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Top 10 Cardio Routines To Lose Weight Fast

It’s well known that cardio is important and effective for weight loss. But with so many machines and possible activities, it can be a challenge to know which are the best cardio routines to lose weight. Naturally, you can shed pounds with any activity and what you best like doing is probably your best choice. However, I want to share with you my top 10 favorite cardio exercises.

woman doing cardio routine

As this is a personal list, you don’t have to choose one of these workouts. But if you’re looking for a way to burn a lot of calories with cardio, these are the workouts I recommend. They tend to be more intense and so they will help you achieve faster and better results.

Naturally, you do need to make an effort to get results as you can read here: cardio workout tips.

1. Running

This is an all-time favorite of mine and for good reason. I’ve lost the bulk of my weight years ago when I began to run regularly, first 3 miles and up to 15 miles per run. Yes, I am or was a cardio addict. I love running because I feel that this workout gets your entire body to move and join the effort and because it burns a lot of calories. I also like the tranquility and clarity of mind that comes upon me when I run. The downside is that this is mostly a solitary activity. You can join a runners club but I usually did this cardio routine alone.

2. Jumping rope

One of the best fitness decisions I’ve made was to buy a jump rope. I just go down to the park outside the building where I live and in 5-10 minutes, I’ve completed an awesome cardio workout. Jumping rope can be quite intense. It builds stamina, coordination, and burns lots of calories. And it’s probably the cheapest way to do cardio… apart from running or walking that is.

3. Walking

While walking isn’t one of the most intense cardio workouts you can do, I include it here because I love walking and it because it’s something every healthy person can do. You don’t need equipment, you don’t need any special skill, you can do it even if you’re too overweight to do higher intensity cardio, and because it works.

Walking is a great way to burn more calories. You can’t expect super-fast results with this cardio routine. It’s for a slow and gradual weight loss. However, walking is a great social sport because you can actually talk while doing it. Some people walk with ankle weights for extra intensity, but it’s not a must. You don’t even have to go outside to do this workout. There are special walking workouts DVDs that you can use. Some of them are very good. The one I know best is Walk Away the Pounds, but you may be able to find others.

4. Aerobic step classes

A recent favorite of mine, I find that these classes work your body in an entirely different way than other cardio workouts. The movements are less repetitive and more complex so even a person who’s in a great cardiovascular condition because he or she are used to running, will find these classes challenging.

5. Cycling

I find that cycling outdoors and indoors, though both effective, are totally different. Cycling outdoors is much more intense than doing so on a recumbent bike, especially is this bike has a back rest.

The one benefit that recumbent bikes do have is the ability to increase resistance and do workout in every weather condition (although some people have no problem cycling in freezing temperature). There’s no doubt that cycling can tone your legs and burn lot of calories. The main thing you should remember is that cycling as a cardio workout is not the same as cycling for transportation. You have to put in a lot more effort in the former. couple running

6. Hiking

Different from walking, hiking for me involves walking in the wild, usually with quite a bit of uphill climbing. Hiking is usually harder to do than walking due to the terrain and you can get a pretty effective fat burning and lower body strength workout by going out into nature and just hiking about.

7. Skiing

The perfect winter sport and a challenging physical activity if there ever was one. You need very powerful legs and core muscles to be able to ski without feeling your legs turn to jello. Whether it’s downhill skiing or cross-country, if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, this is one of the top cardio routines that will help you lose fat fast.

8. Rowing

One of my favorite cardio workouts, rowing tones the upper body while giving your a massive cardiovascular stimulation. You will build a strong arm and back and burn off calories at top speed. If you’re using a rowing machine, I recommend setting the highest resistance you can to make sure you get the fullest benefit of this workout and burn the most calories you can.

9. Basketball

While this isn’t a specific cardiovascular workout, B-ball is my favorite team sport. All that running, sprinting, and jumping gets the heart rate up quickly and gets you to burn lots of fat. What’s great about a team sport like this is that the time passes quickly because you’re having lots of fun with friends. Other team sports you can do include soccer, hockey, tennis, etc.

10. Swimming

Building a powerful body while burning lots of calories is what swimming is all about. Those professional swimmers don’t get those incredible looking bodies for no reason, this is what swimming regularly does to you. You can burn lots of fat while swimming and you will also get an awesome strength workout in the process.

In Conclusion

As you can see, you have many options to choose from when it comes to doing cardio to lose weight. There is simply no excuse not to take action as soon as possible. I recommend choosing more than one cardio routine and incorporate them into your workout schedule. This will keep things interesting for you and help you to burn fat fast.

Date published: December 1, 2010. Last modified: June 3, 2012


  1. Ok john I will. Can I ask you a qustion ? what do you think about the low glycemic diet ? I got a cook book to learn how to cook healthy.

  2. hey john, I am so glad that the aerobic step made your top ten because I just started yesterday and Im loving it…

    • Hey Vicky, I’m glad you like it. Are you using an particular DVD or program with it?

      • yes I am, I found a dvd call shapely girl. the lady’s in the dvd are plus size too, so Im working out with people who look like me and that makes a big difference. I don’t feel alone when Im working out. I have about 90 to 100 lbs to lose.

        • Ah, the ones with Debra Mazda, right? She is an awesome motivator. I’m glad you found something that you love doing. Please share your progress with those DVDs.

  3. Nice iam trying to get into great shape now after my third baby and am a very active mom that just moved from fl to utah big change and was feeling a down but now that I know sking is great to burn fat I am ready to try it thanx:-)

  4. I like the tips. On the cycling tip “which is my main cardio activity” you failed to mention that if you are riding indoors using a trainer, there are DVD’s to help. A one hour ride 3x’s a week is very beneficial to losing lbs..I have lost 17 lbs since September. Not all just biking but I’d say 80%.

    • Hey Joe,

      You’re right. Thank you for the tip. Care to share more about the specifics of the workouts you do? I’m sure a lot more people will want to know how to lose as much as you did.

  5. Hi, she has many DVDs. You can find pretty much all of them here: Debra Mazda’s DVDs

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