Whether your goal is to lose weight, increase your endurance, or improve your heart health, cardio can help you achieve it. But getting your cardio in doesn’t only mean going for a run or spending 30 minutes on an elliptical. There are plenty of ways you can do cardio at home, so there’s no excuse to miss your daily sweat session.
According to Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S. and Openfit’s director of fitness and nutrition content, “cardio is anything that raises your heart and breathing rates, and improves the function of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.” Luckily, you can get all these benefits of cardio without ever leaving your house!
Here’s why cardio workouts at home are so great, some examples of cardio exercises you can do anywhere, plus two free cardio workouts you can do at home.
Benefits of Doing Cardio at Home
Two of the biggest reasons to do cardio at home? Price and convenience. Working out at home can set you back exactly zero dollars if you focus on bodyweight exercises and exercise methods such as high intensity interval training (HIIT). Or for less than $100, you can expand your cardio options by investing in a few key pieces of home exercise equipment, such as a yoga mat, dumbbells, a medicine ball, or resistance bands.
Cardio at home is also convenient – a benefit you shouldn’t underestimate, says Thieme. “The more convenient exercise is, the fewer excuses you’ll have to miss a workout. And the fewer workouts you miss, the faster you’ll reach your goals.”
The whole process will also take less time overall since you won’t have to travel to and from a gym or studio!
Challenges of Exercising at Home
Amidst all the perks, there are some challenges to working out at home. One of the biggest challenges is accountability, says Thieme. “When you work out by yourself at home, no one will notice if you skip a workout,” Thieme says. “So do everything you can to keep yourself accountable.”
Thieme recommends scheduling your workouts like you would an important meeting or joining an online fitness community where you can share your results with others — and be held accountable doing your best to make those results happen.
Bodyweight cardio exercises you can do at home
Ready to start exercising at home today? With at-home cardio, there’s no need to wait until you have the “right” gear or find an instructor you connect with. Bodyweight cardio exercises are one of the cheapest and easiest ways to work out at home.
Combine the exercises below into a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routine and you’ll torch even more calories. “It takes your body longer to recover from a high intensity workout than it does from a low to moderate intensity one, and that recovery requires energy,” explains Thieme. “That’s why high intensity workouts can help you reach your fat loss goals quicker than low intensity ones.”
Jumping rope might seem like child’s play…until you try it as an adult. Jumping rope can be an effective way to warm up before exercising or give you a great at-home cardio workout all on its own.
Keep a $10 jump rope in your office, car, or by the front door to sneak in some cardio whenever a few spare minutes present themselves. In addition to getting your heart pumping, jumping rope has also been shown to improve balance and motor coordination!
High school gym class may be a distant memory, but jumping jacks live on as an effective at-home cardio exercise. Falling under the category of calisthenic exercises, jumping jacks are similar to jumping rope, but since there’s no rope, they’re one of the simplest, no-excuses, do-anywhere exercises around.
Although climbing actual mountains is a good workout, you can get a cardio workout in your living room with mountain climbers, too. This bodyweight exercise not only hammers your core, but also cranks up your heart rate and keeps it there for the duration of each set, increasing your calorie burn. Brush up on proper mountain climber form here.
The jump squat is an explosive move that challenges your glutes and quadriceps, helping you sculpt strong legs and a tighter backside. And if you want more of a challenge, you can always do the jump squat with a medicine ball or dumbbell. Perfect your jump squat form with the expert tips here.
To get the greatest bang for your at-home cardio buck, bust out a set of Thieme’s favorite bodyweight exercise – the burpee. “The burpee has to be one of my favorite cardio exercises just because of the number of muscles it works and the challenge it presents to the entire cardiorespiratory system.”
This powerful, full-body exercise builds strength and endurance while providing a serious cardio pump. Get tips on how to do it properly here.
Free Cardio Workouts You Can Do at Home
If you don’t want to piece together a cardio workout yourself, find a workout that’s already been expert-approved online! Openfit has tons of options, including classic cardio classes like 600 Secs, the barre-inspired routines in Xtend Barre, and the heart-pounding MMA-based workouts in Rough Around The Edges.
Not only are these at-home cardio workouts you can do with minimal or no equipment, but many people find that dance or MMA-based routines are more “fun” than traditional cardio. Plus, they’ll also work you from head to toe. “Both dance and MMA-style workouts involve total body movements that are particularly effective at sculpting a strong core,” says Thieme.
Ready to get started? Try out two free Openfit workouts below, and when you’re ready for more, sign up for full access to all the workout programs!
You read that right – this 600 Secs HIIT workout will take you just 600 seconds to complete (that’s 10 minutes if you’re still doing the math). But that’s all the time you need to burn fat, build muscle, and get a great at-home cardio workout.
Try this 10-minute total body cardio workout for free, and get full access to all the other workouts here.
Rough Around the Edges
Want to feel like a badass while you sweat? The Rough Around the Edges cardio workouts combine an all-star crew of Hollywood stuntwomen and martial artists that will have you side kicking, jump squatting, and cross jabbing your way through your at-home cardio workout. Try “Karate Core” today, and get full access to the program here.