Good Cardio Workouts at Home

Laura Williams, M.S.Ed.
Woman exercising

Getting an excellent cardio workout doesn't necessarily mean going to the gym or running a marathon. There are plenty of cardio activities you can do right in the comfort of your own home, and many of them require little to no equipment.

Cardio Workouts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should get 2.5 hours of moderate cardio exercise a week, or half that amount of time in intense cardio exercise each week. How you divide the exercise time is less important than meeting the required amount of time.

Aerobic Activities at Home

Today's exercisers have many choices in how they do their cardio workouts with the variety of exercise machines, aerobic activities and exercise videos available. The following home-based cardio ideas provide a good cardio workout while also aiming to keep exercise fun.

Hula Hooping

Some of the best workout routines are the least expensive and the most fun. As long as you have a room with about six feet of free space, you can hula hoop your way to health. Hula hooping has become a fitness craze, with gyms and fitness centers now offering hooping classes. You can get the same workout at home by simply buying an inexpensive hoop and swiveling your hips as long as you can to keep the hoop moving. This is a relatively low-impact form of exercise, so there's little risk of injury. If you're just starting out, you may want to purchase a hooping DVD to take you through a workout. The important thing to remember is that even if you have a hard time keeping the hoop going, just keep moving your body - dance, jog in place, jump through the hoop, place it on the ground and jump in and out of it. Use your hula hoop as an exercise tool, aiming for roughly 30 minutes of exercise each time you play.

Jumping Rope

Like hula hooping, jumping rope is a fun form of exercise that will take you back to the playground. If you're an avid exerciser looking for a way to squeeze in workouts when you can't make it to the gym, jumping rope may be the perfect home-based aerobic workout for you. Jumping rope is a high impact, high intensity form of cardio that will get your heart pumping fast. Allow yourself to ease into it by performing interval training - jump for a minute, then rest for a minute, continuing the cycle for 10 to 20 minutes. Due to the stress that jumping rope can place on your joints, make sure you listen to your body and stop or rest when you need to.

Video Game Systems

The world has certainly advanced when it comes to exercise technology, so it's high time that you put it to use. Consider investing in a Wii Fit or Xbox Kinect gaming system to enhance your daily aerobic activity. The Xbox Kinect particularly promotes physical activity as you have to run, jump and slide your way through video game mazes. You'll be having so much fun that you may not even realize how hard you're working. You can also purchase video games that focus on activities that you may really enjoy. For instance, the XBox and Wii both offer a Zumba game as well as The Biggest Loser fitness games. When an activity feels like it's fun, you'll be more likely to participate.

Other Cardio Workout Ideas

Equipment-Free Cardio

Equipment-free cardio involves activities that can be done with just a pair of workout shoes. While any of these can be done without instruction, it may be beneficial to purchase exercise DVDs to take you through the motions and ensure proper form. Popular options include:

  • Dancing
  • Aerobics/Jazzercise
  • Aerobic Striptease
  • Belly dancing
  • Stair climbing
  • Swimming or aquatic exercise if you have a pool
  • Kickboxing
  • TaeBo
  • Walking
  • Jogging/Running

Remember that a cardio exercise session should include a warm-up and cool-down, followed by stretching.

Exercise Machines and Tools

You always have the option to purchase residential cardio equipment to enhance your home-based workout. Options include:

  • Elliptical machines
  • Treadmills
  • Stair steppers
  • Rowing machines
  • Stationary bicycles
  • Rebounders and mini trampolines
  • Step platforms

Convenient Cardio

Anyone who isn't comfortable in a gym setting can benefit from finding top-notch cardio options for at-home use. Working out at home also saves travel time and packing and unpacking a gym bag. Whether you invest in a machine, a few DVDs or simply start running stairs and jumping rope, exercising at home is as convenient as it is good for you.

Good Cardio Workouts at Home