5 Types of Cardio: Finding Your Perfect Fit

Are you struggling to find the right type of cardio for your fitness goals? 

You’ve probably heard of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) but did you know that only 1 of 5 types of cardio?

Each of the 5 types of cardio is suited for different people and situations, but don’t let confusion keep you from achieving your fitness goals! Get expert advice on the type of cardio that will be best suited to help you reach those goals quickly and sustainably.

From interval training to steady state, we offer tips and suggestions plus beneficial exercises no matter what level of athlete you are or how much time you can commit each day. 

Read our complete guide now to find out which form of cardio is right for YOU!

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My name is Molli Lou and I didn’t always know what type of cardio was right for me.

Since learning about the different types of cardio, I’ve managed to get past my plateaus and reach my fitness goals way easier.

Now let’s explore those types!

The 5 Types of Cardio, and How to Choose What’s Right for You

Let me know if you can relate to this. So you’re at the gym, and someone gets on the treadmill next to you. Suddenly you find yourself matching their pace and getting all in your head about it because you don’t know if you’re doing it right anymore.

Before you know it, you find yourself avoiding the gym, or going at less than ideal times, and avoiding certain machinery, slowly sabotaging any enjoyment you might have gotten from going in the first place.

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So how do we prevent this, other than stopping going to the gym and getting out of shape? You have a cardio strategy, and then you know your workout is strategic and then it doesn’t matter what the other person next to you is doing. You’re doing what you’re doing for an intentional reason.

Let’s dive into the 5 types of cardio!

5 Types of Cardio

Cardio is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health, burn calories, and boost overall fitness.

There are five main types of cardio that you can incorporate into your workout routine: steady-state, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, aerobic interval training, and low-intensity steady-state.

Each type of cardio has its own unique benefits and can be tailored to fit your fitness goals and preferences. So why not try them all and see which one gives you the best results?

types of cardio

#1 – Aerobic Interval Training

Aerobic interval training is a form of exercise that involves alternating periods of high-intensity activity with periods of lower-intensity activity.

This type of exercise is great for those looking to get a great workout in a shorter amount of time. Aerobic interval training can help increase cardiovascular endurance and improve overall fitness.

To do aerobic interval training, start with a warm-up, then begin with a high-intensity activity for a set amount of time, such as sprinting for 30 seconds. Follow that with a period of lower-intensity activity, such as jogging or walking, for a set amount of time.

Repeat these cycles for a desired time period and finish with a cool down.

So, whether you choose to run, swim, bike, or do another form of aerobic exercise, aerobic interval training can be a fun and effective way to reach your fitness goals.

Who it’s for:

This type of training has shown many benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, increasing metabolism, and helping to burn fat.

Aerobic Interval Training is great for anyone looking to switch up their workout routine and challenge themselves.

It’s a versatile method that can be modified to suit different fitness levels and preferences.

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just starting on your fitness journey, Aerobic Interval Training can be an effective and enjoyable way to get in shape.

#2 – HIIT: High-Intensity Interval Training

Are you looking for a workout that can give you maximum results in minimal time? High-Intensity Interval Training, known as HIIT, could be just the thing for you.

This type of workout involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief rest periods. The goal is to push your body to its limits with quick, intense bursts of activity.

The good news is that you don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership to do HIIT. Many exercises, such as jump squats, burpees, or jumping jacks, can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Just don’t forget to stay hydrated and warm up beforehand!

Who it’s for:

If you’re an individual who is looking to take your cardio exercises to the next level, then HIIT may be perfect for you.

This type of training involves alternating short bursts of high-intensity cardio with periods of lower-intensity recovery.

Research has shown that HIIT is one of the most effective ways to improve cardiovascular health and burn calories in less time than traditional cardio workouts.

So, not only can HIIT help you reach your fitness goals faster, but it can also improve your overall health.

#3 – MISS: Medium Intensity Steady State

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, one option that often gets overlooked is Medium Intensity Steady State (MISS) training.

MISS is a great workout option for anyone looking for a low-impact way to improve their endurance and overall fitness level.

The basic idea behind MISS is to maintain a consistent level of exertion for a set period of time – usually around 30-45 minutes.

This can be accomplished through activities like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming. To get started with MISS, choose an activity you enjoy and start by working at a moderate pace for 30 minutes.

Over time, gradually increase the duration or intensity of your workout to continue challenging your body and seeing results.

Who it’s for:

Medium Intensity Steady State, or MISS, is a great workout option for those who are looking for a low-impact but effective way to stay active.

This type of workout involves maintaining a steady, moderate intensity level as opposed to high-intensity intervals or sprints.

MISS is ideal for individuals who are just starting out with cardio or are recovering from an injury but still want to improve their cardiovascular health.

Benefits of MISS include improved endurance, increased fat burn, and reduced risk of injury. Plus, it can easily be adapted to fit your fitness level and schedule.

So if you’re looking for a way to get moving without putting too much stress on your body, give MISS a try!

