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Free Cardio Workout Plans

It's been proven that cardiovascular workouts are good for you. They burn calories, strengthen your heart and lungs, lower the risk for developing depression, help to slow down the decline in cognitive health, and it lowers the risk of many diseases including coronary heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

For substantial health benefits, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that adults get a minimum of150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.

Making time for 150 minutes of cardio a week might seem a bit overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Doing 30 minutes a day, five days per week will get you to your goal. And if its money you’re worried about, there are lots of free options available online. In fact, some of the best plans out there are designed for convenience and affordability. Here are some ideas for running, walking, and at-home workouts to get you started.

Read more: Cardio Exercise Benefits

Running Gets Your Heart Pumping

Olympian Jeff Galloway created a sound training plan for beginners, intermediate, and seasoned runners called the Run-Walk-Run method. These workouts are designed to decrease injury and increase overall mileage. He lays out the steps you need to take in order to figure out your own training plan based on the Run-Walk-Run method on his website.

Competing right alongside Galloway is Hal Higdon, another well-known running coach. Like Galloway, Higdon provides runners with free online training plans to compete in a 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full marathon.

Walk to Improve Your Cardio Fitness

Waking is one of the best (and least-expensive) aerobic workouts you can do. The internet is full of free cardio walking plans that are appropriate for all fitness levels. The American Heart Association has several cardio walking programs for beginners up to advanced speed walkers, including a six-week beginner plan.

Online Cardio Workouts

Having the freedom to exercise at home — and for free — is one of the reasons online fitness experts are having such huge success. With thousands of sites offering free videos to help you get into top cardio shape, there should be no reason you can’t find a way to get your cardio in. Here are just a few examples of the free plans and videos available:

Livestrong offers free online videos that challenge your entire body with the goal of burning the most calories in the shortest amount of time. The workouts, which last from 31 to 41 minutes, include high-intensity interval training and plyometrics that increase your heart rate and give you a killer cardio burn.

Read more: 10 Free Workouts to Get You Fitter and Stronger

Fitness Blender has more than 500 free workout videos that incorporate cardio, overall conditioning, kickboxing, plyometrics and full-body strengthening. Tone It Up is loaded with free workouts and free daily moves that will keep you busy for quite a while. If you end up falling in love with the fitness duo, then you can move to the more advanced subscription service.

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About the Author

Sara Lindberg, B.S., M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on health and fitness. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in exercise science and a Master's degree in counseling.

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