Put simply, the key to a better life is cardio. As little as 20 minutes of heart-pumping, sweat-beading exercise 3 days a week will lead to weight loss, better sleep, increased energy levels, reduced stress levels, and a healthier heart and lungs. Even during inactivity, a regular cardio routine ensures that your body continues to torch calories, as capillaries deliver more oxygen to cells in your muscles after workouts.
The Goal: Effective Cardio
“Cardio” is defined as any exercise that raises your heart rate; as the American Heart Association states, you don’t need to be a marathon runner or an elite athlete to derive significant benefits from physical activity. In fact, people are increasingly seeking ways to get their cardio fix, from the comfort of their homes. There are numerous options available on today’s market, all geared towards “cardio”; however, not all equipment is created equal. Basically, any cardio machine that offers no resistance beyond the body’s own resistance will be relatively ineffective. If you are informed about the equipment you use, you will be able to expend massive energy in minimal amounts of time.
We have endeavored to eliminate the guesswork; if you are looking to supplement your fitness routine with an at-home cardio machine, this article entails everything you need to know. Ranked on effectiveness and functionality, this list demonstrates the top 5 machines that will burn the most calories in the least time, improve aerobic fitness, and crossover well to daily activities.
The treadmill is the consensual king of cardio equipment; after all, running is the gold standard for cardiorespiratory fitness. Treadmill running and walking have the highest rates of energy expenditure, aerobic demands, and elicited VO2-max values when compared to other cardio machines, a study from the Journal of American Medical Association found. The treadmill allows you to fluidly move the way your body is intended to. To step it up a notch, try the Woodway Curve: this machine is a ruthless twist on the classic treadmill. A motor-free machine that’s powered by human horsepower, the belt’s speed increases as the runner’s speed increases. As explained by a study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Woodway requires the runner to expend 30% more energy than a traditional treadmill, because the curved base causes an uphill-running sensation.
Offering a full-body, big range of motion workout, rowing machines are effective because they offer the same cardiovascular benefits of running, but without the high-impact cost to your joints. Harvard Researchers report that a 185-pound male can burn 377 calories in an intense 30 minute rowing session. This is an explosive, powerful workout, requiring a coordinated upper and lower body effort.
This retro bike may look like a throwback piece of equipment, but it delivers a very real burn. The harder you pump your arms and pedal, the more intense the motor-free wind resistance delivered by this stationary bike becomes. “While it’s easy on your joints, it provides an intense aerobic workout that burns a ton of calories”, states Sean De Wispelaere, expert coach for Men’s Health Thrive.
Although this exercise’s specific movement pattern isn’t one that you would tend to replicate in daily life unless you’re training for the Olymipcs-pro skiiers do use this machine, by the way; the Skierg puts your abs, arms, shoulders, and hips to work in a grueling upper-body workout.
Never heard of the SkiErg? See it in action in the following helpful video
5) Jacob’s Ladder:
The Jacob’s ladder is a self-paced machine, with a continual climbing action that hits big muscles like quads, glutes, shoulders, and lats. The 40-degree angle of this machine is forgiving for your lower back, and engages core muscles. Watch the next video to get a more in depth look at Jacob’s Ladder. Although it’s a bit on the bulky side, if you have the space, Jacob’s Ladder would make a great addition to a home gym.
Because cardio is demonstrably one of the most important aspects of any fitness regimen, people are increasingly looking for more convenient gym alternatives. Based on studies and discussions with experts, this list of the 5 most effective cardio machines provides diverse, powerful equipment options to ensure that you are maximizing your at-home workouts.
*Note: Clicking on a Section header will take you to Amazon to see a wide selection available of each piece of equipment.