Cardiovascular exercises are a great way to get your heart rate up and improve your overall fitness.
If you’re looking for a cardio routine that you can do at home or outside, you have plenty of options to choose from. In this article, we’ll discuss 21 different cardio exercise-choices that you could do without leaving your home or just outside. We’ll start with beginner-level exercises and move on to more advanced routines as we go along. So whether you’re just starting or you’re a seasoned athlete, there’s something here for you.
Also, some extra exercises are included after the listed 21 cardio-exercises. This will help people who are just starting to build their workout-program or workout-routine.
Beginner-Level Cardio Exercises
This is a great exercise to start with if you’re new to cardio. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and some open space. Start by walking at a comfortable pace for 5-10 minutes, and gradually increase your time as you get more comfortable. You can do this outside, or from inside using a treadmill for instance.
If you’re looking for a little more intensity, jogging is a good next step. Again, make sure you have a good pair of shoes and find an open area to jog in. Start by jogging slowly for just a few minutes, and gradually increase your time and speed as you get more comfortable. Another exercise, that is possible outside or on a treadmill – is a great way to start a day!
3. Jumping Jacks
This is a great exercise to get your heart rate up quickly. Start by doing a few jumping jacks to warm up, and then do as many as you can in a row. Try to increase the number of jumping jacks you do each time you do this workout.
4. Marching In Place
This is another simple cardio exercise that you can do at home with minimal equipment. Simply stand with your feet hip-width apart and march in place. Make sure to keep your core engaged and your back straight.
5. Elliptical Machine
Start pedaling slowly for a few minutes, and then gradually increase the intensity.
6. Stationary Bike
A cardio workout on a stationary bike is a great way to start, end or build into your day. You can read while doing the exercise or just put on some music and block out the world for the workout-session. This can be half an hour or more and help you with your weight loss goals too.
As you get more in shape, you can start adding HIIT workouts to your routine. As always it depends on yourself.
A stationary exercise bike is not a huge investment, but can give you a good regular home cardio workout, while also helping you to burn calories.
7. Rowing Machine
A rowing machine gives you an excellent cardio workout, while also working the muscles in your whole body. Especially in your back, which is great compensation, if you are sitting a lot of time for instance. Intensity can be increased gradually as well.
Rowers are also a very good choice for HIIT workouts. Cardio machines like a rowing machine are effective in giving you a total body workout or by helping you burn fat and lose weight. Even more through interval workouts and high intensity interval training (HIIT).
8. Jumping Rope
The jump rope gives you a classic cardio exercise that is great for all fitness levels. It is simple to do and can be done almost anywhere. An old-school cardio exercise that is still effective today.
All you need is a jump rope. Start using the jump rope at a comfortable pace for a few minutes, and then gradually increase the intensity.
A jump rope is time efficient as well, because it can give you a full body workout in just around 15-30 minutes. It is a good addition to high intensity interval training too.
Squats is another great exercise to do in addition to your cardio routine, in which you are working your leg muscles. A few strength training elements are good combination to a well balanced cardio workout.
Start by doing a few squats, and then gradually increase the frequency and the volume of the exercise.
10. Scissor Kicks and Crunches
Scissor Kicks are another challenging exercise that’s great for improving overall fitness. Lie on your back with your legs in the air and your hands by your sides. Simultaneously lower your right leg and your left arm, then raise them back up to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg and right arm. Try to do as many as you can in a row.
For Crunches, start by doing a few reps, and then gradually increase the number of repetitions you do.
Both are great exercises to do in addition to your cardio routine.
Intermediate To Advanced-Level Cardio Exercises
11. Jogging Intervals
If you’re comfortable jogging, you can add intervals to make your cardio workout more challenging. Start by jogging for a few minutes, then sprint for 30 seconds. Jog again for a few minutes, then sprint again. Continue alternating between jogging and sprinting until you’ve completed your desired amount of time or reps.
Planks are a great for toning the abs, glutes, and hamstrings. They’re also a good way to improve balance and stability.
13. Jumping Rope Intervals
If you like jumping rope and want to increase the intensity, you can add intervals here as well. Start by warming up for a few minutes, then do 30 seconds intervals on the rope, which vary in in speed and intensity. Or, if you don’t just want to use the rope, alternate the intervals with a combination of any other of the exercises. As you get better, you can change the interval-length.
14. Hill Repeats
If you have access to a hill, this is a great way to add intensity to your cardio workout. Start by running up the hill at a comfortable pace, then sprint up the hill. Walk back down the hill, then repeat.
15. Air Bike Intervals
To get the most out of your cardio workout, you must make it challenging. This means adding intervals to your routine. Another great way to do this is with an air bike. Start by pedaling at a moderate pace for a few minutes, then increase the intensity and pedal as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Pedal at a moderate pace again for a few minutes, then repeat the cycle.
Lunges are a great exercise to tone the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. They’re also a good way to improve balance and stability. To do a lunge, start by standing with your feet together. Step forward with one foot, and lower your body towards the floor. Keep your back straight, and don’t let your front knee go past your toes. Hold for a few seconds, and then step back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
If you find the basic lunge too easy, you can add weight to your back pocket, or hold a dumbbell in each hand. Alternatively, you can try doing a reverse lunge. To do a reverse lunge, start by standing with your feet together. Step back with one foot, and lower your body towards the floor. Keep your back straight, and don’t let your front knee go past your toes. Hold for a few seconds, and then step back to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
17. Stair Climbing Intervals
If you have access to stairs, this is a great way to add intensity to your cardio workout. Start by climbing the stairs at a comfortable pace, then sprint up the stairs. Walk back down the stairs, then repeat.
