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January 25, 2023 9 min read

It may be easy to say that you want to lose weight, but it is difficult to actually accomplish. There is no quick fix to slimming down; it takes dedication, hard work, and persistence. To experience fat loss, you must consume fewer calories than you burn, and you should strive to maintain a nutritious diet accompanied by regular physical activity.

Weight loss Image from Shutterstock

Doing 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each day can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle and shed excess pounds. Cardio is any type of workout, even low-impact exercises, that elevates your heart rate and maintains it, such as running, biking, or swimming.

The US Department of Health and Human Services physical activity guidelines for Americans recommends 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week to maintain or improve your health and reduce the risk of chronic illness.

The Benefits of Cardio Exercise

Doing cardio exercises is an excellent way to burn fat, but it also offers many other great advantages.

The exercises suggested here makes it a HIIT workout, which stands for high-intensity interval training, consisting of vigorous workouts with little rest in a short time. They are mostly bodyweight exercises, with only a few requiring dumbbells to use as resistance, suitable for all fitness levels.

Maintain a healthy heart: To maintain a healthy heart, it is important to get your heart rate up regularly. Doing so will make your heart stronger and reduce the chance of having heart-related health problems. According to the American Heart Association, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activities each week or 75 minutes of intense exercise to maintain cardiovascular fitness.

Helps Your Circulation: Engaging in cardiovascular activity can improve the flow of blood throughout your body. This helps to flush out toxins more effectively and keeps you in good health. If your circulation is consistently poor, it can lead to serious issues such as heart attack or stroke. However, by maintaining proper circulation, these health conditions can be avoided.

Healthy Heart – Image from Shutterstock

Improves your mood: Engaging in aerobic activity stimulates the brain to produce endorphins, the hormones that help regulate mood and keep negative thoughts away. People often state that beginning an exercise program is one of the primary steps they take to improve their mental health. Even a brisk walk can make a difference in one's outlook.

Boosts Immunity: Regular cardio activities in most settings can boost your immune system, making it easier to avoid bacterial infections and ward off illnesses.

Promotes Weight Loss: When it comes to achieving weight loss, it is important to remember that burning calories through cardiovascular exercise is key. To shed pounds, you must expend more calories than you consume. Therefore, it is important to incorporate both cardio and strength training into your weight loss plan.

When it comes to achieving weight loss, it is important to remember that burning calories through cardiovascular exercise is key. To shed pounds, you must expend more calories than you consume.

Want to get rid of those extra pounds? Have a look at these top cardio workouts for losing weight.

How does a 30-minute cardio workout plan work?

Before you begin your 30-minute workout, start with about 5 minutes of warm-up stretches. Do one set of each exercise without stopping in between. Take a 1-minute break after you finish the full circuit, and do these two to three more times. For optimal results, perform this workout daily, or at least two to three days per week.

1. Alternating Jump Lunges

This exercise will raise your heart rate instantly, making it a good choice to start your cardio workout.

Starting position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and your hands on your hips.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Step your left foot forward and lower your body into a lunge, making sure your knee does not extend past your toes.

  2. Push off the ground with your left foot to jump and switch feet in the air.

  3. Land softly on the ground with your right foot forward, lowering your body into a lunge.

  4. Push off the ground with your right foot to jump and switch feet in the air.

  5. Continue alternating feet for 1 minute.

To finish, stand up and return to the starting position.

2. Pendulum Lunges

Pendulum lunges are an exercise that not only works the quads and glutes but also engages the core muscles, as they help you maintain balance while standing on one foot.

Starting position: Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding the dumbbells by your sides.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Step your right foot forward and lower into a lunge until your thigh is parallel to the ground and your knee is directly above your ankle, your shoulders are drawn back, and your upper body is upright.

  2. Push off your right foot to come back upright and immediately step backward with your right foot in a reverse lunge.

  3. Push through your right foot again to come back to the starting position.

  4. Next, step your left foot forward and then backward as you repeat the same movement.

  5. Repeat this pendulum motion, alternating between your right and left leg for the 20 reps.

You may choose to do 10 reps with your right foot leading, and then do 10 reps with the left foot.

3. Jumping Rope

Skipping rope is a great way to improve your heart health; additionally, it works out all the major muscle groups in your body such as your arms, shoulders, legs, and core.

This may sound ridiculous, but there is a right and wrong way to jump rope. Please watch this video to learn how not to waste energy by using the wrong technique.

Starting position: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, one jump rope handle in each hand with your elbows close to your sides.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Swing the rope up and over your head to start.

  2. Move quickly, lightly bouncing on the balls of your feet between jumps.

  3. Keep your shoulders down and back, and rotate the rope with your wrists rather than arms.

Continue jumping for 1 minute

4. Single-Leg Deadlift Rows

For optimal results, start with a pair of light dumbbells if you are a beginner, and switch to a heavier one as you proceed with your quest to lose weight. Although the goal here is not gaining muscle mass, some strength-building is necessary to help burn calories.

Starting position:Begin in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Shift your weight onto your left leg and keep your chest up, your core engaged, and your back flat.

