Types of Cardio Training (And Their Benefits!!)

Ah, cardio... Although we all love to hate cardio, it’s important to remember that not ALL cardio was created equal!

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INTENSITY VS IMPACT:

First off, there’s a difference between INTENSITY and IMPACT.

Intensity is the amount of effort you exert when performing a specific activity, which can be determined by how high your heart rate is. Maximum intensity can be reached no matter what type of cardio you are doing, as long as you are pushing yourself hard enough.

Impact, on the other hand, is the impact (or stress) a specific type of cardio has on your body, generated by force. The higher the impact, the more risk there is on your joints - particularly when both feet leave the ground - such as running, jumping, hopping and plyometric exercises.

Since we can control intensity but can’t control impact, it’s important to know what types of cardio is best for your body at any given time. Here’s a list of the types of cardio you can incorporate into your fitness routine, including their impact levels and (some) benefits:

HIGH-IMPACT:

HIIT training (this includes sprints, burpees, jumping jacks and plyometric movements)

→ One of the most difficult methods of cardio (not for beginners)

→ Very hard on the joints, but great for muscle growth

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Increases stability & coordination skills

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Burns calories WELL BEYOND actually performing the activity

 

Outdoor Running

→ Outdoor cardio known to have therapeutic properties

→ Not for beginners; however, can become addicting once you work up to this level

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Can burn calories for some time after performing the activity

→ One of the most inexpensive forms of physical activity (no gym required)

 

Jump Rope

→ Very hard on the joints, but great for muscle growth

→ Burns more calories per minute than nearly any other physical activity

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Increases coordination skills

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Can burn calories for some time after performing the activity

 

Aerobic Cardio Classes

→ Extremely fun way to get in a workout

→ Very hard on the joints, but great for muscle growth

→ Increases your coordination, balance & other athletic properties

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Can burn calories for some time after performing the activity


 

MODERATE-IMPACT:

Outdoor Biking

→ Great for building the quad and glute muscles

→ Increases stability & coordination skills

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Outdoor cardio known to have therapeutic properties

 

Cross-Country Skiing

→ Great for building leg & core muscles

→ Increases stability & coordination skills

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Outdoor cardio known to have therapeutic properties

 

Stair Climber (Stairmaster)

→ Great for building the quad and glute muscles

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

 

Treadmill

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Lowers blood pressure

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Burns more calories than walking

 

Outdoor Jogging

→ Improves overall heart and bone health

→ Outdoor cardio known to have therapeutic properties

→ Lowers blood pressure

→ Increases endurance levels

→ Burns more calories than walking

→ One of the most inexpensive forms of physical activity (no gym required)

 

LOW-IMPACT:

Rowing

→ Great for building upper body strength

→ Easier on the lower body muscles, including the knees

→ Great for beginners

→ Lowers blood pressure

→ Increases endurance levels

 

Swimming

→ Water adds increased resistance, which is great for muscle building

→ Great for beginners or people suffering from joint issues

→ Known to have therapeutic properties

→ Lowers blood pressure

→ Increases endurance levels

 

Stationary Bike

→ Builds strong leg muscles

→ Great for beginners or people suffering from joint issues

→ Lowers blood pressure

→ Increases endurance levels

 

Elliptical

→ Can be used to achieve a great “full-body” workout

→ Great for beginners or people suffering from joint issues

→ Lowers blood pressure

→ Increases endurance levels

 

Walking (Indoors/Outdoors)

→ Great for beginners or people suffering from joint issues

→ One of the most inexpensive forms of physical activity (no gym required)

→ Lowers blood pressure

→ Increases endurance levels