What are the Different Types of Cardio Training?

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

Cardio training is exercise meant to increase the heart rate and sustain this elevation for the length of the workout. There are many health benefits to cardio training, including a healthier heart, improved fitness, higher calorie burn, and even stress reduction. There are many different types of cardio training that can be done to accomplish personal health and fitness goals.

Jogging provides an aerobic workout.
Jogging provides an aerobic workout.

Running and fast walking are two types of cardio training that have many variations. A person can run or walk outside, on a treadmill, or using an elliptical machine. Some people prefer machine-based running or walking since cardio machines help keep pace and monitor heart rate, distance, and calories burned to give the exerciser an accurate idea of their workout. Many also enjoy the changing scenery and outdoor experience of outside running and walking.

Swimming may provide a low-impact exercise routine.
Swimming may provide a low-impact exercise routine.

While quite effective as cardio training, running in particular can be a poor choice for people with certain injuries. Running, either on a treadmill or outside, creates a strong impact every time feet hit the ground. For people with leg, hip, or spinal injuries, running may do too much damage to joints, muscles, and bones. Those advised not to run shouldn't worry, however, as there are a host of other cardio training routines to try.

Swimming is a whole body cardiovascular exercise.
Swimming is a whole body cardiovascular exercise.

For those who prefer a lower impact routine, swimming may be an excellent choice. Ocean or lap swimming does not cause the jolting impact of running, while providing strength training benefits thanks to the resistance of the water. Many gyms have lap pools meant for cardio training, while community pools often have specific lanes or hours reserved for lap swimmers.

Ballroom dancing is a great way to workout, socialize, and learn new dance routines.
Ballroom dancing is a great way to workout, socialize, and learn new dance routines.

For people that can't stand the repetitive routine of swimming, jogging or walking, some cardio training will keep the mind occupied as well as the body. Fast paced dance classes, including Latin dance, Bollywood, and Zumba®, can burn hundreds of calories in a single session, while staying fun and engaging throughout. It is important to find classes that are fast-paced, however; while yoga and ballet may be great for strength and flexibility, they are typically not performed on a level that will create the sustained raised heartbeat needed for cardio training.

Many cardio machines can keep track of a person's heart rate and calories burned.
Many cardio machines can keep track of a person's heart rate and calories burned.
Someone who hasn't exercised in a long time can suffer exhaustion if they try to overdo it in their first cardio session.
Someone who hasn't exercised in a long time can suffer exhaustion if they try to overdo it in their first cardio session.
Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica is passionate about drama and film. She has many other interests, and enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics in her role as a wiseGEEK writer.

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