4 Dos and Don’ts for a Better Cardio Workout

Have a better cardio workout with these tips!
Have a better cardio workout with these tips!

There’s nothing worse than doing a cardio workout and not getting the most out of it because you weren’t using the right form or weren’t mixing things up enough. Or, worse, getting injured because you did something that put too much strain or stress here or there. This is why today we wanted to share some tips for a better cardio workout from the experts at Life Fitness. So, the next time you go for a run or jump on the treadmill, keep in mind these dos and don’ts of cardio workouts!


  • Don’t: Slump over the treadmill or elliptical, holding on for dear life. Your hands only belong on the equipment for balance and not support. When you use the equipment as your prop, you are not burning optimal calories, and you aren’t effectively working your lower body. Plus, you are putting unnecessary strain on your wrists and back by leaning into the equipment.
  • Do: Straighten up your back, look straight ahead and rest your hands lightly on the rails to get the most out of your workout.


  • Don’t: Shorten your steps on the treadmill or tip-toe on the stair-climbing machine. Fast and furious doesn’t necessarily equal a better workout. These shallow steps can reduce the benefits of your workout.
  • Do: Think full range of motion. Taking longer, comfortable strides work the large muscle groups in your legs and burn even more calories in the long run.


  • Don’t: Get too comfortable with your routine. Becoming adept at your routine is a good thing. Getting to the point where you can do it in your sleep is not. Remember, your muscles can become as bored as your mind.
  • Do: Increase the incline or speed on the treadmill or do a different pre-programmed workout on that elliptical trainer for a change. Challenge your muscles and make sure you aren’t stuck in auto-pilot where you won’t make progress to a strong fit body.


  • Don’t: Hold your breath or take shallow breathes while doing your cardio. Your muscles need oxygen to keep moving.
  • Do: Take deep breaths and allow air in through both your mouth and nose when you are walking or running. Use the “talk test” to figure out if your pace is appropriate. If you are a beginner, you should be able to speak a sentence or two without gasping for air. If you are feeling breathless, slow the pace slightly and focus on deep breaths.

Follow these cardio tips for good form and get a better cardio workout the next time you hit the gym! Tell us, what’s your favorite way to get cardio? —Jenn


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  1. I do agree with the post. It is so important to mix up cardio to keep the body active and engaged. I am work on my speed as a runner so, I have to jump start it with sprints and long distance. Learn more at my site befit.myitworks.com

  2. I really appreciate the basic do and don’t , they are simple and some would argue that it’s common sense. We are creatures of habit and we can easily get stuck it the same routine or develop habits that are not good for you. Great reminders

  3. Your posture tips are right on. I see so many people at the gym cheating in their cardio by leaning on the rails or twisting their wrists to hang on. They would be much better off choosing a lower speed and doing it correctly.

  4. Thank you for the article! I complete agree with the tips. I find myself relying too much on the rails of the treadmill for support. Since I have corrected that behavior, my workouts are a lot more beneficial. As far as mixing up workouts. Would you suggest running, yoga, spinning, and light weights alternated on different days of the week, or would you recommend variety just in pace or resistance of a certain exercise type?


    Melissa LeBato
    Tulane University

  5. Hi Melissa,

    I’d mix up your actual workouts — and then also mix up your pace and resistance. As you do your workouts, you’ll get stronger and will need to go harder or longer to keep making gains. Rock on, girl! 🙂

    —FBG Jenn

  6. I’m really committed to losing the holiday weight and I find this motivating! So thanks! I’ll get off my butt and start the program today!