  2. Hinge at your hips and lean your torso forward with a slight bend in your left knee.

  3. Keep your right leg straight as you raise it behind your right hip until it is parallel to the floor.

  4. Simultaneously, reach your arms down with the dumbbells towards the floor, ensuring you maintain a flat back. (Don't take the dumbbell all the way down to the floor.)

  5. With control, bend your elbows and pull the dumbbells up towards your chest while engaging your back muscles.

  6. Keep your shoulder blades pinched together and your core tight throughout the movement.

  7. Lower the dumbbells toward the floor and engage your glutes to bring your body back to the starting position.

Do 10 reps and switch to do the same number raising the left leg.

5. Jump Squats

For a quick gym session when you're pressed for time, jump squats are an effective workout to increase your heart rate in just a minute. This is a more intense exercise than basic jumping jacks.

Starting position:Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes facing slightly outward.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Bend your knees and lower your body into a squat position, making sure to keep your chest and head up and swinging your arms backward.

  2. Swing your arms forward and quickly explode off the ground and jump up as high as you can, pushing off the balls of your feet.

  3. Land softly back into the squat position and repeat.

  4. Make sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire exercise.

Repeat for 1 minute.

6. Squat Thruster

This exercise combines the classic strength move of the squat with a cardio twist, the thruster. It's an effective and comprehensive exercise including resistance training, so don't be afraid to use heavier dumbbells. Your lower body will help you lift the weight above your head.

Starting position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes slightly turned out.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms at your sides.

  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and lower into a squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground.

  3. Press through your heels to stand up, and as you do, press the weights overhead.

  4. Lower the dumbbells and slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Do 15 reps.

7. High Knees

Do not be deceived by the seeming ease of this movement; high knees can be a very demanding cardiovascular exercise. High knee exercises get your heart rate up while engaging your core and energizing your legs.

Starting position: Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Raise your left knee toward your chest as high as you can while keeping your torso upright, while raising your right arm.

  2. Switch quickly, so your right knee is up before your left foot lands while raising your left arm.

  3. Continue alternating legs and arms and raising your knees as high as you can, moving at a running or sprinting pace.

Repeat for 1 minute.

Pumping your arms will help propel your legs and maintain your balance.

You can Increase the height, intensity, and speed of your high knees as you become more comfortable with the exercise.

8. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are an effective HIIT exercise that works the core muscles and increases cardiovascular endurance. By incorporating mountain climbers into a HIIT routine, you can elevate your heart rate and maximize fat burning.

Starting position: Begin in a plank position as you would for doing push-ups with your hands directly under your shoulders, your core engaged, and your body forming a straight line from head to toe.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Bring your right knee towards your chest, keeping your core tight and your body in a plank position.

  2. Return your right foot to the starting position.

  3. Repeat with your left leg.

  4. Alternate legs as quickly as you can while keeping your core engaged and your body in a plank position with your lower back straight. Take care not to push your butt up while doing this exercise.

Repeat for 1 minute.

This completes one circuit of your cardio workout. Rest for one minute, making sure to hydrate. Then go back to the alternating jump lunges and repeat one or two more circuits or as much as you can fit into your 30-minute allocation.

How to keep up

It can be difficult to persist in doing 30-minute cardio exercises to lose weight because it requires a lot of dedication and hard work. It can also be difficult to find the time and motivation to consistently dedicate to a regular exercise routine. Additionally, the results of cardio exercises may not be immediately visible, making it difficult to stay motivated over time.

Plan your workout: Prioritize your exercise routine by pre-planning what you need to do. This will help you save time as well as ensure a smooth workout. Set out your workout clothes and other equipment and write down a list of the exercises you need to do with the number of sets and reps, if possible. If you are doing a video workout, watch it the night before, so you are familiar with it, and finally, remember to have a bottle of water or beverage with electrolytes handy.

Planning Ahead – Image from Shutterstock

Vary your routine: Keep your routine stimulating and avoid overworking a single muscle group. Additionally, make sure to get enough rest as inadequate sleep has been linked to difficulty with weight loss and a heightened risk of obesity.

Consult a personal trainer:If you feel unsure about switching up your workout routine it is always a good idea to seek the guidance of a CPT. Other options for variation include burpees, crunches, and more.

Ensure you have a calorie-deficit diet:There is nothing more motivating than noticing weight loss. However, you’ll have to maintain a calorie-deficit diet. Weight loss requires you to consume fewer calories than you burn through daily activities and exercise. This type of diet is often used for weight loss, as it forces your body to use stored energy (fat) for fuel instead of the energy you take in from food.

Don’t do it on your own:If at all possible, find a friend or two who also want to lose weight to join your 30-minute cardio workouts. Having a friend or two typically serves as encouragement and usually increases accountability.

Don’t overdo it:Working out more won’t speed up the weight loss process. It is crucial to allow your muscles to recover after every workout session. You may benefit from a supplement to help you achieve high-quality sleep and comprehensive recovery benefits to both your body and mind.

Conclusion

In conclusion, a 30-minute HIIT cardio workout is an effective way to burn calories and lose weight in a short amount of time. For those short on time or looking to switch up their regular gym routine, High-Intensity Interval Training is the perfect way to get a great workout in. With its ability to maximize calorie burn and increase metabolism, HIIT is an efficient and effective way to reach a variety of fitness goals.