Cardio workouts offer many benefits, including improving mood and reducing the risk of heart disease, but the most popular reasons people engage in cardio exercise is to burn fat and lose weight. The best cardio workouts for women can help you meet all of these goals.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 15 to 30 minutes a day of aerobic activity for good health and weight loss. This can be a high-impact activity such as running or biking or a low-impact activity such as swimming or rowing. You can also do interval training — alternating between maximum intensity and low-intensity effort — to burn more fat in less time.
This article will go over the top 5 best cardio workouts for women who want to burn belly fat.
5.) HIIT Training
High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is our favorite way to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time. If you’re trying to squeeze in a quick gym visit on your lunch break and want to maximize the number of calories burnt, HIIT is a great option. It’s one of the best cardio workouts for women. It even has the same benefits as endurance training.
So – what is HIIT? HIIT is a set of short bursts of intense exercise balanced with short breaks for quick recovery. HIIT can be combined with equipment such as light weights or kettlebells, but these additional tools aren’t necessary.
HIIT can involve running, cycling, jumping rope, jumping on a trampoline and anything else that gets your heart rate up. Anything goes! The key to HITT is pushing your limits to the max in the high interval sets.
Why? Going “all out” and pushing yourself slightly beyond your comfort zone helps deliver fuel and oxygen to muscles more effectively, burning fat and calories just like endurance exercises. In a high-intensity set, you go beyond the upper end of your aerobic zone burning calories as you recover from the burst. Some research even suggests that HIIT burns more fat, so you don’t risk losing the muscle you worked hard for in strength training.
How Often Should You Do HIIT to Stay in Shape or Lose Weight?
One of the best parts about HIIT is you shouldn’t do it every day. Your body needs time to recover. Thus, if you can’t or don’t want to hit the gym every day but still want to maximize results, HIIT may be the best cardio workout for you.
How often should you do HIIT? According to Greatist, “Two to three days a week is a solid amount of HIIT.” You should also make sure to rest for 24 hours between each workout.
One of the easiest and fastest ways to burn fat is by running. Running requires no equipment except quality shoes. If the weather and terrain are bad, you can also use a treadmill. Running is another one of the best cardio workouts for women.
Running is a great way to burn a lot of calories quickly. If a 125-pound woman runs a 10-minute mile for 30 minutes, she’ll burn 300 calories! If she increases her speed to a 6-minute mile (after a lot of training), she’ll burn a whopping 495 calories!
How Often Should You Run to Stay in Shape or Lose Weight?
If you’re just getting back in shape, don’t let running scare you. Start slowly. Don’t worry about your speed, and make sure to pace yourself. Also, be careful with your knees, as running can be hard on them.
Most experts recommend that beginners run three to four days a week. After you’ve learned how to pace yourself, you can start running five days a week. However, most people will benefit from running three or four days and week and doing cross-training one or two days.
Did you know that biking is one of the best cardio workouts for women? If you’re looking for a great outdoor exercise but have bad knees or just hate running, try biking.
The amount of fat burned depends on the speed and terrain and can be anywhere from 300 to 495 calories for a 30-minute ride. Bicycling can be fun, but it’s not without risk or expense. When biking on the road, check your bike to ensure it’s operating properly, always wear a helmet and use bike lights to increase your visibility. If you plan on riding long distances, you may want to invest in a good pair of biking shorts too. If you’re new to biking, we recommend renting a bike or purchasing a used one before investing in a new cycling bike. They’re expensive.
Another benefit of biking is that it can be done on stationary equipment indoors, making it a great all-year workout choice. There’s a reason Soul Cycle and Peloton are so popular! Interested in purchasing an in-home bike? We’ve done the research and found the best exercise bikes for home use. There are subtle differences and benefits of outdoor biking versus in-home biking:
- Core workout: Outdoor biking is better for your core, as you have to balance more than you do on a stationary bike.
- Calories burnt: Outdoor biking burns more calories as you need to work harder to control the bike.
- Muscles: Indoor cycling is better for building your hamstring muscles. Outdoor biking builds your you glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, shins and calves.
How Often Should You Cycle to Stay in Shape or Lose Weight?
According to Cycling Weekly, short, regular rides are the best way to stay in shape. Ideally, you should ride your bike three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each time if you want to get one of the best cardio workouts for women.
The best non-impact exercises use the entire body to boost heart rate, and few do it better than rowing – whether it’s in a boat or even just on the rowing machine. That’s why it’s one of the best cardio workouts for women. Rowing is high intensity with no impact. It burns calories, gets your heart rate going and tones nearly every muscle in your body.
New to rowing? The easiest way is to do it in the gym on a rowing machine. Start by sitting on the rowing seat and putting your feet in the footrests. Bend your knees and reach forward for the rowing handles. This is the catch phase. Start the drive phase by pushing back with your legs. Your arms stay straight until your legs are extended, at which point you pull the handles toward the upper part of your stomach. Return to the catch phase by reversing the movement, extending your arms forward, bending your knees and leaning forward.
How Often Should You Row to Stay in Shape or Lose Weight?
According to Sports Rower, you’ll lose a pound a week if you row every day for just 30 minutes. You should also see results in your core, legs, arms, back, and chest.
Swimming requires the use of the entire body, boosting its intensity and fat burning power. It offers the added benefit of keeping you cool on a hot day. Thirty minutes of swimming burns 300 to 330 calories, depending on the stroke. The crawl and butterfly strokes offer the most fat-burning potential, making them some of the best cardio workouts for women.
Like rowing, swimming engages your entire body and the water adds resistance, making it top-notch non-impact aerobic exercise that still gets your heart rate going. Another advantage of swimming is you can vary your strokes to keep from getting bored.
The freestyle stroke, sometimes called the crawl, is the most common, high-intensity stroke you’ll see at the pool. With your body facing down, kick your legs, keeping them straight. Alternate your arms so that one is reaching forward in the water as the other is pulling down, propelling you through the water. As you lift your arm out of the water, turn your head to the side to take a breath and return your face to the water as the arm reaches forward. You can breathe on both sides, but many swimmers breath only on the right side. Your arm should reach as far forward as possible and pull through the water all the way down to your thigh, before starting the reach phase again.
Another benefit of swimming is that it’s perfect for those with joint paints or previous injuries. It’s also a great intro exercise for those who may be out of shape or just getting back to the gym.
How Often Should You Swim to Stay in Shape or Lose Weight?
If you’re an avid swimmer and can do the butterfly stroke, that’s the best stroke for calorie burning. You can burn 150 calories in just 10 minutes! However, if you’re not ready for the butterfly, start with the freestyle stroke. Weight Loss Resources says you can burn the following amount of calories:
- Recreational: 90-220kcal
- Moderate: 150-370kcal
- Vigorous: 220-550kcal
If you want to keep an accurate track of your calories, check out our reviews of the best fitness trackers for women. Fitness trackers can be used to track the number of steps you took and the calories you burned.
Whether you’re a hardcore fitness junkie or just getting back to the gym, we hope these cardio exercises for women help inspire you. Do them consistently and you’ll see results before you know it.