Do you often feel bored of running on the treadmill for a quick cardio session? As much as we may wish to excuse ourselves from it, we should try to include at least ten minutes of this heart-healthy activity in our daily routine to obtain its benefits. If you are looking for some quick cardio exercises that you can do at home without the requirement of any gym equipment, then you have landed at the right fitness space. Let us look at some of the best cardio exercises that tone your body muscles while keeping your heart healthy.
Cardiovascular exercises are a kind of rhythmic physical activity that results in increased heart rate, which further helps transfer oxygen throughout the body. They are performed to boost energy, maintain weight, improve heart health, get better sleep and build a more robust respiratory and immune system. In fact, performing regular cardio exercises at home, with proper food and water intake can help keep chronic diseases at bay.
Depending on your current fitness level and goals, health conditions, age and gender, you can enrol for various cardio classes online to ensure you get proper training and results, as performing the right exercise is very important. Also, the intensity of the workout varies depending on the factors mentioned above. However, according to some health studies, one should engage in a cardio workout for about 150 minutes per week (differs from person to person) for overall well-being.
Cardio Exercises Lets us Think Beyond Gym Equipment and Machines!
The basic point of cardio workouts is to pump up the heart rate, which can be done from the comfort of your home with ease. Dance exercises, skipping ropes, kick-boxing, spot jogging, squats, jumping jacks and climbing stairs are some of the well-known at-home cardio workouts. These exercises can be carried out in sets or specific time frames of 5-20 minutes, with a successive rest phase in between, based on the fitness level of an individual.
An Expansive List of Best Cardio Exercises
Workouts can be fun when performed in groups of friends or family. Here is a list of the best cardio exercises that you can do to stay fit and healthy.
- Sprinting on the Spot:
Sprinting is one of the most simple and effective cardio exercises to increase stamina that also acts as a warm-up activity. To perform sprinting in place, lift your foot one after the other as much as you can as if you are running on one spot. At the same time, form a rhythmic swing of the arms in coordination with the legs from side to side. This activity is suitable for confined spaces.
This form of cardio exercise helps elevate your heart rate, enhances blood sugar levels, and burns calories, which promote weight loss if performed consistently. Also, it can further boost cardiovascular function, increase lung capacity and improve blood circulation.
- Jumping Jacks:
If you are new to exercising or cardio workout, you should definitely begin with jumping jacks after warming up with stretching exercises. It is one of the easiest cardio exercises that can be performed at home anytime. To perform this exercise, you need to continuously jump with your feet wide open while circling your arms above your head and repeat.
Jumping jacks are all about duration; the more time you perform them, the greater benefit you reap. It is a full-body workout as the exercise targets biceps, triceps, glutes, calves, chest muscles, as well as the core.
Skaters combine strength and cardio-driven exercises that serve as a highly functional activity to add to your workout routine. First, you need to bend forward and jump to the right, then take your left foot behind you while bringing your left arm in front of you. Next, jump to the left, do the same with your right foot and arm, and create a rhythmic side-to-side move.
Skaters are beneficial for your glutes, outer thighs and the core that help boost your heart rate. It further improves muscle endurance, as well as enhances coordination, balance and strength. Almost every muscle is put to the test when performing skaters.
Burpees is one of the best cardio exercises that involve a squat, jump and push up. For performing burpees, get into a lower squat position and place your hands on the floor. Following that, kick your legs backwards into a plank posture. Then, jump forward to return to the squat position and stand up.
Burpees have a total body impact and spike the heart rate up in a short span of time. They are a part of HIIT workouts (High-Intensity Interval Training) and are suitable for individuals who are into hardcore exercise and Yoga.
- Squat Jumps:
For performing this cardio exercise, get into the regular squat position where your feet are about shoulder-width apart and bend your knees with your torso upright. Keep your hands clasped in front of the chest and toes slightly turned out. Now, jump as high as you can and swing your arms to create momentum.
Squat jumps target the quads, hamstrings, glutes and hips while increasing the pace of your heart. This exercise variation puts more stress onto the joints; hence, it's necessary to have healthy knees, ankles and hips if you wish to try it.
- Jumping Lunges:
Jump lunges should definitely be added to the list of exceptional cardio exercises without any equipment. To perform this exercise, start in a lunge position with a forward thrust of the body by keeping your right foot forward and left foot back. Next, jump into the air and hold your hands onto your hips or take them higher for greater intensity. Then, softly land on your feet.
If you want to level up this exercise, you can do the plyometric jump lunge in which you have to interchange the leg from left to right, one after the other. Jumping lunges are a great lower body exercise that enhances the intensity and difficulty level of the regular lunge by adding a jump. It stimulates the quads, hip flexors, hamstrings and calves, strengthening your cardiovascular system.
- Dancing Exercises or Zumba:
Grooving to the beats of melody music feels like a dance party than a workout, which is why Zumba is popular. It is a Latin-inspired dance workout, which is one of the famous cardio exercises in the world. It comprises of choreographed movements in coordination with the music.
