Cardio workouts are important for heart health and are also a must do if you’re trying to slim down. Whether you’re running, swimming, hopping on a bike, or taking a cardio class, incorporate these six tips to get more out of your heart-pumping sessions.

  1. Include sprinting intervals: By alternating between a few minutes at a moderate pace and throwing in bursts at a faster pace, you’ll burn more calories, build endurance, and become faster and stronger. Not to mention, intervals are also proven to reduce belly fat.
  2. Use those arms: Many forms of cardio are all about the legs, so when possible, maximize your cardio time by focusing on working your arms as well. Swing them while running (don’t hold on to the treadmill or elliptical handles), get creative with your arm strokes while in the pool, and don’t forget to use them while in your Zumba or other cardio class instead of resting them by your sides.
  3. Lengthen the duration of your workout: Most cardio workouts last between 30 or 45 minutes, so burn more calories by pushing yourself a little longer. Check out how many extra calories five minutes of cardio burns.
  4. Incorporate strength training: The main focus of cardio workouts is to burn calories through high-intensity movement, but you can also use this time to strengthen your muscles. To target the legs and tush, incorporate inclines on your runs, bike rides, and hikes. When in the pool, utilize the resistance of the water to tone your muscles by using webbed gloves.
  5. Do more than two types of cardio a week: In order to build overall body strength and endurance and to prevent repetitive stress injuries, it’s important not to do the same type of cardio all the time, such as running. You’ll get even more out of your cardio workouts if you include at least three different kinds each week.
  6. Make it harder: Aside from adding inclines, find other ways to make your cardio workout more challenging. Stand instead of resting your tush on the seat when on your bike, run with high knees, try the more advanced version of the move your fitness instructor is demonstrating, and do the more intense butterfly stroke instead of the crawl. Remember that compared to the rest of your day, this workout is only a short time, so give it your all.

More from FitSugar: