Cardio Classes

Cardio classes aim to get your heart pumping and increase your breathing rate in order to produce some aerobic adaptations.

We have teamed up with cardio instructors offering classes to suit beginners, experts and any level in between.

Cardio classes...

…usually involve a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise being performed over a long duration of time. Classes can utilise running, cycling and other forms of movement such as stepping in-time to music.

Types of Cardio Classes

The great thing about cardio classes is the many forms they take. There’s sure to be one to suit everyone! Take a look at the types of classes you could be taking part in and see if any appeal to you.


Cycling, or spinning, classes will usually take place within a studio, using exercise bikes. Exercisers will follow the instructions of an instructor at the front of the class as they increase and reduce the tempo of cycling and the resistance of the bike.


Running sessions can take place in large groups as you complete a run outside alongside exercisers of a similar fitness level. Alternatively smaller groups can exercise on treadmills under the guidance of a fitness instructor.


Cross-fit uses resistance exercises performed at a high intensity in order to gain an improved cardiovascular fitness. The exercise usually involves lifting and pushing movements performed with little rest or recovery.

HIIT (High intensity interval training)

HIIT can be performed in any mode but cycling and running are two popular ways of doing it. In a HIIT session, exercisers will perform multiple bouts of very vigorous exercise for short periods of time with limited rest periods in between each bout. Sessions do not last very long due to the intensity of exercise, making it a good exercise for those with limited time.


Walking sessions usually take place in large groups and follow a predetermined route. Some groups will take place at gentle speeds while others will be more taxing, but all will provide a great opportunity to get to know the other participants as you exercise together.

Nordic Walking

Nordic walking involves the use of poles to enhance the effectiveness of the exercise. The poles help to target the upper-body muscles, whilst also propelling you forward when walking. Nordic walking often takes place in groups, meaning that this form of exercise can bring social benefits as well.

Step aerobics

A high intensity form of exercise which is usually performed in time to music in an exercise studio. An instructor will guide the group through a workout which requires you to step up onto a box at varying tempos. 

Aqua aerobics

A class for water lovers! Follow an instructor as they guide you through a range of different exercises in a swimming pool. The water will provide natural resistance, making the exercise even more beneficial whilst also reducing the impact on your joints as you move around.


Any type of cardio class will increase your ability to pump blood (and oxygen) around your body. This will improve how long you are able to exercise for – allowing you to walk, run, swim and cycle further!



As your cardiovascular and respiratory systems adapt to aerobic exercise you will reduce the risk of illnesses affecting these systems e.g. strokes, heart attacks and COPD.

Cardio exercise is also associated with a reduced risk of a range of other illnesses including many forms of cancer, type II diabetes and dementia.

Your muscles will adapt to the demand placed upon them and become more efficient at utilising oxygen. This, combined with the greater supply of oxygen to working muscles (due to your improved cardiovascular fitness), will allow your muscles to keep working for longer before becoming fatigued.

Aerobic exercise should be used as a part of any attempt to control weight in a healthy manner. The metabolic demand of aerobic exercise will allow you to gradually alter your energy balance.


Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve mental health and well-being. You might have heard of the term ‘runner’s high’ which can be experienced when endorphins or neurotransmitters such as serotonin are released during a period of running (or any other form of cardio exercise!)

However, cardio exercise can also provide many other psychological benefits such as relaxation, improved self-confidence and reduced levels of anxiety.

The release of endorphins (hormones produced by the pituitary gland) during exercise reduces the feeling of pain and discomfort. This, combined with a reduction in adrenaline levels following exercise, allows you to feel much more relaxed.

What You Should Know

An instructor will lead a large group of exercisers through the session by providing instructions and encouragement. If the class is taking place in a gym environment, they will also advise on the tempo of exercise as many classes will use changes in intensity in order to provide opportunities for recovery.

Anyone can take part in cardio exercise classes as the intensity of the class can be tailored to your current fitness levels. Some classes will be more intense than others so try to find a class which caters to your level of fitness and contact the instructor if you want to find out more information about their class. 

You will definitely feel like you have achieved something after a cardio class! They provide a great opportunity to improve your overall fitness levels – improving your quality of life and athletic ability, as well as providing a break from our hectic lives.

Cardio classes will usually require quite minimal equipment – a pair of trainers and some comfortable clothes will normally be all you need for most classes.

Prices can vary but are typically around £8 for an hour session

Cardio Classes in Numbers

Increase in Vo2 max after sedentary participants completed an 8 week HIIT programme
1 %
Frédéric N. Daussin, Joffrey Zoll, Stéphane P. Dufour et al., 2008
greater risk of mental health disorders for those with low cardio-respiratory fitness compared to high respiratory fitness
1 %

Kandola A, Ashdown-Franks G, Stubbs B et al., 2019

Increase in HDL-C ('good cholesterol') following aerobic training interventions. Which equates to a 2% (men) & 3% (women) reduction in risk of coronary vascular disease
1 mg/dL
Higher blood flow velocity in the brain of endurance trained individuals at rest compared to sedentary individuals
1 %

Philip N. Ainslie, James D. Cotter, Keith P. George et al., 2008