Cardio Exercises

Aerobics

Aerobics used to be known as vigorous dancing and calisthenics set to invigorating music. But as fitness centers and classes have boomed over the years, instructors have come out of the woodwork with innovative ideas for a variety of healthy aerobic workouts. Now you'll not only see aerobics, but funk aerobics, water aerobics, firefighter workouts and bounding classes done to music. The variety of classes available now have people flocking to the gym.

If you are interested in signing up for a new class, you should call ahead to reserve a space. Classes are popular because you have to keep up with an instructor who has already mapped out a variety of exercises to do at different times. Many people develop friendships with their instructors and other people in the class, which helps to keep them motivated. By burning calories fast, aerobics can be included in a total body workout program to get rid of love handles and other problem areas. Aerobics classes are particularly beneficial, because you're moving the entire time while in class. They're great exercise for your legs, heart and lungs. (Depending on the type of aerobics you're into, you can burn about 250 calories in 30 minutes.)

Kickboxing

Originally touted on national television as the latest and best fat-buster, kickboxing stole the limelight as converts jumped on board. Combining moves from boxing with kicking moves you might see in martial arts, cardio kickboxing is a great workout for your heart, chest, arms, back and legs. People who do this type of exercise swear by its results, but it can take a while to burn higher numbers of calories because the moves are, for the most part, unfamiliar to new students. You may also need to buy the proper kick-boxing workout gear before you can start. So be patient and take the time to learn proper form for all your moves. It will help you master the skills at a faster rate and burn calories more quickly. (Depending on your weight and the intensity of your workout, you can burn about 225 calories in 30 minutes.)

Inline Skating

Also know as Rollerblading, inline skating burst onto the scene in the '90s. Part of the reason for its popularity is that it brings the flow of ice-skating, and all the games that go with it, to the outdoors. Inline skates are relatively inexpensive, and can help you get from here to there faster than walking. There are the people who just love the glide that skates give you as opposed to the more jarring motion of running. In fact, research suggests that inline skating can burn almost as many calories as running, but without all the impact. Inline skating also engages different muscles and is known for its ability to tone your legs and glutes like no other. (Depending on your weight and the intensity of your exercise, you can burn about 200 calories in 30 minutes.)

Stair Climber

If you're out of breath at the top of a flight of stairs, the last thing you want to look at when choosing a health club is a stair-climbing machine, right? Actually, stair climbers continue to be some of the most popular machines at the gym. In particular, they target your legs and glutes and help you break into a sweat faster than a lot of machines. (Depending on your weight and the intensity of your workout, you can burn about 180 calories in 30 minutes.)

Treadmill Running

Treadmills are a long-time favorite of gymgoers everywhere. Running on a treadmill is a great indoor cardio training method that has a number of advantages: It allows you to train even in bad weather, it provides you with a gentler running surface than asphalt and it keeps you near all the other equipment at the end of your run. Most treadmills are equipped with mechanisms that allow you to alter the incline of the track, as well as the speed at which you want to run. (Depending on your weight and the intensity of your workout, you can burn about 370 calories in 30 minutes.)

Racquet Sports

Whether you play tennis, racquetball, squash or other racquet sports, you're sure to get a good cardio workout, as well as improve your coordination and gain some agility. Racquet sports involve a lot of start-and-stop play, so be prepared to burn fewer calories than when you engage in activities that offer continuous movement. But the bonus of racquet sports is that you play them against a competitor, and with that comes a natural fighting spirit that you wouldn't necessarily have on a treadmill. The whole idea of racquet sports is that they're fun to play. The bonus is you get beneficial exercise. (Depending on your weight and the intensity of the workouts, you can burn about 240 calories in 30 minutes.)

Kayaking

The latest craze on the water is kayaking, replacing the long-time favorite, canoeing. It's easy to get started kayaking and it allows you to explore while getting in some exercise at the same time. Because it demands constant paddling to get from one point to another or to navigate against the pull of current, kayaking can get your heart rate up. For the most part, your arms, abs, back and chest will feel the burn when you kayak. And since your legs (a large muscle group) exert very little energy, you wont burn as many calories when out on the water. (Depending on your weight and the intensity of your paddle, you can burn about 150 calories in 30 minutes.)

Golf

Though it's known as a leisure sport, golf still qualifies as cardiovascular exercise, especially if you carry your own golf clubs and don't use the cart. Remember: You should get 30 minutes of exercise three to four times weekly but it doesn't have to be continuous. It's okay to grab 10 minutes here and there, which is why golf is still good for you. (Depending on your weight, how much you walk and equipment you carry, you can burn about 170 calories in 30 minutes.)