Everyone knows the importance of heart health, yet far fewer people protect their hearts. 

Cardiovascular diseases cost Americans 300 billion dollars in 2008. That number is expected to rise to 1.2 trillion dollars in 2030. 40 percent of Americans approaching 60 years of age have some sort of cardiovascular disease. 

We can reduce these numbers. Performing cardio exercise strengthens the heart and encourages blood flow throughout the body, but few people know the different types of cardio.

Understand them and you can improve your health today. Here are eight types of cardio exercise. 

1. Sprinting

Sprinting is the best cardio exercise you can perform. Short sprints have all the benefits of long runs without the time restraints. 

You can sprint in any location, so pick a space where you are most comfortable. Warm up with a quick jog, then sprint a distance. Lift your knees to build muscles in your glutes and lower back.

2. High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a new type of cardio exercise. During HIIT, you perform short periods of intense exercise.

Then you rest for a short period of time. You repeat this cycle multiple times.

For example, you can perform a series of mountain climbers, pushups, and front planks. Then you rest for one minute before repeating. 

3. Jumping Rope

Jumping rope is a high-impact activity, enhancing your heart and muscles. It is a great way to increase foot speed for boxing and combat sports. 

As you’re starting out, perform slow jumps. Integrate a one-minute period where you jump quickly to conclude your exercise. 

4. Swimming

Swimming is a low-impact activity. If you have bad knees or a bad back, swimming reduces strain on those areas. You can swim in any body of water, though most people swim for fitness in pools. 

Treading water in itself is a cardio activity. Your muscles and heart work to keep you buoyant. 

Some strokes are more intense than others. For a beginner, start with breaststrokes. Work your way up to butterflies. 

5. Cycling

Cycling is another low-impact activity. You can use a stationary bike or ride your personal bicycle. 

Be prepared to cycle at an intense rate. Going at a low rate will not result in significant gains. If you’re concerned about your back and knees, consider swimming instead.

6. Climbing Stairs

If inclement weather keeps you from exercising outside, you can climb stairs inside. Climbing stairs uses more of your leg and back muscles than walking or sprinting. 

Try to go at a good pace. For added benefits, climb stairs while carrying weights. This will increase your heart rate and strengthen your muscles. 

7. Walking

Walking is the most popular form of cardio. You can walk anywhere and it does not stress your muscles to a significant degree. 

Walking at a casual pace does not produce significant benefits. Walk at a brisk pace, swinging your arms and lifting your legs. Try to walk for at least thirty minutes every day. 

8. Kettlebell Training

Most people associate kettlebells with weight training but kettlebells are useful for cardio. 

Carry kettlebells while you are walking or climbing stairs. Mix periods where you lift weights with periods where you do cardio. This gives you a break from one exercise or the other.

The Eight Best Types of Cardio

Cardio exercise is an essential part of your health regimen. Make sure you don’t get bored with it. Integrate multiple types of cardio into your workouts. 

Sprinting, high-intensity interval training, and jumping rope are the three best cardio exercises. Swimming and cycling are great low-impact exercises. Climbing stairs, walking, and kettlebell training build muscles without too much stress. 

Get in shape with expert advice. The Health Club at Travis Place is Houston’s leading health club. Contact us today.