So, I thought I would write out the benefits of the most popular kinds of cardio to determine which kind works best FOR YOU. In exercising, it is important to remember that no two bodies are the same. This is true of metabolism, balance, strength, ability to build muscle, and ability to lose fat. They key is knowing your own strengths and limitations and taking the facts in front of you and applying them to your fitness.
Walking: 149 calories/min, minimal strain on joints, slow paced, can do this anywhere. Great for those new to exercise and those wanting more social fitness.
Running: 409 calories/ min, more joint strain, takes time to train to burn more calories, can improve over time. Can build leg muscle and can be done anywhere.
Elliptical: 335 calories/30 min. Able to be done indoors with a TV or music. Minimal joint trauma. Able to set a pace and push yourself. Does not simulate a completely normal gait so may cause hip pain if done improperly.
Lifting: 112 calories/30 min. Benefit of burning calories for longer periods of time after training, can continue to burn for 24 hours. Builds muscle and strength as well as stimulates proprioceptive training (balance).
Rowing: 260 calories/30 min. Great for joined upper and lower body training. Some strength component involved. Good for posture. From a seated position so good for people with gait instability. Takes some instruction to learn to do properly.
Swimming: 223 calories/ 30 min. No significant joint impact. Good for injury recovery and strength. Lean muscle building and strengthening of smaller accessory muscles.
Try all of these awesome cardio exercises to switch up your routine. A combination of exercises is great for training many muscle groups. Happy training!
*All statistics from Health.harvard.edu and based on a 155 lb person doing moderate exercise