You were just gifted a pair of women’s running shoes and you’re ready to put those babies to work! However, not everyone wants to spend a bunch of money on a gym membership. Luckily there are plenty of ways to increase your heart rate and burn some calories from the comfort of your home. If you’re a seasoned fitness enthusiast or think the last time you worked out was high-school gym class, there’s a cardio workout perfect for you. Whether you like something high-intensity to feel the burn, or you think you want to start small, you’ll find a list of some awesome cardio exercises to do at home.
You may remember doing this one in high school, and burpees are a timeless classic in the world of fitness. Burpees are great because it gets your entire body moving and can be done essentially anywhere, as long as you have some space to do them.
To do a burpee, stand with your feet apart, keeping the same distance between them as your shoulders. Get into a squat and position your hands on the floor. Then, do a big jump, moving into a plank position with your feet behind you. Do a pushup, and then release back to the starting position. Repeat this move for at least a minute, and you’ll definitely feel your heart pumping.
Squat jumps offer a fun (depending on your definition of the word) spin on the traditional squat. This exercise brings some intensity to your workout, so if you don’t feel ready for this one, maybe stick to a traditional squat and work your way up.
To do a squat jump, start with your feet about hip-width apart while engaging your abdominal muscles. Then, get as low as possible while keeping your legs straight and with your body parallel to your spine to help protect your knees and engage your upper body muscles.
Once you’re in your squat position, place your hands on the floor (if you can manage), and do the biggest jump you can straight into the air with your arms following the movement. Your jump should lead you back to your starting squat position. You can repeat this exercise for as long as you can handle it, but we recommend starting with a minute and working your way up.
Long jumps aren’t as intense as the squat jump, so they’re perfect for beginners looking to incrementally increase intensity in their workout. This move is simple but effective in getting your heart rate up. To do this move, stand with your feet together and simply jump forward as far as you can while engaging your core muscles and landing with your knees bent.
While doing this move, pay close attention to any signs of discomfort in your body and make adjustments as needed. You can alternate by allowing one foot to land slightly before another, avoiding putting too much pressure.
High-knee jog in place
Jogging in one place makes it easy to do your run right from home. This exercise engages your abdominal muscles, quads, and hip flexor muscles. You likely already know how to jog in place, so this one is just putting a simple spin on the action.
To do this exercise, lift one of your knees into the air as you jog in place, alternating legs in between jogs. While jogging in place, ensure you’re activating your ab muscles while lifting your knees to the level of your hips.
If you’re not feeling the burn, you can increase the intensity of this exercise by touching your knees with your hands each time you lift them. Repeat this exercise as long as you can handle it, but we recommend starting with a minute and adjusting as needed.
Planks are one of the more infamous exercises because of how challenging they can be for people. Planks may look like one of the simpler cardio exercises, but don’t let that fool you.
To do a plank, find room on the floor to extend your body. Get face down onto the floor with your toes and forearms planted on the floor. Your elbows should be parallel and aligned with your shoulders. As you move into the plank position, engage your core muscles. Your body should be straight from your head all the way down to the floor. Hold this position for as long as you can handle and good luck!
If you’re looking to up the ante on this one, you can do different positions to adjust the intensity. Some variations include adding in a leg or arm lift (or both!), forearm planks, side planks, straight arms planks, and more. If you’re hoping to work your way up to a traditional plank, you can do a tabletop blank to make it a little more beginner-friendly.
Dance to music
This is our favorite cardio workout, and we think everyone will be able to get behind this one. Create a list of your favorite tunes that make you want to jump up and dance. Try to choose music with a fast tempo and a fast beat so that it encourages you to dance your heart out.
Dancing is a great way to get your heart pumping, burn some calories, and get sweaty. Many gyms offer Zumba or dance cardio classes, but why pay when you can do this anytime at home? Dancing as a workout can also help to improve your coordination and balance as well.
Cardio at Home
While we’ve listed a few of our favorite cardio workouts, there are plenty more you can do right from home! One positive of the pandemic is all the discourse around working out from home. There are so many useful websites and professional Youtube channels that allow you to get the body of your dreams without having to leave the house! With a little space and your favorite workout shoes, you’ve got a whole gym right at home! So whether you go with some of the classics or just have a dance party as your workout, try out some of these exercises, and find your new love for cardio!
Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.