9 Cardio Home Exercises That Don’t Involve RunningArticle posted in: Fitness
Keep things fun and interesting by changing up your workout routine! Get your legs moving and your heart pumping with these nine cardio exercises that don’t require leaving the house.
There are so many health benefits of cardio exercise. According to Cleveland Clinic, the entire body is impacted by cardiovascular activities. The increase in blood flow and circulation helps to provide necessary oxygen to your brain, skin and muscles. It can also improve lung, muscle, pancreas and bone health, decreasing shortness of breath and the risk of developing osteoporosis and diabetes. It can also contribute to your mood and energy levels by releasing endorphins and feel-good hormones that decrease your risk of stress and anxiety.
You don’t have to run for miles or go to the gym to get your heart rate up. We put together this list of nine cardio exercises that you can do right in your house.
Obviously, the faster you go, the harder you’ll work. Most of these workouts can be incorporated into High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). “Although there are many different ways to perform HIIT, all of the programs are characterized by periods of very heavy effort combined with periods of either complete rest or low intensity recovery,” says the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Click here to learn more about HIIT workouts. >
Ready to begin? Be sure to read the instructions and practice the movements before starting your workout. Go slowly until you’re comfortable and then pick up your pace. Proper form is more important (and more effective) than speed. Be sure to always speak with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
Here are nine cardio home exercises that don’t involve running:
1. Jumping Jacks
- Stand up straight with your feet together and abs engaged.
- Jump your feet out to the sides and bring your arms up over your head simultaneously.
- Jump again, lowering your hands and bringing your feet together. As you jump, distribute your weight throughout the foot (eventually landing on the heels) to reduce the impact on your ankles, hips and knees.
- Keep your knees relaxed throughout, never locked.
Burpees are several exercises in one: a plank, push-up, knee tuck and jump-up. So let’s break this exercise down into four parts:
- Plank: Start by putting your hands down and jumping back into a plank, keeping your arms straight and directly under your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line from your head to heels. If you have a full-length mirror you can turn sideways, it can really help with your alignment.
- Push-up: If you’re able to do a push-up, do so—keeping your body nice and straight. If you have to rest your body on the floor, no shame in that. Just push yourself back up.
- Knee Tuck: Jump your feet up to your hands and stand.
- Jump-Up: Jump in the air with your arms up. Try to land with your feet still hip-width apart, your knees slightly bent as you land, and your feet landing on the balls of your feet.
3. Stair Jumps/Step Ups
Have an aerobic step and all the risers? Awesome. Have a front porch step? That’ll do! According to Silver Sneakers, step workouts are a great way to work out your legs, hips, core and glutes.
- Option 1: Start with basic stepping, leading with your left foot. Left up, right up, left down, right down. “Push down through your heel, and lift yourself up until your leg is straight,” says Silver Sneakers. Repeat as many times as desired and then lead with the right foot. Go faster to burn even more calories.
- Option 2: Add some weight by holding dumbbells while doing the exercise above.
- Option 3: Jump up and step down off the step. Use your arms to help you balance and generate momentum. Gradually increase the height to increase the difficulty.
Have access to a few stairs? Try these exercises:
- Option 1: Walk, jog, run or sprint up and down the stairs.
- Option 2: Skip one step. Skip two steps.
- Option 3: Jump up with both feet onto the bottom step. Return to the starting position and repeat.
4. High Knees
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, abs engaged.
- Start marching, bringing your knees as high up in the air as you can.
- Pick up the pace so you’re hopping on each foot, using your abs to pull your knees up.
- Pumping the arms increases your heart rate and also helps you maintain your balance.
5. Jumping Lunge
- Plant your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step forward with your right leg and squat down until your right thigh is parallel to the floor, bent 90 degrees. (Your right knee should not extend out over your right toe and your left knee should not touch the floor.)
- Jump up, pushing off your front leg, switch feet in the air, and land with your left leg forward and right leg back.
- Repeat, keeping the knees bent and soft, never locked when landing.
6. Jump Rope
The faster you go, the harder you’ll work. Don’t have a jump rope? Fake it.
- Option 1: Skip over the rope in standard jump rope fashion.
- Option 2: Jump on one foot.
- Option 3: Alternate feet.
7. Mountain Climbers
- Get into a push-up position, with your arms straight and hands directly under your shoulders.
- Raise your hips as you bring one knee up toward your chest, then bring it back to the starting position as you bring the other knee forward.
- Get a rhythm going that feels like jogging, where both feet are off the floor for a brief moment.
- Change it up: Get an oblique workout by driving your right knee to your left shoulder and left knee to right shoulder.
- From a crouched position with your feet close together, take a sideways leap to your left, landing on your left foot with your right foot sweeping behind it. Your right arm should sweep in front of your torso, and your left arm should sweep out to the side.
- Hop to your right, landing on your right foot and reversing the position of your other limbs.
- This should be a smooth, comfortable motion that mimics the movement of a speed skater in action.
9. Squat Jump
- Plant your feet shoulder-width apart. Position your weight in your heels.
- Bend your knees and squat (pushing your hips back as though you were sitting on a chair).
- Use your butt and core muscles to explosively jump up in the air, returning to a stand.
- As you land, quickly drop back down into the initial squat position. Repeat.
*Always speak with a doctor before starting an exercise routine.