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Top home cardio exercises

There are many cardio exercises a person can do to reach or maintain a moderate body weight or improve their health. Before any exercise, a person should take time to warm up their muscles to reduce the risk of injury.

All recommended exercises in this section are guidelines only. A person wanting to start any new exercise should do so gently and at their own pace.

Once a person becomes familiar with a form of cardio exercise, they can try to increase the intensity, volume, duration, resistance, or technique to make the exercise more challenging.

Jump rope

Jump rope is an effective form of cardio exercise. Jumping rope strengthens calf muscles and improves the elasticity of surrounding tendons and connective tissue. Jump rope also uses the arm muscles, as well as the muscles of the abdomen.

Instructions

  1. Lightly grip the handles of the jump rope.
  2. Relax the shoulders and keep the elbows close to the torso.
  3. Gently bend the knees.
  4. Rotate the rope from the wrist and keep a smooth arc as the rope passes overhead.
  5. Jump low to reduce impact on the knees and ankles.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend 15 minutes Trusted Source of jump rope exercises as part of a person’s daily moderate intensity exercise.

Jumping jacks

Jumping jacks involve the entire body and are a good way to work the heart, lungs, and muscles in one exercise.

Instructions

  1. Standing straight, spread the arms to the sides and the legs wide apart.
  2. Jump, returning the arms to the sides of the body, and the legs to the midline.
  3. Jump again, extending the arms and legs out.
  4. Repeat.

Burpees

Burpees are an intense exercise, as they use the arms, legs, and core.

Instructions

  1. Stand upright.
  2. Squat, placing the hands on the ground.
  3. Jump the legs back so they are straight.
  4. Jump the legs to return into the squat position.
  5. Stand up.
  6. Jump in place.
  7. Repeat.

Running in place

When running in place, a person moves their body as if they were running, but they stay in one spot.

A 2015 study Trusted Source found that running in place can reduce muscle fatigue, improve aerobic exercise ability, and strengthen muscles. Researchers also note that it improved flexibility, gait, and lumbar stability.

Running in place can be part of an interval workout. This is where a person completes repetitions of different exercises in a set time. An example of an interval workout that includes running in place is the following:

  1. Run in place for 2 minutes.
  2. Increase speed for 1 minute.
  3. Rest for 1 minute.
  4. Jog in place for 3 minutes.
  5. Rest for 1 minute.

Squat jumps

Squat jumps involve the same movements as a regular squat, with the addition of a jump. Squat jumps target the buttocks, thighs, and hamstrings. Squats also help increase flexibility of the knee, hip, and ankle joints.

Instructions

  1. Stand with the feet apart and the arms along the sides of the body.
  2. Squat until the knees are at a 90-degree angle, swinging the arms back.
  3. Swing arms forward and jump.
  4. Land and repeat.

High intensity interval training (HIIT)

HIIT is a series of workouts that involve short high intensity bursts, broken up by lower intensity recovery periods. HIIT training uses the body’s energy reserves, increasing metabolism and calories burned.

According to the American Council on Exercise, a person should do 1 minute of high intensity exercise for every 2 or 3 minutes of recovery. At home, a person may choose to do intense exercises, such as sprinting or burpees, followed by gentle jogging on the spot.

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