What Is The Best Cardio Exercise To Lose Weight?

There are many weight loss myths to sort through. Some of these misconceptions suggest that one method of working out is better than another. But, in truth, combining different kinds of physical activity offer many benefits.

Cardio is essential for weight loss, but strength training helps as well. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, it’s easier to attain healthy caloric deficits with more muscle. Before assuming the only solution for your weight loss is running, let’s explore a few common issues using only one kind of exercise. 

Fitness Plateaus

A common side effect of performing the same physical activity plateaus your goals. You may find weight loss or muscle gain slowing over time. If you repeat the same exercises with the same performance goals for long enough, you’ll find your body adapts. There are a few solutions to ensure you avoid plateaus, though, including:

  • Diversify: do you only run, walk, etc.? Consider changing up your fitness routine.
  • Diet: Emphasize nutrient quality over caloric intake alone.
  • Sleep: Keep your body regular by sleeping enough each night.

Breaking fitness plateaus to reach weight loss goals takes patience and planning. Developing a weight loss and workout plan depends on your body’s needs. You might benefit from shorter, more intense workouts, or maybe you need low-impact options. Let’s explore different types of cardio exercises.

Types of Cardio Exercise

These exercises give you many options for reaching your weight loss goals. Consider your personal needs, alongside existing plans, when building a fitness routine.


Sprinting and running are tried and true cardio exercises. You can run in many different ways for a variety of benefits. You can run anywhere there’s an open road, trail, sidewalk, track, or treadmill. Other running methods include:

  • Long-distance: for endurance and consistency
  • Interval training: segments of jogging and sprinting
  • Hill sprints: for lung training and muscle building
  • Tempo or threshold: trains a sustained fast pace

Running isn’t for everyone. Climate and mindset can increase its difficulty. Plus, some people need or prefer a lower impact fitness routine. 


HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a great cardio exercise to break any fitness plateau. There are various kinds of HIIT workouts, some of which are sprint-based. In addition, specific exercise equipment offers a high-intensity setting, but you don’t need a gym to do this cardio exercise.

Shorter rest periods make this cardio even more impactful. Due to its intensity, HIIT isn’t for everyone. It’s hard on joints but produces excellent results – if you’re suited for it. You can always work up to a higher intensity over time.


Cardio exercise isn’t always a full-body workout. Rowing machines, which you can buy at home or use at a gym, are great for upper body cardio routines. You can simulate rowing motions with bodyweight exercises too. Of course, if you want rowing to be a full-body exercise, you can use your legs and abs too.


Not everyone has access to a pool, but swimming is a great cardio exercise if you do. If you want to use water weight for resistance exercises, you’re still getting some great cardio.

You don’t have to be an experienced swimmer either. Treading water alone burns energy and requires effort to stay afloat. If you have access to a lap pool, consider intervals, laps, kickboards, or other tools. It’s a low-resistance routine too.


If you have a bike, you can cycle. It can be a stationary bike or a regular one. Intervals on a stationary bike boost calorie burn at a high enough intensity.

With a regular bicycle, you can choose where to ride. It’s a great way to break up your workouts and get out of the home, especially if you do most of your fitness.

Jumping Rope

Jump ropes are a favorite cardio tool for many. From kids to boxers, jumping rope is a great way to exercise. Highly portable and adaptive, you can jump rope for as short or as long as possible. 

If you want to jump for a more extended period, switch between fast and slow intervals for endurance. You can also rest for 20 to 30-second bursts after minute-long jumping intervals. This is an excellent option for anyone on the go.


Stairs are everywhere. Although stair climbers are at gyms, if you have any at home or a nearby park, they’re a great (free) fitness option. You can strength train, sprint, and more with stairs. Of course, bleachers work well (if you have regular access to them).

If you have weights, you can turn your stair workout into a full-body movement. You can also upgrade this cardio with duration, pacing, and more. 

Work Hard to Win Hard

The best way to experience weight loss through cardio is to work at it. Build a routine and adapt it over time to avoid plateaus. Explore a variety of fitness routines and discover the difference between consistent fitness classes for yourself.

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