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Best Cardio Exercises

Updated on September 20, 2009

Cardio Exercises


Now that you know how to stretch properly and how to prepare for cardio vascular exercises, it is now time to discuss some exercises that can be performed for cardio vascular endurance.  Some of the exercises that we will go over in this article are: running, stationary cardio exercises, and short track cardio exercises.


Getting out there on the road is the single greatest cardio vascular endurance exercise that you could ever imagine doing.  The reason for this is because you are using your own body to propel you forward.  You are activating all of your leg muscles, your core, as well as your heart and lungs.  Before you take to the open road with visions of grandeur in mind, remember to take the extra time to choose the right pair of shoes.  It is completely true that you can run in any shoe you pick, however you may find yourself suffering from some very serious medical injuries through improper footwear.  Just for a statistical fact—all running injuries are caused from either improper footwear or improper stretching.

So once you have chosen the correct footwear and you have properly stretched every muscle you will be using, absolutely take off on your journey of self-discovery.  I guarantee that if you follow my series of work-out hubs to a T your goals will be achieved.  When you run on the road you have several options.  First, you can run or jog at a moderate pace the whole way.  Second, you can run intervals.  Third, you can run time trials.

Interval training is a great method to improve your overall run time.  Interval training is where you run at a moderate pace for an indeterminate period of time, and then you run at full speed for a length.  The length could be a light pole to a light pole…however far you choose it just has to be far enough that you elevate your resting heart rate.

Time trial training is where you try to beat your best time for a determined distance.  Take a quarter mile track for instance.  A time trial training session would involve running the track once at a moderate pace, and then picking up the pace to race around the track a second time.  On the third lap you would run at a moderate pace, and then sprint for the next lap.  You can run as many laps as you feel are needed.

Power Walking

Power walking has been around for quite awhile.  I remember laughing at my mother and grandmother as they power walked for exercise.  In my defense, I was just a kid and knew nothing of physical fitness.  Today, I understand the importance of power walking as a great alternative to running.  If you are in a position where it is more beneficial to power walk than run, just make sure that you pick a pace that is fast enough to elevate your heart rate.  If you are completely comfortable with power walking go ahead and elevate your arms so your elbows are swinging like you would at a club.  Throw them elbows with gusto; you may be surprised how much extra speed you get with that simple action.

When you take to power walking you will definitely want to choose a distance that would be comparable to the work-out you would get by running.  A good rule of thumb to go by is to add half a mile.  If you would get a great work-out from a two mile run, then walk two and a half miles.

Jumping Jack

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The starting positionThe top position
The starting position
The starting position
The top position
The top position

Stationary Cardio Exercises


All of the following exercises can be conducted or performed in your garage or backyard, either way I recommend a good solid surface to exercise on.  The following exercises are the best ones for cardio vascular stimulation.  The exercises are: the jumping jack, the cross country skier, and the ski jump.

The Jumping Jack

The jumping jack is generally used as a warm up exercise.  The jumping jack gives your body a chance to get pumped up for an impending run.  The start position for the jumping jack is where you stand with your feet together and hands at your side.  The next step is spread your feet just over shoulder width apart at the same time as you raise your hands over your head.  This completes one repetition.  Your goal should be to do a minimum of fifty jumping jacks.  Every time your hands clap over your head that is one repetition.

The Cross Country Skier


If you have ever cross country skied you may realize how much of a work-out this actually is, but you don’t need snow to do this particular exercise.  This exercise is a lot like running in place but instead of raising your knees, all you do is slide your feet forward in an alternating pattern.  If your left leg is forward, your right leg is back and your right arm is forward while your left arm is backward.  You should look to complete this exercise when you become out of breath and tired.

The Cross Country Skier

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Cross Country Skier 1The Cross Country Skier 2
The Cross Country Skier 1
The Cross Country Skier 1
The Cross Country Skier 2
The Cross Country Skier 2

The Ski Jump


Unlike the cross country skier the ski jump is unlike skiing.  In this particular exercise your feet are together and your hands are on top of your head.  To start the ski jump simply jump up and move your feet to the left, and then jump up and move your feet back to the right.  That is one repetition.  Complete a total of twenty repetitions directly after the cross country skier.

At this point, after having only completed the stationary exercises, this would be a great time to go on a two mile run at a moderate pace. 

The Ski Jump

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Ski Jump 1The Ski Jump 2
The Ski Jump 1
The Ski Jump 1
The Ski Jump 2
The Ski Jump 2


Hubchallenge number 5
Hubchallenge number 5

Short Track Exercises

To make this the easiest for everyone, short track exercises are sprints. Doing sprints is absolutely necessary to develop your respiratory strength and endurance. Nothing that I know of can do a better job of making you run faster. A normal suburban block is a perfect distance for running sprints. Start at the corner of your block and sprint at full speed to the end of the block. This is known as a straight-up sprint. Some other sprinting methods could involve the half-distance or ladder sprints. Athletes and personnel required to have cardio respiratory endurance run the ladder sprints all the time. In order to perform these types of sprints all you need to do is pick a point along the total distance and sprint to that point, sprint back to the starting point, and then sprint the entire distance to finish strong. I don’t exactly know why but the speed stopping then subsequent take-off helps build onto your speed.

In closing, I have attempted to be thorough throughout this series of articles, but I simply cannot cover the entire spectrum of exercises and outcomes. Each person has different goals in mind for completion of a work-out program, and each person also has a different starting point. Your level of fitness when you start will determine which exercises you do. If you find yourself needing more information, a helping hand, or motivation, you can contact me via hubpages. I most definitely recommend that if you are in need of personal training to contact your local gym about a membership and about a personal trainer. A personal trainer has been educated and is a professional trainer that can offer you one-on-one training.

The best body weight exercises


References: Army FM 21-20

Copyright 2009 by Wesley Cox


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Cardio is great! Thanks for the hub

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Gidtset: Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes Mountain Biking is a great full body workout, but should not be entirely substituted for running. To run is great to mountain bike is also great but without running you won't burn as much calories.

    • gidtset profile image


      8 years ago

      Great Hub. Isn't it true that mountain biking is the best way to do cardio training?

      I guess you use your entire body when mountain biking compared to running.

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thanks for coming by and reading my hub Dohn, I greatly appreciate your comments. I am pushing through the challenge.

    • dohn121 profile image


      9 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Hey, Wes. Great hub on cardio. I liked how you encourage readers to beat their best time, which equates to them working harder each time. Thanks again and good luck on the Hubchallenge!

    • wesleycox profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thanks for visiting Hmrjmr, I will definitely keep pushing on to finish this challenge.

    • Hmrjmr1 profile image


      9 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Good Hub Keep it up go for that 30/30...


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