Share this Story

Kick-butt cardio workouts

Debi Pillarella, M.Ed., is an ACE-certified group fitness instructor, personal trainer and advanced fitness and health specialist. She is also the fitness program director of the Community Hospital Fitness Pointe in Munster, Indiana.

Kick up your cardio health

Cardiovascular exercise plays a major role in keeping your heart healthy. An unfit heart is like a car with a bad motor….you never know when it's going to give out on you. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the US for both men and women. It is also a major cause of disability. You can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease through lifestyle changes, like the addition of cardiovascular exercise. Here are the health benefits of regular cardiovascular exercise and three kick-butt cardio workouts you can do at the gym.

Cardio workouts for heart health

20-minute high intensity bike workout

Begin with a 3- to 5-minute easy ride warm up and finish with a 3- to 5-minute easy ride cool down. The following workout includes 2-minute interval cycles.

Minute RPM Intensity Posture
1 70-75 Level 2 - 3 Upright
3 80-85 Level 4 - 5 Standing
5 90-95 Level 6+ Racing

Repeat the above sequence at minutes 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17. Minute 19 is a "free choice" ride where you can select your favorite intensity level from above.

30-minute treadmill walking workout

Minute Speed Incline RPE
0 - 3 4 mph 3 - 3.5% 5
3 - 6 4 mph 5 - 7% 6
6 - 9 4.5 mph 3 - 3.5% 6
9 - 10 4 mph 8 - 10% 7

Repeat the above sequence 3 times for a 30-minute walking workout.

Note: Beginners should start with a speed of 3.5 mph. Advanced treadmill walkers can go up to 5.0 mph at their peak. This workout can also be adapted to a running/jogging workout starting with a jog at 5.0 mph and working up to a run at 6.0 to 6.5 mph.

*RPE= rate of perceived exertion. RPE is a measure of your exercise intensity based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most effort. Adjust speed and incline to reach desired RPE above.

30 minute cardio gym workout

Begin with a 3-minute easy warm up and finish with a 3-minute easy cool down.

Minute Machine Intensity RPE
1 - 5 Treadmill Moderate 4 - 5
5 - 10 Elliptical Vigorous 6 - 7
10 - 15 Bike Moderate 4 - 5
15 - 20 Stepper Vigorous 6 - 7
20 - 25 X-Trainer Moderate 4 - 5
25 - 30 Your choice Vigorous 6 - 7

For the last cycle, the select your favorite piece of cardio equipment for the finale.

More workouts to improve your heart health

2 of 2
Recommended for You
Comments
Hot
New in Health & Wellness
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!