When it comes to losing weight, you know there are certain things that need to be done to make sure your patients are successful. This includes healthier eating and daily exercise — more specifically, cardiovascular exercise.

According to LiveStrong, the key to weight loss is burning the most calories in the least amount of time. While many know what needs to be done to reap the benefits, one thing your patients may not know is how long they should be performing these cardio workouts and which exercises are the most effective.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. That sounds like a lot, but if you break it down, it makes it a lot less intimidating. This 150-minute mark can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.

But for patients with less time on their hands, 20-60 minutes of vigorous, high-intensity exercise three days a week also works well. According to the American Heart Association, high-intensity workouts are ones in which you're at 70 to 90 percent of your max heart rate.

So now that your patients have some sort of idea or range of how long their cardio workouts should last, it's time to talk which exercises to do. The best cardio workouts involve the use of the entire body. When talking about light-to-moderate exercise, good cardio can be anything from jogging to the elliptical.

For those looking to burn more fat in less time, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts are their best bet. HIIT workouts can be tied into any exercise, including running. Instead of just running, do 4-6 (30-second) sprints or touch your heels to your butt when running.

In a recent study in Obesity Reviews, researchers compared the effects of HIIT training and moderate-intensity training. While there weren't any significant differences between the two for weight loss, HIIT required a 40 percent less time commitment.

According to Bodybuilding.com, the basic concept of a HIIT workout is to alternate aerobic and anaerobic activities. Good cardio aerobic exercises include jogging, cycling and running. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have anaerobic, which features short bursts of activity for a brief period of time. Good cardio exercises for this are sprinting and high-intensity weightlifting.

Pete McCall, a certified personal trainer, talks about the advantages and disadvantages of both types of activities for patients in an article on The American Council on Exercise website. For steady-state training, it increases the mitochondrial density in type 1 (slow-twitch) fibers, which can improve aerobic metabolism. It also increases cardiac efficiency by elevating stroke volume and cardiac output.

A big disadvantage according to McCall is that steady-state training may require extended periods of training time if the patient's goal is weight loss. So, unlike interval training (HIIT) you will be putting in more time and work to see the results.

Besides burning more calories in less time, HIIT works great for individuals who get bored or distracted easily. The exercises change and are fast-paced, keeping them engaged at all times. The biggest disadvantage for interval training is that it increases mechanical damage on muscle tissue.

Explaining the advantages and disadvantages to your patients will help them understand the differences and may help you understand their goals. The biggest thing is to find a cardio exercise they like that won't lead to boredom. Making it fun and enjoyable will make it less of a chore and more of something they want to do.