How do I Choose the Best Cardio Routine?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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The best cardio routine is one that people will continue doing at least three times a week for about 30-60 minutes each time. What determines “best” is up to the individual, who may have multiple considerations. Some factors influencing exercise commitment are degree to which routines are enjoyed, suitability to fitness type and individual health issues, affordability, and ease of use. Another thing to think about is variability, as some people get bored doing the same thing each time.

Aerobic exercise must elevate the heart rate, and people should aim for activities that allow them to work out at their maximum heart rate, which is determined by formula, for at least 15 minutes. In a 30-minute routine, roughly 10 minutes is needed to reach the maximum heart rate, and five minutes at the end should be used for cooling down. Before exercising, it’s highly advised that people, especially those who haven’t exercised in a long while or who have any physical problems, see a doctor and decide on a safe workout rate and activities.


Once people have the all clear from doctors, they can begin deciding on their best cardio routine. There are many activities to fit the bill, and people should choose based on what they might enjoy doing, or would possibly hate the least. Potential activities to consider include walking, running, jogging, bicycling (stationary or outside), or using machines like rowing machines, elliptical trainers, step machines, or treadmills. Other ideas are swimming, water aerobics, or aerobic dance, step or kickboxing. There are many more possibilities, but the activity chosen should not be something people really dislike doing or it’s unlikely people will keep doing it.

Similarly, it’s important to consider fitness for types of activities. If someone has a bad knee, they’re likely to wash out of kickboxing quickly, and they may exacerbate an injury. Those looking for the best cardio routine should make certain they they’re physically able to do the routine fully and that the activity poses minimal risk for injury. Injury means taking time out from getting exercise and some people won’t return to workouts when their bodies recover.

Two other factors that help to determine best cardio routine are ease of use and affordability. Finding workouts that don’t create great inconvenience increases likelihood of committing to working out. If a person has to go out of his or her way to exercise, it becomes easier to avoid it. Some of the exercises that most lend themselves to ease are those like walking or jogging, or using an exercise machine or exercise tapes at home. These are also inexpensive, and may be a useful consideration.

Lastly, a routine implies doing the same thing each time, and this can get boring. As people’s fitness levels increase, consider varying exercises to make activity more interesting. Alternately, add an extra workout day to the cardio routine and pursue something different. There is no rule that says people must work out the same way every time.



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