of cardio. If you want a cheap workout, you can even do interval training with a jump rope!