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The 12 Best Cardio Exercises For Weight Loss (Home And Gym)

You’ve decided you want to do extra cardio for weight loss. The next question is what the best cardio exercises for weight loss are.

Cardio is the kind of exercise that raises your heart beat by a moderate amount. It’s one of the first things people think of when trying to lose weight.

There are exercises mainly for the (home) gym and others for all kinds of locations.

What exercise burns the most belly fat?

While it isn’t possible to target specific areas of your body to burn fat, not all kinds of exercises will help weight loss in equal amounts.

It’s possible to categorize exercise into 3 categories. Cardio, high intensity interval training (HIIT) and weight lifting to build muscle.

If you’re looking for the most long term weight loss for the least amount of effort, muscle building exercises are what you’re looking for.

However, there are other things to consider when choosing your weight loss workout plan. It’s not only about choosing the exercise that burns the most calories. It’s also about being able to stick to the workout plan.

If you absolutely hate a certain kind of exercise you are doing, chances are you won’t keep it up for long. This means that while building muscle might help you burn more calories, cardio might be better for you personally.

You might also just want to switch up your workout every once in a while.

In both cases you can get some inspiration from these 12 best cardio exercises for weight loss.

What exercise burns the most belly fat

The 12 best cardio exercises

How many calories you burn while exercising depends on a lot of different things like age, weight, activity levels, body composition,…

The calorie amounts in the list below are an estimation (1) of calories burned during a 30 minute session for a 155-pound person. These numbers can help you get a better image of how long you should do cardio to burn fat.

The 6 best cardio exercises for weight loss at the gym

Find out what the best cardio machines in the gym are. You can also find at home machines for most of the workouts at reasonable prices.

1. The ski machine

This is not the most common gym machine but it apparently is one of the more useful ones for burning a lot of calories in half an hour.

A 155 pound person can expect to burn 353 calories in this timeframe.

2. The elliptical machine

A more familiar machine is the elliptical trainer.

This machine can help you do a workout on both arms and legs. Another advantage is that you’re not putting your body under the same shocks as for example running.

30 minutes of a general workout on the elliptical will help you burn approximately 335 calories.

If you want to do this workout at home check out this list of the 6 best elliptical machines.

3. Running on the treadmill

Running on the treadmill is most likely the most popular cardio exercise in the gym.

While it can be a bit rough on your knees and back it’s still a great workout. The amount of calories you can burn with running is highly dependent on the intensity of your run.

30 minutes of running at 5 miles per hour will help you burn approximately 298 calories if you’re a 155 pound person.

If you want to get your own treadmill check out this list of the 6 best treadmills.

Running on the treadmill as cardio workout

4. Cycling on the spin bike

Cycling is another great exercise that’s not too hard on body parts like knees and back.

30 minutes of moderate cycling will help you burn about 260 calories.

If you want to get your own exercise bike at home check out these 6 best exercise bikes.

5. Rowing machine

Rowing is great if you want to work out your upper body a bit more.

Half an hour of moderate rowing will help you burn approximately 260 calories.

If you want to get your own rowing machine at home check out these 6 best rowing machines.

6. Stepping on the step mill

The step mill basically simulates stepping on an endless stairway. While it might not sound that fun at first it can help you burn a nice amount of calories.

Stepping on the step mill at a moderate tempo for 30 minutes will help you burn about 223 calories.

best cardio exercises for weight loss at the gym

The 6 best cardio exercises for weight loss at home

Not everyone wants to go the gym and that’s fine. There are plenty of cardio workouts for weight loss you can do at home or at least near your house. There exist a lot of cardio group sports but for simplicity this list consists of solo workouts.

1. Swimming (crawl)

Swimming can be a lot of fun in the summer. It can also help you burn a good amount of calories all year around.

30 minutes of swimming in crawl will help you burn approximately 409 calories if you’re a 155 pound person.

On top of that you will probably burn a few extra calories if the temperature of the water is on the low side.

2. Jumping rope

Jumping rope is a great way to sneak in some extra exercise whenever you have some extra time, no matter how much time you have.

30 minutes of jumping rope will help you burn about 372 calories.

3. Bicycling (14-15.9 mph)

Bicycling can be done both at the gym and at home. The benefit of taking your real bike out on a spin is the enjoyment of being outside. If you don’t see that as a benefit you might want to get your own exercise bike.

30 minutes of bicycling will help you burn about 372 calories.

4. Boxing (sparring)

A round of sparring with the punching bag or kickboxing with a friend can help you practice some self-defense and burn off some extra calories

30 minutes of sparring will help you burn approximately 335 calories if you’re a 155 pound person.

Woman boxing as cardio exercise

5. Running (5 mph)

Running at 10 mph is at the top of the list with 614 calories if you do it for 30 minutes but that’s just not realistic for most people.

A more credible tempo is half an hour of running at 5 miles an hour. This will help you burn approximately 335 calories if you’re a 155 pound person.

6. Cross country skiing and snow shoeing

If you’re up for some winter sports cross country skiing and snow shoeing might be for you.

Both help you burn about 298 calories per 30 minute workout.

Exercising is not for everyone

Even though a lot of people will claim you have to start exercising immediately, that might not be the best option for you.

Let’s say it’s been over a year since you last did some serious exercising. Chances are your heart and other muscles are not ready for exercising. If you add some extra pounds over the years you might be getting yourself into a dangerous situation.

In this situation it can be wise to start with a little bit of walking and build up from there.

If you have any other conditions or doubts in general it might be smart to talk to your primary care provider before starting extreme workout routines.

How much cardio should you do a day to lose weight?

This depends a lot in what state your body is and how big of a calorie deficit you’re looking to achieve. If you are just starting out a short 15 minute walk every day is something you can start with.

When you’re ready you can start adding some of the cardio workouts in the mix 2 times a week. Ever increasing duration and frequency.

Exercising is great but most of the time it’s not the most important part of your weight loss routine. You can even lose weight without exercising.

Too much exercise can even reverse weight loss efforts. It’s a stressful thing for your body and sometimes your body doesn’t need more of that.

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Matt Claes

Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.

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