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12 Excellent Fat Burning Cardio Exercises

 Cardio exercises are essential to any workout, they might make you feel exhausted at first, but if you persist and persevere, not only will the exercises get easier, you will earn a whole lot of other benefits. Cardio helps raise your heart rate into your target heart rate zone, the zone where you’ll burn the most fat and calories, meaning they’re great for losing weight and staying generally healthy and fit. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 30 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week.

To make it easier for you to incorporate cardio into your routine, we rounded up 12 simple exercises that don’t require any kind of equipment. The entire workout should take about 30 minutes, and it’s recommended that you perform a “jog in place” warm-up for 15 seconds after each exercise. So put on some music that gets you going and enjoy!

 

Warm-up 1: March in place

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises March in place
Start your workout routine with this slow warm-up exercise. Stand up straight and start marching in place. Move your hands along with your legs. Start slowly and increase your pace with time. Note that at no point should “marching in place” become “running in place”. The purpose of a warm-up is to increase the body's core and muscle temperature gradually.

Warm-up 2: Jog in place

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Jog in place
Now is the time to let your marching become jogging in place. Start relatively slow and speed up gradually as you go along. Keep your back straight as you did in the previous exercise and incorporate your arms. Make sure you don’t move from your place even when your pace peaks.

Warm-up 3: Torso Twist

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Torso Twist
Stand upright with your legs slightly wider than shoulder length apart. 
Place your arms close to your chest as shown in the picture and start twisting your torso from left to right. Twist as far as you can go in each direction. With time, your range of motion will increase.
 

1. Row & lateral steps (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Row & lateral steps
  • Start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and bring both hands in front of you or above your head.
  • Take a big step back with your left leg, crossing it to the right, and pull your arms back so that they’re behind you. That way you squeeze your back and open up your chest.
  • Return to opening position and repeat on the opposite side.

2. Squats (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Squats
  • Stand upright with your feet spread shoulder-width apart.
  • Push your hips lower and backward, squat down, and come up. Remember: you should never put stress on your knees. If you’re a beginner, don’t be discouraged if you can’t squat down completely, with time you will get better at it. 

3. Slow burpees (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Slow burpees
  • Start in standing position, upright with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down and place the palms of your hand on the ground.
  • With your hands on the ground move both feet back until you’re in a plank-like position.
  • Bend the left knee and bring the left foot forward to the front, then go back to the plank position.
  • Repeat with the opposite foot.
  • To finish, stand up and stretch your arms up to the ceiling.

Remember, this is a slow burpee, so don’t rush it. Keep the pace slow but maintain a full range of movements.

4. Jumping jacks (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Jumping jacks
  • Start by standing straight with your feet together and hands by your side.
  • Jump up and spread your feet beyond hip-width apart while bringing your arms above your head, nearly touching.
  • Jump again, bringing your legs together and returning to the starting position.

To learn more about the health benefits specific to jumping jacks and learn adjustments that are safe for seniors check out our previous article titled Why You Should Be Doing Jumping Jacks Today And How To Start.

5. Lateral step & reach (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Lateral step & reach
  • Start by standing up straight with your feet together and your arms stretched up towards the ceiling.
  • Move your right leg away, and bend down to touch the toes with your left hand, while slightly twisting your body. 
  • While your left hand is coming down, your right hand should go up.
  • Go back to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side.

6. Ventral jacks (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Ventral jacks
  • Start by standing upright with your palms resting on your thighs.
  • Jump up and spread your feet beyond hip-width apart while bringing your arms in front of your chest.
  • Jump again, bringing your legs together and returning to the starting position.

This is essentially another variation of jumping jacks, the only difference being the position of the arms. Instead of moving to the sides of your body, the arms move in front of the body in ventral jacks.
 

Related: The Benefits of Cardio and Resistance Training

7. High knee pause (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises High knee pause
  • Stand straight with your arms by your sides and elbows bent so that the forearms are in front of you and parallel to each other.
  • Jump slowly lifting one leg at a time, as if you were jogging in slow motion.
  • At the count of 3, pause for a few seconds. In this position, one of your legs should be on the ground and one leg in the air.
  • After a brief pause, continue.


In the beginning, it might be difficult to get into the rhythm of this exercise as pausing in this position is not a natural movement. Don’t worry, practice makes perfect.
 

8. Fly jacks (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises  Fly jacks
  • Stand straight with your feet close together and your hands raised straight in front of your chest.
  • Jump up and spread your feet beyond hip-width apart while bringing your arms to the sides of your body, so that they are horizontal to the ground as shown in the picture.
  • Go back to the starting position and repeat.

9. Bicycle crunches (50 seconds)

 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Bicycle crunches
  • Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands behind your head and interlock the fingers.
  • Bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off of the ground, but be sure not to pull on your neck.
  • Straighten your right leg out to about a 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper body to the left, bringing your right elbow towards the left knee. Make sure your rib cage is moving and not just your elbows.
  • Repeat the motion on the opposite side.

10. Lunge jacks (50 seconds)
 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Lunge jacks

  • Stand with your feet together and hands raised up toward the ceiling.
  • Move your left leg forward and lunge down. Bring your hands down, under the leg.
  • Rise up and go back to the starting position. Repeat the motion on the opposite side.

11. Plank slaps (50 seconds)
 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Plank slaps

  • Get into the plank position.
  • Tap on your left shoulder using the right palm and bring the palm back to the ground.
  • Repeat the motion on the opposite side.

12. High knee jacks (50 seconds)
 Fat Burning Cardio Exercises Plank slaps

  • Stand with your feet together and arms stretched up toward the ceiling.
  • Slowly lift your right knee up, bring your hands down underneath the thigh, and clap.
  • Bring your right leg down slowly and raise your hands up toward the ceiling.
  • Repeat motion on the opposite side.

Images source: Bright Side

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