You can take up Zumba cardio classes online to help you perform high- and low-intensity workouts to boost heart rate and improve cardio endurance. Such an activity helps enhance flexibility, strengthen the core and is a great exercise to reduce belly fat. Healthwise, it also aids in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Mountain Climbers:
It is an advanced exercise that targets the whole body, especially the lower abdominal region. For this cardio exercise, lay down into the push-up posture, start by extending your right leg backwards and bring the left leg near the chest, with your toes on the ground. Now, keep your hands on the ground and body at the hip level, instantly switch the leg positions and continue it with alternate legs.
Mountain Climbers work multiple muscle groups and joints, such as the shoulders, hamstrings, triceps, quads and core. Performing an intense workout with such an exercise elevates heart rate while building muscle and stamina.
- Tuck Jumps:
Tuck jumps are a plyometric bodyweight exercise that enhances power output, increases energy, and develops athleticism. For this exercise, vertically jump into the air and raise your knees as close as possible to your chest. You can repeat this movement any desired number of times. Tuck jumps, if done in proper sets, can reduce fat and burn calories.
While it may appear to be a simple jump movement, it is a hardcore exercise with a package of benefits. This explosive cardio activity integrates all the muscle groups and aids in building excellent strength in the legs and the core.
- Cardio Kick-boxing:
Cardio kick-boxing is a group of fitness exercises and a mix of martial arts and fast-paced cardio. It is a high-intensity workout that challenges the beginner and professional athlete equally, consisting of movements like kicks, punches and knee strikes into the air.
Building stamina, developing coordination, improving flexibility, and torching off calories can help build strong muscles with this challenging workout. There is no requirement for any equipment, and it is a good fitness alternative for those looking to lose calories for reducing weight or enhancing stamina and cardiac health.
Benefits of Cardio Exercises
Apart from burning calories, cardio workouts offer several other benefits like:
- Improves Mental Health: Performing regular cardio exercises aid in improving memory and brain health. Further, it releases endorphins into your brain that acts as a painkiller to improve sleep and, in turn, reduce stress and anxiety. Thus, cardio workouts can also improve your sleep patterns, productivity and mood.
- Monitor Diabetes: When you engage in regular cardio activity, your muscles ability to utilise glucose increases in the body. Thus, if you are a diabetic patient whose blood sugar levels often fluctuate, then a regular cardio workout can help you to get that in control.
- Improves Heart Health: The heart is responsible for various purposes and is essential to keep it in function, just like any other muscle. If you don’t take care of your heart, you might invite the risks of many diseases. Therefore, doing cardio exercises can help keep your heart in check. Furthermore, these help to lower LDL(low-density lipoproteins), i.e., bad cholesterol.
- Boosts Metabolism: The chemical processes in your body work at a certain rate. This rate of breakdown for energy release in the body is known as metabolism. Through cardio, this rate increases and improves the entire body functionality. The higher the intensity of the cardio, the more noticeable increase will occur in your metabolic rate.
- Other Physical Benefits: Cardio workouts help tone muscles, regulate weight, improve posture and boost energy. Furthermore, with specific exercises, you can target particular areas of the body.
Things to Note Before Deep Diving into Cardio Workouts
Here are a few points to keep in mind before starting a cardio routine:
- Rigorous cardio workouts are not recommended for individuals recovering from health problems, who have recently undergone surgery, or recovering from injuries. Otherwise, such exercises are suitable and beneficial for everyone.
- Start a cardio workout gradually by beginning with stretches or warm-up and then moving from low to high-intensity exercises. Also, cool down after performing a set of exercises for maximum benefits.
- The intensity of the exercise varies from person to person, so always keep your current fitness level in mind and work out accordingly.
- For the elderly, it is highly recommended to engage in light aerobic exercises so as to improve cardiovascular health as they have higher chances of getting heart diseases.
- Pregnant ladies can join simple cardio workouts for women specifically designed to offer comfort, strength and support to the mother.
- Those with health issues or injuries can do moderate cardio workouts after consulting a doctor.
Hence, cardio exercises are very beneficial if you want to work out at home. Apart from the above-mentioned cardio activities, you can also work out using a treadmill, rowing machine, go swimming, cycling, walking, roller skating, do hula hoops and so on. These are outdoor cardio movements, and may or may not require the use of some sort of equipment.
Exercising is important to maintain overall health. Be sure to rest between high-intensity workouts so that your muscles have a chance to re-energize and recover. Also, overtraining is a syndrome that can lead to serious health issues.
Along with a good workout regime, it is necessary to have proper nutrition and water intake. Eat healthy carbs such as whole grains, fruits, veggies and loads of protein to feed your body.
At cult.fit, we strive to make workouts fun, daily food healthy and tasty, mental fitness smooth with exercise, Yoga and meditation, along with medical and lifestyle concerns hassle-free. So, make the most out of these best cardio exercises at home with your friends and family.
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