Best Exercises for A Great Cardio Workout at Home
With the weather turning colder, I find myself having a harder time getting (and staying) motivated to work out. I’m a runner, and I love everything about running outdoors, especially since it’s free and (sometimes) easy. But in the colder months, it can be really hard to get out of bed!
My favorite part about running, though, is that it is a fantastic cardio workout I can do from home. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment, apart from a pair of sturdy running shoes, can be done inside or outside, and is a fabulous way to get to know your city. You literally run the streets! If you are a woman looking to start or maintain a running or walking program, look up your local chapter of She Runs This Town. I have been running with awesome women in my community for almost five years now. They motivate me to get out of bed on even the coldest mornings. When it comes to cardio workouts at home (or anywhere), I’ve found that accountability is an important component.
If running isn’t your speed, that’s okay. There are a variety of awesome cardio workouts you can do from home. Grab your favorite workout clothes, queue up a great playlist on your phone and lace up your shoes. The best cardio workout for you to do at home is whichever one you actually do consistently!
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends 150 minutes of moderate cardio per week. That’s 5 30-minute sessions per week, or about 22 minutes every day. If you’re trying to find the best cardio workout to do at home, check out a few of these suggestions and see if any of them suit you.
Best Cardio Workouts to Do from Your House
Walking: If you’re just getting started in cardio fitness, walking is for you. It’s easy on the joints, allows you to get fresh air, gets your heart pumping and can literally be done anywhere. Put on some comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. Grab your phone and your earbuds and literally hit the road. To keep myself motivated to get out the door, I download my favorite podcasts but don’t allow myself to even begin listen to them until I’m out and actually exercising. Aim for 30 or so minutes of walking about 3-4 times per week. You can of course use a treadmill or find indoor places to walk, if weather is an issue.
Running: If you’re new to running, try intervals to motivate you to get off the couch. Bring your phone or smart watch and set a timer. Run for one minute and then walk for two. Every three weeks, cut down your walk interval by 15 seconds until you aren’t walking at all anymore! Running is one of my favorite ways to clear my head and get my blood flowing. Run solo, run with friends… just run!
Jump Rope: If it’s too cold to get yourself out on the streets, why not grab an inexpensive jump rope, like the one you probably had as a kid, and get to jumping in your garage? Jumping rope is a fantastic cardio workout that will help you feel young again! Jumping rope is high intensity. If you need something a bit more low impact, try jumping jacks. If jumping is a no-go for you, try side taps. Make the same movements you would to do a jumping jack, but tap your feet in and out instead of jumping in and out. If you have any joint issues, you can also opt to just jump on a rebounder or trampoline.
HIIT Circuit: HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training. Basically, it means getting your heartrate up high and then lowering it and then raising it again. HIIT is great to rev up your metabolism to make your body burn fat instead of carbs for energy.
Try this quick HIIT workout that can be done in your garage or basement:
- 10 burpees; rest for 20 seconds
- 20 squat jumps; rest for 20 seconds
- 50 jumping jacks; rest for 20 seconds
- 30 jump lunges (15 on each side); rest for one minute
- Repeat circuit
If this circuit is too intense, focus on just one exercise at a time. Do 10 burpees, rest 1 minute and so on. Each of these four exercises is a powerful cardio workout with loads of benefits. Bonus: this workout strengthens your entire body, including your core.
Stair-running: Nothing tests your agility and gets your heart pumping than a jog up a flight of stairs! This simple act of cardio can easily leave your breathless. Try running up and down the stairs in your house or your apartment complex for 15 minutes a few times per week. If it’s too hard, focus on running up the stairs and then walking down. Walking down the steps is harder on the joints than walking up the stairs. This exercise targets your entire lower body more than running or walking can even do.
Easy Ways to Intensify Your At-Home Cardio Workout
If you’re feeling bored with your cardio workout routine, try switching it up a bit.
- Add wrist or ankle weights to your daily walk. Or try “power walking” for the first two minutes of each mile.
- Run for the hills, literally! Increase the cardio strength you gain from a run by finding a hill in your neighborhood to run up a few times. In fact, your daily run can simply be hill repeats, where you run up and down the hill four or five times. Try to make each repeat a bit faster than the last.
- If jumping rope is getting to be too easy, try jumping on one foot! This will increase your coordination and strengthen each leg.
- Switch up your HIIT workout. There are lots more exercises you can incorporate into your HIIT routine that will raise your heartrate and get you going. Try tuck jumps instead of jumping jacks, burpees with a push-up, or lunge jumps with an extra kick and so on!
- If your stair-running is getting dull or repetitive, try doing stair jumps. That’s when you jump with both feet from one step to the next. Try skipping a stair here and there to really fire up your leg muscles as they help you jump higher and further than usual!
Find a Cardio “Accountability Buddy” to Stick to Your At-Home Cardio Routine
Even when you have a ton of awesome at-home cardio workout options that can help with fitness and weight-loss but don’t break the bank, it can be hard to stay motivated. Having someone help keep you accountable is key.
There are plenty of Facebook groups you can join to share your plans, goals, accomplishments and setbacks with like-minded individuals. If you have a fitness watch, you can track your progress on it and store the info in the watch’s app to monitor your progress. Or you can find a buddy with similar goals and have daily or weekly check-ins to see how your cardio commitment is going. If you’re lucky, you might have a neighbor or family member you can work out with.
The best thing about at-home cardio workouts is that they can work for you any time of day, wherever you are. So, no more excuses for not being active. Get out there and move your body!