Lady running on a treadmill

Long day at work? Feeling Tired? Still want to do a 15km run? Us neither!

Cardio may not be everyone’s favourite but it certainly has a lot of benefits. Even a 20 minute morning run can really set you up for the day – boosting your endorphins, raising your heart rate, loosening your muscles and kick-starting your metabolism.

If you’re someone who loves to blast away a few cobwebs on the treadmill, then count yourself as one of the lucky ones. If, like most, doing cardio is more labour than love, then making sure you can get the most out of your workout will certainly be at the top of your agenda.

So when it comes to the different cardio machines at the gym – which one is the most effective?



Cardio rating – excellent

Jumping on the treadmill for half an hour is great for raising your heart rate as well as burning calories. Get warmed up with an inclined walk and then go for it with intervals, or power up your endurance with a longer distance run.

New to exercise? Why not try a short jog and if it gets too much, bring it back down and take a rest.

Treadmills are great for keeping an eye on your pace. You can add resistance easily by increasing the gradient. Running however is a high-impact activity so may not be the best choice for those who are prone to injuries or even things like stitches.

TOP TIP: Avoid the stresses and strains of running with a high-quality pair of running shoes. Take care of your feet, knees, hips and back with proper cushioned support.

Training aid: Not going to the gym? Get your heart rate up and build up your endurance by doing 30 minutes skipping. Great cardio and fun too! Try the Mirafit adjustable skipping rope.


Exercise bike

Cardio rating – good

Exercise bikes are ideal for anyone wanting to get their heart rate up without straining their knees or hips. They can be used to complement your running regime – especially if you’re training for an event – and also help build up strength in your thigh muscles, giving your running speed and power an extra boost.

If you’re starting out, exercise bikes are also great for helping you to get fit. They provide a controlled way of exercising and keep your joints moving.

TOP TIP: Use a heart rate monitor to make sure you are going at a speed that’s right for you and are consistent in your training.

Training aid: Keep your joints, legs and hip flexors strong and mobile with Mirafit Ankle and Wrist Weights. They come in a range of sizes up to 5kg so you can really push your cardio training to the max.


Spinning bike

Cardio rating – excellent

Spinning bikes have greater versatility than normal exercise bikes.

The handle bars are designed to allow you to adjust your position from upright to racing position and with the option to stand, you can have a much more realistic ride by implementing hover, bump, wave, jump and hill climb drills.

The fixed gear also means the pedals keep turning even when you’re easing off the pace.

TOP TIP: Nothing gets you going on a spinning bike like joining the spin class at your local gym. Work your legs, core, back, glutes and arms with this full-on, full-body workout.

Training aid: Spinning is all about explosive power. Up your power and speed with a Mirafit 3 in 1 Soft Plyo Jump Box. Great for getting in some extra training at home. 


Ski machine

Cardio rating - good

The Ski machine is one of the more approachable cardio machines at the gym. They are great for working your arms as well as legs and brilliant as a warm up before going on the treadmill.

A low impact form of exercise, the elliptical movement helps protect your joints and you can up the resistance as you progress.

This less-strenuous form of cardio allows you to go on for longer and is also ideal for those starting out or looking for a gentler form of exercise.

TOP TIP: Keep your heart rate up and get the most out of your cardio session on the ski machine with a well-paced playlist. Great fun as well as motivation.

Training aid: Working up a sweat? Stay clean and dry by using a Mirafit Microfibre Fitness Towel.


Rowing machine

Cardio rating – excellent

People on rowing machines

Not many cardio machines provide the same amount of full body resistance as the rowing machine. It’s ideal for getting your heart rate up as well as working your arms, back, legs and core. Increase your speed and up your resistance as you go.

TOP TIP: If you’re new to the rowing machine, start off slow and perfect your form before you start to move up the levels. Having a good technique with proper extension will ensure you work your arms, back and core at the same time. Developing a poor form will exercise fewer muscles and put you at risk of injury.

Training aid: Keep your hands protected against blisters while rowing with a pair of Mirafit gym gloves.


Stair mill

Cardio rating – excellent

Stair mills can look a bit scary but they are great pieces of equipment. Maximise your time at the gym with these machines by burning calories and getting your heart up quickly. You may find you need to build up your endurance with this one as it is particularly tough. But it’s perfect for getting a high intensity workout while working your glutes and thigh muscles too.

TOP TIP: Adjusting the settings while climbing the stair mill can be tricky. Use a pre-programmed setting to tailor your session and get the most out of your workout.

Training aid: Staying in tonight? Keep up with your latest TV programme while you workout with a Mirafit home stepper.


Cardio connoisseur? Go freeform!

lady with skipping rope round her shoulders

Balance your workout with a freeform cardio session at home. High knees, burpees, star jumps, tuck jumps, short sprints, mountain climbers, toe taps, skipping and hula hooping are all great ways to improve your fitness without the need for any machines.