Simple At-Home Cardio Exercises To Get That Heart Rate Up!

Contrary to popular belief, there is no need for a pricey gym membership. There are easy at-home cardio exercises people can do — and they don’t include running around the block!

From jumping lunges to utilizing those stairs for more than walking to bed, here are some easy at-home cardio moves to get that heart rate up.

Stationary Knee-Lifts

Stationary knee-lifts is a beginner exercise that involves lifting one knee at a time while standing still in one spot.

Knee lift exercise
Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels
Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels

This exercise can be done seated or using the bottom step of a staircase if there are balance issues. Raise the knees higher and go a bit faster to increase the intensity.

Single Leg Stand

Single leg stands begin with the feet together or inches apart. With the knees slightly bent, lift one leg to a comfortable height off the floor.

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Kaylee Garrett/Unsplash
Kaylee Garrett/Unsplash

Hold that position for no more than 20 seconds before putting the foot back down. Repeat the steps for the opposite leg.

Jogging In Place

Bounce lightly from one foot to the other to execute this exercise. Swing the arms from side to side while bouncing.

Jogging in place
Dominika Roseclay/Pexels
Dominika Roseclay/Pexels

Jogging in place can be done as a warm-up before any workout. Jogging increases the heart rate, and the intensity raises with higher speed levels. It is a simple exercise that has people sweating in no time.

Skipping Without A Rope

Proper execution of this exercise involves jumping up and down with the feet together while swinging the arms in a circular motion as if you’re holding a jump rope.

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Dylan Nolte/Unsplash
Dylan Nolte/Unsplash

Skipping without the rope is less intense than with one and provides an alternative to jogging in place. Skipping can be incorporated with a warm-up routine.

Dancing (Like No One Is Watching!)

Dancing is fun and burns calories at the same time. Find a suitable area to dance, preferably an open space, and select music that matches the desired intensity.

people dancing
Rodnae Productions/Pexels
Rodnae Productions/Pexels

The focus of this exercise should be on moving the arms and legs simultaneously and not on what type of dance is being done.

Arm Circles

Regardless of a person’s intensity or skill level, this exercise is a good option since arm circles can be done seated or while standing up.

Arm circle exercise
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

In a circular motion, rotate the arms both clockwise and counterclockwise. People with limited arm mobility can still do arm circles by extending their arms further and making smaller circles.

Jumping Jacks

The nice thing about jumping jacks is they can be done almost anywhere. Start with arms down at the side and the feet hip-width apart.

Jumping jacks
Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels
Pavel Danilyuk/Pexels

Jump with the feet apart while raising the arms to the sides straight in the air. Jump back to starting position bringing the arms back into the body.

Snow Angels While Lying Down

Making snow angels or windshield wipers works many areas of the body. Start by lying flat on the back, keeping the feet flat.

Snow Angels
Vlad Chetan/Pexels
Vlad Chetan/Pexels

Place the lower back on the floor while tucking in the pelvis. Slightly bend the hands and raise them towards the head and back down to the starting position.

Squat Jumping

Squat jumps start by standing with the feet hip-width apart and arms at the sides. Bend with the knees into a squat position.

squat jumping
Cottonbro/Pexels
Cottonbro/Pexels

Jump in the air and extend the hips until the body is straight, landing on the feet with soft knees to protect the spine. Use different arm movements repetitively for increased difficulty.

Skipping With A Rope

Adding a rope to skipping instantly increases the intensity level from beginner to intermediate.

Kids skipping rope
Rodnae Productions/Pexels
Rodnae Productions/Pexels

The next way to ramp up this exercise is to alternate between jumping with both feet or from one foot to the other. Boxers vary the arm movements and positions as an advanced skipping routine.

Squat to Front Kick

To perform a squat to a front kick, begin with the feet hip-width apart and arms down at the body’s sides. Squat down while bending at the knees.

Squat exercise
Ivan Samkov/Pexels
Ivan Samkov/Pexels

While returning to a standing position, kick the leg forward and then repeat the steps kicking with the other leg. Squat to front kick immediately challenges the person’s balance, increasing core strength along with legs.

Trunk Twists

Trunk twists are an excellent cardio and core workout. Hold the arms at shoulder height and twist in a side-to-side motion from the torso, getting the core in.

Fitness class
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels
Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Performing the twists while holding heavy objects at chest height, such as weights, kettlebells, or an exercise ball, will increase the difficulty.

Jumping Lunges

Jumping or “Screamer” lunges are done by standing with feet hip-width apart. Extend the right leg back to a lunge position.

Women demonstrating lunge
Mart Production/Pexels
Mart Production/Pexels

Push off with the right foot lifting the right knee hip high. Return to a standing position and try ten lunges, then repeat using the left leg.

Stair Climbing

For most people, climbing stairs is an exercise performed daily. There is no need to leave the house or yard for a gym! Whether it is an indoor or outdoor staircase, simply start at the bottom step and step up at least two stairs at a time.

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Ruffa Jane Reyes/Unsplash
Ruffa Jane Reyes/Unsplash

Intensify the workout by running faster or with dumbbells.

Lateral Shuffles

Proper lateral shuffles are typically a warm-up routine for football players or speed-skaters, as it gets their hips moving and their legs warm.

