Cardio is an essential part of a workout routine as it improves cardiovascular health, lung capacity and can even help with weight loss. While you may typically associate a cardio workout with running on the treadmill, that doesn’t always have to be the case!
There are a wide variety of simple cardio exercises you can do at home that are just as effective as your typical cardio workout at the gym. Follow along as we roundup some beneficial cardio exercises you can perform from the comfort of your own home…
If you have a jump rope hanging around at home, this could be the perfect time to pick it up and get your cardio in! You can jump rope almost anywhere and burn as many as 220-calories in 20-minutes. Jumping rope is actually a really popular cardio method among many athletes because it’s so simple, can be done anywhere, and is an effective method to get the heart pumping.
One of the most powerful cardio moves you can do at home is a set of burpees! This exercise is a dynamic, full-body move that will undoubtedly get your heart pumping and burn calories. You don’t need any equipment to complete this workout and won’t need much more space than the size of a yoga mat. To perform a burpee, start in a standing position. Crouch down and jump to a plank position, then pull yourself back up to standing and repeat.
Another great cardio move is a variation of the standard plank called the “walking plank” which adds some movement to the classic exercise. To execute the walking plank move, start in a plank position on your elbows. Using one arm at a time, raise your elbows to a plank position on your hands. Repeat arm by arm. This one will get your heart pumping but also is an effective full-body move with a focus on the core.
A curtsy lunge is a great lower body exercise to build muscle, but it also doubles as a cardio move if you speed it up. To perform a curtsy lunge, start by standing straight then move one leg diagonally behind you into a squat position while hovering your knee a few inches off the ground. Return to a standing position and repeat on the other side. You can use your arms to stabilize by bending them at your chest. The key to making this move an effective cardiovascular activity is to try to speed it up.
Jog In Place
If you’re unable to walk on a treadmill or the weather isn’t cooperating to walk outside, a great at-home option is to jog in place. You’d be surprised at how quickly this gets your heart rate up despite how simple this exercise is. To make sure you’re using your full body and burning even more calories, be sure to swing your arms as you go. You could even put on your favorite song to make jogging in place even more fun!
Squats are a classic low body exercise to build strength, but there’s a trick to also make squats double as a cardio move that will burn calories and raise the heart rate. Try adding a jump between squats to perform a “jump squat” which turns this classic exercise into cardio. Challenge yourself by trying to get as high as possible as you jump or add this move into a full workout circuit to incorporate some cardio into your routine.
Mountain climbers are a plank variation that works the core, but this move also works effectively as cardio if you speed it up. To complete a mountain climber, start in a plank position then bring one knee up towards your chest. Repeat back and forth quickly between each leg. We suggest repeating this for 30 to 60-seconds at a time and be sure to keep the core engaged the entire circuit.
Another underrated yet powerful cardio move is performing high knees on the spot. This exercise is similar to jogging on the spot but burns even more calories because it’s a little more dynamic by bringing your knees to your chest. It’s simple, accessible and can be performed with minimal space available to you.
When thinking of at-home cardio exercises, jumping jacks is one of the first moves that come to mind! It’s a move that we’ve been doing since our childhood years but is actually quite effective to burn calories and improve cardiovascular health. In case you need a reminder on how to perform a jumping jack, start in a standing position and jump your feet wide while simultaneously reaching your arms above your head.
Lunge jumps are a cardio exercise that combines lateral lunges with jumps in between to work both the lower body and to raise your heart rate. To perform a lunge jump, start in a lunge where both knees are at a 90-degree angle. Engage your core and swing your arms as you jump upwards to switch legs and land in a lunge. Repeat this exercise in intervals to burn calories, gain strength in the lower body and build endurance.
A cardio move that is sometimes overlooked but can actually be highly effective (and pretty fun) is dancing! This can be done anywhere and is an easy way to have some fun in the comfort of your own home! Turn on some high-energy music and move your body freely to the beat. You might be surprised at how quickly your heart is racing and how tired you are by the end of the song. Dancing can be a truly effective (and fun!) way to improve cardiovascular health.
Running The Stairs
If you have a staircase in your home or apartment building, it’s a great tool to take advantage of when it comes to at-home cardio! Try challenging yourself to run up and down the stairs a few times in order to get your heart pumping. The incline of the staircase adds an extra challenge and helps to build power and strength in the lower body while building endurance.