18. Treadmill Intervals
Treadmills are a great way to get in a cardiovascular workout and work out the lower body. They provide a low-impact workout that is easy on the joints. Treadmill intervals are a great way to increase your fitness level and burn calories.
To do treadmill intervals, start by warming up for five minutes. Then, increase the speed to a run or jog for one minute. Reduce the speed to a slow walk for one minute. Repeat this cycle for 20 minutes. Finish with a five-minute cool-down.
Adjust the length of the intervals as you keep getting fitter.
This challenging cardio exercise is great for improving overall fitness and helps you burn calories, while working out the entire body. Burpees are a good addition to any home cardio workout.
Start in a standing position, then squat down and place your hands on the ground. Jump your feet back to plank position, do a push-up, then jump your feet back to squat position and stand up. That’s one rep. Try to do as many as you can in a row.
20. Mountain Climbers
This challenging cardio exercise is also great for improving overall fitness and a good combination with a home cardio workout. Start in a plank position, then bring your right knee towards your chest. Return your right foot to plank position, then bring your left knee in towards your chest. Return your left foot to the plank position and continue alternating between legs.
21. Crab Walk
This challenging cardio exercise is also great for improving overall fitness. Start in a crab position with your hands and feet on the ground, then walk forward with your hands and feet. When you reach the end of the room or track, turn around and walk back the way you came.
There you have it! 21 cardio exercises to do at home with minimal equipment, from beginner to advanced. These exercises can help improve overall fitness, cardio endurance, and strength. So what are you waiting for? Get moving!
Additional Cardio and Strength Exercises
Do you still want more cardio workouts? Here are some additional exercises you can include in your workout at home or outside:
Boxers are some of the fittest athletes out there because of all the cardio they do. But you don’t have to be a boxer to get in a great cardio workout, though. Just put on some boxing gloves (or use your hands without gloves) and go at it for a few minutes. You can do shadow-boxing, which means going through boxing movements or sequences in the air. The goal here is to get in motion.
Another way is of course doing movements on a boxing-bag or similar equipment.
Both are great ways to relief stress as well.
Gradually increase the number of sets as you get stronger and fitter. Do as many reps as you can if you aim to do this as a cardio-exercise.
Wall sits are a great exercise for the thighs and glutes (lower body)and a good addition to a home cardio workout too.
To do them, stand with your back against a wall and slide your feet out in front of you so that you are in a squatting position. Make sure your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold this position for as long as you can.
Bicycle crunches are a great exercise for the abs and an excellent addition to a home cardio workout as well. To do them, lie on your back on the floor and place your hands behind your head. Bring your knees in towards your chest, then use your abs to curl up towards your feet. Hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position. Instead of lifting both legs at the same time, lift one leg and pedal it like you would on a bicycle.
Reverse crunches are a great exercise for the abs and thighs. To do them, lie on your back on the floor and place your hands flat on the floor. Use your abs to curl straight up in the air or towards your upper body. You can hold the curled position before going back to the starting point to make it more difficult.
Russian twists are a great exercise for the abs and a great addition to a home cardio workout. To do them, sit on the ground with your knees bent and lean back so that your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Hold your hand at your chest, then twist your torso to the right and touch your hand to the ground beside you. Twist back to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
Side planks are a great exercise for toning the abs and obliques. They’re also a good way to improve balance and stability and a good addition to a home cardio workout. As well as regular planks.
If you want more ab workouts, look into this ab workout guide. They are a good addition to any weight loss program as well.
Bird dogs are a great exercise for your abs and back. They help build strength and endurance in these areas.
Side bends are a great way to tone your abs and obliques. They can be done with or without weights, depending on your level of fitness.
At last, for whatever workout or combination of exercises you decided to go for, it is important to mention that stretching is a very good way to end each workout-session. It helps the relaxation of your muscles in your body (upper and lower body) and therefore can add to giving you a more calm and focused mind afterwards.
Especially if you have a job, in which you are sitting most of the time, it is very beneficial for your posture and overall feeling of well-being to stretch your back for instance. You could do this lying flat on the stomach and pushing your upper body in the air, with your hands flat on the bottom.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to warm up before doing these cardio exercises?
It’s a good idea to warm up before doing any type of cardio exercise. You can warm up by walking or jogging at a comfortable pace for a few minutes, or by performing some light stretching exercises.
What is the best way to cool down after doing these cardio exercises?
Doing a lower impact cardio-exercise for a five minutes as an example. Afterwards doing some stretching, especially important here are the muscles that you worked on. A similar approach as the warm up.
What are the benefits of doing cardio exercises?
The benefits of doing cardio workouts include improved overall fitness, cardio endurance, and even strength. Cardio exercises can also help improve your mood and reduce stress levels. It will help straighten your posture as well. These are just a few examples of the many benefits which cardio exercises and working out regularly in general is providing.
What are the benefits of doing cardio exercises at home?
The benefits of doing cardio workouts at home include convenience, privacy, and affordability. You can also tailor your routine to fit your own needs and abilities, which is great for beginners. Additionally, many people find that they have more energy and focus when working out at home.
What should I do if I’m a beginner?
If you’re a beginner, start by doing some basic cardio exercises such as walking or jogging. You can also try performing some of the easier exercises listed in this article, such as the ab-workouts and some jogging followed by stretching. As you get more comfortable, you can add more challenging exercises to your routine.
What should I do if I’m an advanced athlete?
If you’re an advanced athlete, change up your workout routine frequently. Try to challenge yourself and give your body new stimuli by new exercises or increased difficulty of your current routine. This will assure that you will not get to comfortable and keep on increasing your fitness-level.
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