Shuffling exercise
Shvets Production/Pexels
Shvets Production/Pexels

Starting at one end of the room while slightly squatting, shuffle with the feet coming together before shuffling out and forward again. Increased speed and squat depth intensify this workout, as well as using a resistance band.

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers are for advanced athletes and workouts. Start in a pushup position with the right leg extended backward and the left leg near the chest with toes on the ground.

People exercising
Mikhail Nilov/Pexels
Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

With the hands on the ground, hips level, switch the positions of the legs quickly. Continue alternating legs.

Burpees

To execute a burpee, start the body in a pushup position. Push off the balls of the feet, bringing the knees into the chest, landing in a squat.

Burpees exercise
Elina Fairytale/Pexels
Elina Fairytale/Pexels

Jump from the squat, raising the hands up and gently landing back into a squat. Put the hands on the floor underneath the shoulders.

Burpees (Continued)

With the hands still on the floor, explode the legs back into the starting position of the burpees.

Burpees position
Jeshoots/Pexels
Jeshoots/Pexels

Burpees are an advanced total body exercise and an excellent way for people to improve their cardiovascular system. Someone seeking an increased level of intensity can push up using a Bosu ball.

Bear Crawling

The full-body exercise called bear crawls begins in the pushup position with the hands shoulder-width apart and stacked underneath the wrists and shoulders.

Bear crawl workout
Yan Krukov/Pexels
Yan Krukov/Pexels

Keep the knees off the ground and bent while crawling forward by alternating both leg and arm movements. With a straight back, also keep the hips and shoulders at the same height.

Inchworms

While standing, reach down briefly, touching the toes before walking the hands into a pushup position.

Bear crawl exercise
Anastasia Shuraeva/Pexels
Anastasia Shuraeva/Pexels

Do a pushup, walk the feet toward the hands, lifting the hips up like the downward dog yoga position. Before walking the hands back to a pushup, closely inch the feet towards the hands.

Squat Jumping

For a squat jump, start standing with the feet at least hip-width apart. Sit down back into a squat as low as possible with the heels down.

Squat jump
Cottonbro/Pexels
Cottonbro/Pexels

Swing the hands back while squatting. Then while exploding up out of the squat, reach the hands overhead before landing back in a squat.

Roller Skating or Rollerblading

Most people cannot rollerblade or roller skate inside the house but can do so safely on their streets, sidewalks, or neighborhood paths.

Roller skates
Shvets Production/Pexels
Shvets Production/Pexels

Skating with inline skates or roller skates both assist in the improvement of the body’s balance, core, and leg strength. Inline skates wheel alignment helps to ease ankle pressure.

Towel Taz

The Towel Taz exercise requires a bath towel or bedsheet as the only prop. This drill is a full-body cardio workout that works the shoulders, core, and legs.

workout towel
Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels
Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

The goal is to move as quickly as possible in every direction while shaking the towel or sheet hard and quickly.

Modified Push-Ups

Push-ups alone might not be enough of a cardio workout, but it is a great strength exercise that increases the heart rate. While push-ups do increase upper body strength, they can be an excellent way to speed up cardio levels and increase core strength.

Man doing push ups
Keiji Yoshiki/Pexels
Keiji Yoshiki/Pexels

Adding an explosive movement in and out of the push-up can advance the exercise.

Box Jumps

Box jumps can be done inside or outside of the house. Performing a box jump is similar to the standing leg jump in track and field.

Box jump exercise
Li-sun/Pexels
Li-sun/Pexels

With the feet shoulder-width apart and arms to the sides, squat down and then explode up and land on the second step, box, or any other prop that is able to hold your bodyweight.

Box Shuffles

Stand facing forward beside the bench or whatever is being used. Place the foot next to the box on top of it.

Olympic training
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Squat down and jump up and over the box, landing on the other foot. Once over the box, explode and land on the other foot.

Butt Flicks/Kicks

This is an exercise for beginners or for injury-recovery purposes. Alternatively, flick or kick the legs backwards to touch the backside from a standing position.

Kids jumping
Yuri Manel/Pexels
Yuri Manel/Pexels

Anyone dealing with tight quadriceps (a muscle in the thigh) will instantly notice a slight stretching of the thighs. Butt kicks are a great warm-up exercise.

Donkey Kicks

To perform a donkey kick, first, go down to all fours on the floor, and have the palms facing down at the sides. Push through your heels while inhaling, raising your butt and back off the ground.

Women stretching
Klaus Nielson/Pexels
Klaus Nielson/Pexels

Squeeze glutes at the top, slowly lowering the back to the ground. Repeat as necessary.

Scissor Kicks

Begin the exercise in a standing position. Kick one leg quickly out in front and then follow it with the other leg.

scissor kicks
Anna Tarazevich/Pexels
Anna Tarazevich/Pexels

Keep bouncing from one leg to the other while continuing to kick the legs out in front. It’s important to remember not to lean back too far.

Squat Thrusts

Squat thrusts are an advanced option for the fast mountain climber exercise. Keep both legs together instead of jumping and alternating legs.

Man jumping
Ricardo Esquivel/Pexels
Ricardo Esquivel/Pexels

Make sure to have both feet together and knees between the elbows while jumping forward. Brace the core muscles while jumping back without sagging the hips.