When it comes to weight loss most of us can agree that we often think that going to the gym is the best way to tackle this problem. While there is nothing wrong working out at a gym, more often than not, this option can be tricky for a number of options. For example, most people cannot afford the expensive membership fees, some people live too far away from a well outfitted gym and in some cases many find it difficult to find time to make it to the gym due to various reasons.
This is where aerobic exercises at home come in. Such workouts can be easily done in your house (or around your neighbourhood) and will give you the same results as gym workouts would at a lesser cost and with more convenience. If this sounds like something you would be interested to learn more about, read and let us give you a list of aerobic exercises to do at home, tell you of their benefits, and much more.
What Is Aerobic Exercise?
According to The American College of Sports Medicine this is any activity that is rhythmic in nature, can be maintained continuously and uses large muscle groups, and relies on aerobic metabolism (aka oxygen) to extract energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from amino acids, carbohydrates and fatty acids (1).
In layman’s language, aerobic exercise – also known as cardio – is a type of repetitive activity that requires pumping oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles. This type of activity also increases your heart rate, blood flow and breathing rate.
What Are The Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise?
According to the World Health Organization, lack of physical activity is now seen as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. The United Nations agency goes further to state that everyone from that age of 5 should be sure to get in some physical activity throughout the week. One of the easiest ways to do this is by doing some easy aerobic exercises at home.
So other than fulfilling the WHO recommendations for better health, does doing cardio give you any benefits? Yes, it does and some of them are as follows:
1. More Blood Pumped To Your Body
Unlike what many people may think, the heart is neither a muscle or an organ but rather it is a muscular organ that is largely made up of cardiac muscles that help it beat and pump blood throughout your body.These muscles in your heart work like any other and the more you train them, the bigger and stronger they get. The more cardio you do, the bigger and stronger your heart gets which allows it to pump more blood to the rest of your body with each beat.
2. Improved Heart Health
A stronger heart reduces your risk of tachycardia – aka a rapid heart beat. According to the MayoClinic, having a rapid heart beat can disrupt normal heart function which leads to serious complications, such as heart failure, stroke, and sudden cardiac arrest or death. Strengthening your heart through aerobic exercises means fewer beats per minute and greater stroke efficiency (more blood pumped per beat) which not only keeps your heart healthy but is also quite efficient and reduces your risk of heart disease.
3. Improved Immunity
According to runnersworld.com, exercising increases the exchange of white blood cells between peripheral tissues and the circulation of blood and lymphatic vessels. This in turn increases the activity of immune cells in the bloodstream looking for viruses. Doing aerobic exercises at home also helps with your immunity by strengthening anti-bodies as well as reducing stress hormones and inflammation.
4. Increases HDL Or “Good” Cholesterol
Unlike common belief, not all cholesterol is bad for you. LDL (or low-density lipoprotein) is the bad and dangerous kind that raises your risk for heart disease and stroke. HDL cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein – on the other hand is the ‘good’ kind that absorbs cholesterol from the body and carries it back to the liver where it is then flushed out of our system effectively lowering the risk of the above-mentioned illnesses.
Throughout the years, several studies have shown that working out leads to the increase of HDL cholesterol which is good for our health.
- 2002 – A study by The New England Journal of Medicine showed that increasing the amount of physical activity done by overweight men and women with abnormally elevated cholesterol or fats in the blood had great effects in their lipoprotein profile (5).
- 2003 – A study by Lipids in Health and Disease showed that women who worked out had higher HDL cholesterol levels than those who led a sedentary lifestyle (9).
- 2007 – A review by the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that regular aerobic exercise modestly increases levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (4).
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5. Improve Blood Sugar Control
According to the American Diabetes Association, exercising can lower your blood sugar up to 24 hours or more after your workout by making your body more sensitive to insulin. WebMD further states that when you do aerobic exercises, your muscles use more glucose – the sugar in your blood – which in turn lowers how much sugar is circulating in you. If you make a habit of doing aerobic exercises at home, with time, you can lower your blood sugar levels making the insulin in your body work better.
6. Improved Lung Function And Capacity
According to The American Lung Association, aerobic exercises are good for the lungs because just like the heart, lungs have to work harder to supply oxygen to the body and muscles. While you are at rest, you usually intake about 12 liters of air per minute – an average of 15 breaths/minute, however, when you’re working out breathing increases to anywhere between 40 to 60 times a minute and you intake about 100 liters of air. Having a list of aerobics exercises to do at home – and regularly doing them, helps increase your breathing reserve, and will rarely feel short of breath while working out (12).
7. Can Boost Your Mood
A study published in 2018 by The Lancet Psychiatry showed that while all forms of exercise can improve your mood, research participants who engaged in aerobic exercises showed the best results in improved moods (2).
8. Reduces The Risk Of Anxiety And Depression
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America exercise helps do this by helping the brain cope better with stress (7).
9. Improved Bone Density
For older adults and those suffering from osteoarthritis or other rheumatic conditions, doing aerobics exercises at home can help increase bone density which lowers their risk of fractures.
10. Improves Brain Health
Not only can cardio exercises decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia but it can also help combat the changes in the brain associated with such illnesses.
11. Weight Loss
Doing aerobic exercises at home and eating a healthy diet will help you burn calories and shed excess weight. Doing this will also help tone your muscles, improve your posture, and balance.
Participating in aerobic exercises at home will lead to decreased fatigue, improved sleep (11), and will improve your quality of life.
What Are Some Aerobic Exercises To Do At Home?
If you are wondering what are some examples of aerobic exercises to do at home for weight loss and better health, the list is endless. Here are some top cardio workouts that can be done in the comfort of your home with little to no equipment.
