The dreaded arm jiggle or thunder thigh appearance is a common fear for many women. If you notice excess fat in these areas, cardio exercise can be part of your solution. Cardio workouts get you moving, sweating and burning calories for fat loss, but not all cardio workouts are created equal. The best cardio workouts to drop that arm and leg fat will be planned to include variety, consistency and with your preferences in mind.
Unfortunately, there is no way to spot reduce body fat. You lose fat from your legs and arms by reducing your overall body fat with cardio workouts. As you work out, your body burns calories for energy. When the total number of calories you burn each day from daily activities and exercise outweighs the number of calories you eat, you create a calorie deficit and will experience weight loss all over, including your arms and legs.
Losing arm and leg fat with a cardio workout requires you to engage in activity a few days a week for a sustained period of time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderately intense cardio exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise per week. You could complete 30 minutes of moderately intense cardio five times a week or 15 minutes of vigorous cardio five times a week to meet this mark.
Your intensity is based on the effort and energy you are expending or the pace you are working at. At lower intensities you can work for a longer period of time while burning more stored body fat. At higher intensities you will tire more easily but will burn a higher rate of calories per session. For example, the Mayo Clinic says a 160-pound person burns between 204 and 314 calories walking for 60 minutes, while that same person could burn 430 calories jumping rope for 30 minutes.
Cardio workouts include anything and everything that engages your muscles while also increasing your breathing and heart rates. Common cardio workouts include running, cycling, aerobics classes, tennis, water aerobics, rollerblading, basketball and swimming. The best type of workout is going to be one that you enjoy because you are more likely to stick with your program. To enhance the fat loss in your arms and legs, choose activities that engage both of these muscle groups like the elliptical, kickboxing and volleyball.
To avoid boredom or reaching a weight-loss plateau, try mixing up the type of cardio workout you do. Try working at a moderately intense pace for 30 to 60 minutes a few times a week. Add in a few days of interval training or vigorous activity as well. This will help keep your muscles constantly challenged while also spicing up your cardio workouts. Pick exercises that burn a high rate of calories per hour; ACE recommends basketball, aerobic dancing, cycling, jogging, running, swimming, weight training and skating.
Ashley Farley has been a certified personal trainer since 2008. She is also a writer specializing in healthy living, fitness and nutrition topics. Farley has an Associate of Science in mental health services from the Community College of the Air Force and is pursuing her B.A. in English at Wright State University.