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5 Simple and Effective Cardio Workouts You Can Do at Home

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

Cardio workouts are one of the best ways to get in shape, but they're also tricky to do at home because traditional cardio machines are expensive, bulky, and hard to move into a small home or apartment.

The good news? You don't need expensive cardio equipment to get a heart-pumping cardiovascular workout. There are many ways to get your heart rate up and burn calories without leaving the comfort of your home.

Here are five cardio moves you can do at home with little or no equipment. Get ready to sweat and get results without traveling to a gym or stepping outside your front door.

1. Jumping Jacks

Who needs cardio machines when you can copy the man who invented the best exercise ever-- Jumping Jacks. It was John J. Pershing, a U.S. general, who developed this exercise and made it popular. Interestingly, it was an exercise used to "punish" a student at West Point. If better fitness is a punishment, jumping Jacks accomplish their mission.

You might have done them in gym class as a child, but that doesn't mean they aren't worthwhile for adults. Jumping Jacks will increase your heart rate, burn calories, strengthen your leg muscles, boost flexibility and improve your balance. So, the benefits extend beyond cardio; they're a whole-body workout.

2. Jumping Rope

Remember how much fun rope jumping was during childhood? It's no secret that jumping rope is one of the best exercises for both the heart and lungs. When you jump rope, you get a cardio workout while burning calories and body fat.

But jumping rope offers so much more. If you jump at a rapid rate, you'll build explosive speed, coordination, and agility. According to the American Council on Exercise, jumping rope improves the elasticity of tendons in the lower leg.

Jumping rope is a popular way for boxers to stay in tip-top physical shape too. But you don't have to be a boxer or choreographer to reap the benefits of skipping the rope. It's a terrific workout for your entire body, and will help you be more coordinated and agile.

Plus, it's a fun way to boost your heart rate and improve your stamina. Try playing music while you jump. The only thing you need to start is a jump rope and your own two feet.

3. Burpees

Doing a few sets of burpees is an effective way to get your heart rate up and burn calories and fat. It's a simple, no-equipment full-body exercise you can do virtually anywhere at anytime, since no equipment is required.

Are you familiar with how to do one? Start with your feet together, your hands on the ground, and your body in an upright position. Then drop your hands to the ground, jump your feet back into a plank, do a push up, then jump into the air and clap your hands. Keep repeating and feel your heart rate rise. Try to increase the number you can do over time.

4. Aerobic Circuit Training

Aerobic circuit training is an exercise structure that offers lots of variety and the ability to get an effective workout in a short period. It's based on the principle of performing exercises in succession, with little or no recovery time between sets.

Along with providing a high-intensity workout in a short period, aerobic circuit training workouts burn fat and condition your heart. Because you don't need equipment, they're a terrific way to exercise at home or in a hotel room when traveling.

The exercises you choose for your circuits can be ones where you use your own body weight, like push-ups, abdominal crunches, jumping jacks, running in place, kicks, punches, burpees, mountain climbers, body weight squats, and more. By choosing a variety of exercises, you'll be challenged and won't get bored.

5. Climb the Stairs

Do you have a flight or two of stairs in your home? Stair climbing works your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and hip flexors. You also engage your core to stabilize your body. Climbing stairs is also an endurance activity that builds stamina. Plus, it's easier on your joints to climb stairs than run long distances. Don't just climb stairs at home for a workout, skip the elevator everywhere you go. It all counts as exercise!

You Can Do Cardio At Home

You can get a terrific cardio workout at home without a gym membership, so why spend money on a gym or take the time to drive to one? When you get the job done at home, you won't have to deal with waiting for equipment or be around people if you prefer the solitary aspects of working out. Enjoy your home workouts!


  • "Benefits of Taking the Stairs | Human Resources."
  • "Aerobic Circuit Training | Physical Education Program."
  • "Benefits of Jumping Rope: 7 Reasons to Start Jumping - ACE." 27 Apr. 2017,

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.