Walking In Place
Walking is one of the most recommended cardio workouts that has been known to not only help with weight loss, but to also have incredible health benefits. However, walking often demands going outside and on some days this can be hard to do – either due to bad weather or a full schedule.
This is where walking in place comes in. While it might seem odd, research has shown that it works quite well and burns quite the number of calories. A study published in 2012 by the journal of Medicine & Science in Sport & Exercise showed that stepping/walking in place can burn anywhere between 258 to 334 calories.
Walking in place during TV commercial breaks is also a good idea. The same study revealed that one hour of TV commercial stepping resulted in participants taking up to 2,364 steps and burning almost 190 calories (6).
When it comes to good aerobic exercises to do at home, skipping quickly takes over most types of aerobic workouts. The best part about it is that you do not need any kind of fancy equipment. While some may prefer to invest in weighted ropes for the extra challenge, skipping can be done with literally any kind of rope you can find – or none if you choose to mimic the jump rope motion.
Not only is jumping rope one of the easiest examples of aerobic workouts to do at home, but it is also among some of the safest for your knee joints. In a 2019 comparative study by the Gait and Posture journal, researchers found that when compared to running, not only does jumping rope put less pressure/force on the lower tibio-femoral and patello-femoral joints but it also burns 30 percent more calories (10).
If you are wondering what are some examples of aerobic exercise to do in the house and without equipment, jumping jacks are one of the best options for you. They are a great full-body cardiovascular exercise that do not only burn calories, but also increase your heart rate and improve muscular strength and endurance.
If you live in an apartment building or your house has a flight of stairs, then you automatically have a tool for one of the easiest aerobic exercises that can be done at home. Instead of paying for the gym to go use the star master, get up from your desk and walk up and down the flight of stairs during your break.
If you have work calls that you need to make or even emails to answer, try making/writing them as you climb several flights. It is a good way to get your heart pumping, blood pumping and burn some extra calories. According to verywellfit.com, stair climbing can burn anywhere between 5 to 19 calories per minute depending on the amount of effort used – i.e. walking slowly vs running.
Many people may not consider dancing as a form of aerobic exercises to do at home, but it is indeed a fun form of cardio that can be done mindlessly and as a substitute for anyone who does not like other aerobic workout options such as running, skipping or walking. According to active.com, a person can burn anywhere between 200 and 400 calories within 30 minutes – this largely depends on your weight and style of dancing.
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When it comes to a list of aerobic exercises to do at home, running is almost always at the top of the list. With good running shoes and a good playlist or podcast, you can improve heart health, burn fat and calories, and lift your mood in just 30 minutes.
Please note to always run in populated, well-lit areas, stay away from busy roads and if you will be listening to something as you run, keep the volume low, or better yet, only use one earphone and be safe.
While walking in place is a good way to exercise at home, walking outside can be better for you. If your neighbourhood is safe and you can spare the 30 minutes to an hour needed for this aerobic exercise, put on your walking shoes and head on outside.
Like walking in place, walking outside is good for your heart, lungs, bone health, and your mood. Walking outside also beats staying in the house and walking in place as it may burn more calories – depending on your terrain and how fast you walk, allows you to get some time out in the sun and in nature which is very good for your mental health (8).
Aerobic Exercises To Do At Home For Intermediate And Advanced Trainers
It is no secret that the above-mentioned aerobic exercises are good for anyone, be it a beginner to working out or a seasoned bodybuilder. However, despite this, some people want to have some more intensity and challenge to their aerobic exercises at home routine.
If this sounds like something you are looking for, you can combine the following full-body cardio workouts with the above-mentioned exercises. Some high intensity aerobic exercises to do at home include burpees, inchworm crawls, mountain climbers, box/stair jumps, bear crawls, lunge jumps and more.
Water Aerobic At Home Exercises For Weight Loss And Improved Health
If you have a pool at home, or in your building you can get a simple yet very effective workout from it and boost your strength, endurance and flexibility. Some of these poll exercises include
- Swimming laps – This is the most obvious pool aerobic exercise at home workout that you can do. According to Harvard Medical School, swimming in general burns anywhere between 180 to 252 calories (depending on how much you weigh) while swimming laps vigorously ups this to 300 to 420 calories in just 30 minutes (3).
- Walking in water – If you cannot swim then walking in water is your next best option – just be sure to stay safe by sticking to the shallower end of the pool and holding on the pool railing. The resistance provided by the water provides you with a full body workout.
- Jumping jacks – Doing jumping jacks in the water in a good example of very effective aerobic exercises at home. The extra resistance added by the water gives you a great upper and lower body workout. You can add wrist and ankle weights to make the workout even harder.
Other water aerobic workouts that can be done at home include flutter kicks, pool planks, running in place and much more.
The Bottom Line
Aerobic exercises at home are a good way to keep fit and improve your health. All you need to do is figure out how to add them to your daily routine and you will be good to go. Remember that just as with gym workouts these at home aerobic exercises require, time, dedication, patience, and a healthy diet to show results. As long as you keep this in mind, you will achieve your goal in no time.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study (2018, thelancet.com)
- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2021, health.harvard.edu)
- Effect of aerobic exercise training on serum levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol: a meta-analysis (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of the Amount and Intensity of Exercise on Plasma Lipoproteins (2002, nejm.org)
- Energy Cost of Stepping in Place while Watching Television Commercials (2012, journals.lww.com)
- Exercise for Stress and Anxiety (n.d., adaa.org)
- How can nature benefit my mental health? (n.d., mind.org.uk)
- Physical activity, high density lipoprotein cholesterol and other lipids levels, in men and women from the ATTICA study (2003, ipidworld.biomedcentral.com)
- Skipping has lower knee joint contact forces and higher metabolic cost compared to running (2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Best Exercises for Sleep (2021, sleepfoundation.org)
- Your lungs and exercise (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)