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Examples of High-Intensity Cardio

author image Heather Sumpter
Heather Sumpter completed a Bachelor of Science in health and physical activity and Master of Science in exercise physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. Both degrees touched on several areas in health and wellness including chronic disease, obesity,and nutrition. Certified as a Health Fitness Specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine, she provides exercise prescription and fitness assessments.
Examples of High-Intensity Cardio
Running is an easy and inexpensive way to incorporate high intensity cardio. Photo Credit: Martinan/iStock/Getty Images

Exercising at a high intensity burns fat and speeds weight loss; these workouts may be shorter and save time. Most forms of high-intensity cardio will improve your overall fitness. In addition, there is always a variation to integrate -- keeping your high intensity cardio fresh helps alleviate boredom. Start slow and then work up to a more vigorous workout.

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Go Intervals!

Interval training produces long-lasting calorie burn and improves fitness quickly. It involves short bursts of high intense exercise followed by a lower intense recovery period. It is not limited to running, but can incorporate resistance and agility activities; for example, 20 pushups followed by a slow jog around the track. High intensity interval training, HIIT, and Tabata training use this concept. Tabata is more for the bike or treadmill whereas HIIT can be done in any mode.

Mix it Up

Boot camp offers a high intense workout in a group setting. Not just exclusive to cardiovascular training, but also incorporates weight training. The social setting motivates and keeps you coming back. Circuit training involves aerobic and resistance training. There are stations where different movements are performed in a period of time. Each station should work different areas of the body. For example, station one do 30 seconds of pushups and station two 30 seconds of squats.

Fitness Classes Rock!

Certain fitness classes offered at gyms can be highly intense. For example, cardio kickboxing will whip you into shape and might even help release aggression with its intense defensive movements. Dance aerobics involves coordination while increasing your heart rate -- the intensity of the movements will help decrease abdominal fat. Step aerobics is similar to dance but uses a step that is tailored to your height.

Run for Intensity

Running is an easy and inexpensive way to incorporate high intensity cardio. It can be done anywhere and changes to the intensity depend on your fitness level. When using a treadmill, for example, you can alter the speed and elevation. In addition, running can be used in interval training via sprints. For example, run on a treadmill at a speed of 8 mph for 20 seconds then rest for 30 seconds.


Speak with your doctor to ensure you're fit enough to exercise at high intensity. Proper form is required when doing activities to prevent injury. Take caution when kickboxing. Some movements can involve punching and jerking. Always allow proper warm-up to make sure your body is ready for exercise. Five to 10 minutes of activity that mimics the workout is sufficient.

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