#4 – LISS: Low-Intensity Steady State

Have you ever heard of Low-Intensity Steady State (LISS) cardio exercises? It’s a great option for anyone looking to increase their cardiovascular endurance without putting too much stress on their joints.

LISS involves performing a low-impact, steady-state exercise for an extended period of time, usually around 30-60 minutes.

It can include activities such as walking, cycling, or swimming at a moderate pace.

The goal is to keep your heart rate at a steady level throughout the workout, allowing your body to burn fat as fuel. So next time you’re looking to switch up your cardio routine, give LISS a try!

Who it’s for:

Are you looking for a low-impact way to improve your cardiovascular health? Low-intensity steady-state cardio might be the perfect match for you!

This type of exercise is gentle on your joints, making it a fantastic option for people who are recovering from injuries, dealing with joint pain, or simply looking for a low-impact workout.

Some benefits of incorporating low-intensity steady-state cardio into your routine include improved endurance, better circulation, and even increased fat burning. Plus, it’s an enjoyable way to get outside and enjoy nature, whether you’re walking, cycling, or swimming.

Remember, it’s always important to listen to your body and start slowly with any new exercise routine, but low-intensity steady-state cardio is a great way to get started.

#5 – Circuit Training

Circuit training is a fantastic way to stay in shape and keep your cardiovascular system healthy. If you’re new to circuit training, don’t worry – it’s easy to get started!

A circuit training program typically involves a series of exercises that target different muscle groups in your body. These exercises are performed in a specific order, with a short rest period between each one.

The aim of circuit training is to increase your heart rate, burn fat, and build muscle. It can be done at home with just a few pieces of equipment, or at the gym with access to more equipment. Regardless of where you do it, circuit training is a fun and challenging way to improve your overall fitness.

Who it’s for:

Circuit training is an excellent way to get in shape, no matter what your fitness goals are!

This type of exercise is versatile and can be tailored to your individual needs and abilities, and can be a method that’s used for strength training as well.

For the person who is short on time and wants to get the most out of their workout, circuit training is ideal. It’s a workout that targets both your cardiovascular system and muscles, burning fat, and building strength at the same time.

Circuit training is perfect for those who like variety in their workouts – with endless exercise combinations and routines, there’s never a dull moment.

My Experience and Routine

When it comes to cardio, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is my go-to. I find it to be the most effective way to get my heart rate up and burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. This type of training increases the body’s need for oxygen, which can lead to a higher post-exercise calorie burn.

My routine typically consists of a 10-minute warm-up followed by 20-30 minutes of HIIT. This typically involves quick sprints, or something similar. I make sure to give myself enough time to recover between each set so I can put all my effort into each round.

While HIIT is great for burning calories and improving cardiovascular fitness, it’s important to mix it up with other forms of cardio. I like to incorporate circuit training into my routine to target specific muscle groups and add some variety to my workouts.

Circuit training involves performing a series of exercises with little to no rest in between. This type of training helps improve strength, endurance, and flexibility. I typically do 3 circuits with whatever exercises I plan to do, starting with reps of typically 12, 8, then 4 in each circuit. This includes exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, russian twists, transverse crunches using a captain’s chair, and my favorite classic, planks.

Having a mix of HIIT and circuit training in my routine keeps me motivated and excited about my workouts. I always feel accomplished after getting my heart rate up and pushing myself to the limit. If you’re looking for an effective and efficient way to improve your fitness, I highly recommend giving HIIT and circuit training a try.

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Risks of Cardio

Cardio exercise, short for cardiovascular exercise, is an important part of any fitness routine. Not only does it strengthen the heart and lungs, but it also helps improve overall health and well-being.

However, like any form of exercise, there are potential risks of cardio that are important to be aware of.

One of the main risks is overexertion, especially if you are new to cardio or pushing yourself too hard. It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your cardiovascular exercise program while listening to your body and any warning signs it may give you.

Other potential risks include injuries from improper form or equipment, dehydration, and even heart problems if you have a preexisting condition.

By following safe exercise practices and consulting with a healthcare professional if necessary, you can enjoy the many benefits of cardio while minimizing its potential risks.

Ways to do Cardio

Cardiovascular training is a vital component of any fitness regimen, but sometimes it can be challenging to know where to start or what equipment to use. Luckily, there are plenty of options available for those looking to elevate their heart rate and strengthen their endurance.

For example, machines like treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bikes can provide an effective cardio workout indoors, while outdoor enthusiasts might prefer running or hiking in nature. And for those on a budget, bodyweight exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, or high knees are excellent alternatives that require no equipment at all.

By exploring different types of cardio and finding the right workout routine for your needs and preferences, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you.

Final Thoughts on Types of Cardio

When it comes to cardio, there are a variety of options to choose from. From running and cycling to dancing and swimming, each type of cardio has its unique benefits. But what they all have in common is that they burn calories and help with weight loss.

Whether you prefer to work out alone or in a group, indoors or outdoors, there is a type of cardio that will fit your lifestyle and goals. And remember, the type of cardio that you enjoy doing is the one that you will stick to long-term.

So, experiment with different types and find the one that you truly enjoy. Here’s to your health and fitness goals!

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