Cardio exercises are not always about cycling, running, or swimming. In principle, these are some of the best ways to get your heart revved up, boosting blood circulation in your body. So why is cardio not always about the “golden three exercises” if they’re that good at their jobs?
Simple. Not everyone enjoys outdoor activities. Who says you have to go out to experience the benefits of cardio? There is no universal approach to cardio. This means you can easily incorporate them into your daily workout routines at home! How exactly, you might ask? Let’s find out.
What Are The Benefits Of Cardio?
First, let’s look at why you need cardio as part of your workout routine. Cardio is essentially defined as exercises that get your heart rate up and keep it that way for a while. Remember the ‘golden three’?
Your respiratory system will then work harder when you take deep and fast breaths. This creates a domino where your blood vessels expand, bringing more oxygen to your muscles. Your body will also release endorphins, which are natural painkillers, during the whole process.
So how does cardio affect your health on both a physical and mental level?
Cardio Helps You Manage Your Weight
Managing your weight is not always about losing weight. Sometimes, it is about maintaining it. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), cardio can help you do that. They say there’s vast scientific proof that 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio weekly helps you maintain your weight over time.
Cardio Reduces The Risk Of Heart Diseases
Here’s how serious heart problems are: According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 31% of global deaths in 2012. This research shows that you reduce the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases whenever you get your heart rate up.
Cardio Can Improve Your Mood
If you’re a frequent cardio person, then this is not a surprise to you. Usually, after cardio exercises, you feel generally happy. Studies imply that this is mainly due to the feel-good hormones called endorphins produced during cardio workouts (1).
Now there are numerous cardiovascular endurance exercises out there that you can try out. However, what are some cardiovascular exercises you can comfortably do at home? Keep reading to find out.
Read More: Cardio Workouts: Benefits, Frequency, And Exercises
13 Cardiovascular Endurance Exercises To Do At Home
Is it possible to do cardiovascular endurance exercises at home and get the same results as going to the gym? Well, it certainly is. Cardio is not about where you do the exercise; instead, it’s all about how you do it.
The key to any successful workout session at home is thinking outside the box. All you have to do is find an exercise that you love, and fun will come with it. Also, you’ll be improving your health while you’re at it. Here are some cardiovascular endurance exercises examples you can do at home:
If you’ve been wondering what exercises increase cardiovascular endurance in beginners, this is it. See, high knees are all about running in place. You can therefore do it at home with much ease while reaping similar benefits to someone running outside. Here are steps you can follow for a successful high knee workout session:
- Put your arms at your sides while standing with your legs together.
- Lift a knee toward your chest, then lower your leg. Next, switch to the other knee.
- Continue alternating your knees and pump your arms up and down.
Simply put, butt kicks are opposites of high knees. In but kicks, you don’t lift your knees. However, you raise your heels toward your butt. Here are some steps you can follow when doing butt kicks:
- Out your arms, at your sides, while standing with your legs together.
- Lift one heel toward your butt while lowering the other. Repeat this with the other heel.
- Continue this motion while alternating your meals and pumping your arms for a successful session.
Being new to a workout routine can be confusing. It’s okay to ask yourself questions from time to time about how to go about the exercise. In this case, you’re probably wondering what exercises will improve cardiovascular endurance for beginners without taking a toll on you.
Toe taps may be just the thing that you’re looking for. These exercises are easy, low-impact workouts that you can do on a curb or the lowest step of a staircase. Interesting right? Here’s how to get started:
- Stand in front of a step or curb. Rest one of your feet on top of it, with your toes facing downward.
- Switch your legs, bringing the other foot on top of the step in one quick motion. Continue changing your feet like this throughout the movement.
- Try moving left or right during the toe taps once you start getting used to the movement. Doing this will add an extra challenge to your workout.
If you’re looking for a full-body workout, then jumping jacks is your go-to exercise. This is a classic exercise that will get your heart rate revved up while working on your entire body. Here are some guidelines to get you started:
- Put your arms at your sides and make sure you’re standing with your legs together.
- Bend your knees moderately, then jump while spreading your legs. It’s important to note that your legs should be wider than your shoulder width during these movements. Also, you should lift your arms over your head.
- Finally, jump to the center and repeat.
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As the name suggests, this exercise is all about imitating how skaters move. You can add a jump when you move to the sides for some extra challenge. Here’s how you can get started:
- Your starting position should be a curtsy lunge. That means that both your knees should be bent and your right leg positioned diagonally behind you. You should also bend your right arm and keep your left arm straightened.
- Next, push your left leg and move your right leg forward. Follow this with switching arms while bringing your left leg diagonally behind you.
- Continue alternating these movements between your right and left sides for the required number of reps.
If you want to have fun while getting your blood flowing, then this is it. Additionally, crab walks will work on your back, core, and legs while strengthening your upper arms. To do a crab walk:
- Bend your knees and put your feet flat while sitting on the floor. Next, put your hands on the floor, under your shoulder, with your fingers pointing forward.
- Carry your hips off the floor. Start “walking” backward using your arms and legs. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between your legs and arms.
- Walk backward for the target distance. Simple, right?
This is one of the most ideal low-impact cardio exercises for beginners. If you’re a novice and you’re wondering what exercises can help with cardiovascular endurance, then you should try this workout.
When you lift your knees, you engage the core muscles of your sides. Here are the steps that you should follow:
- Your starting position should be you lying on your back with your knees bent. Put your hand on the back of your head, making sure your elbows are pointing outward.
- Bending to the right, move your right elbow down and your right knee up.
- Go back to your starting position and repeat the process on your left side.
Lateral shuffles are some of the best exercises to improve cardiovascular endurance for both beginners and pros. They are a sure way of increasing your heart rate and improving your side-to-side coordination. To do lateral shuffles:
- Get into your starting position- feet hip-width apart with your knee and hips bent. Next, brace your core while leaning forward slightly.
- You should then lift your right foot while pushing off your left foot. Follow this by moving right while maintaining your form.
- Place your feet together while shuffling to the right.
- Repeat these steps to your left side for the required number of reps.
It’s also important to note that you should aim to work both sides evenly. To do this, shuffle right and left for the same amount of space.
With time, you will build up endurance and strength. When this happens, try adding these intermediate moves to bump up the intensity of your workouts.
Read More: What To Eat After Cardio: Refueling The Healthy Way
Lunge jumps are some of the best aerobic exercises to improve cardiovascular endurance for intermediate trainees. These routines are a combination of jumps and standard lunges that will get your heart pumping. Here’s how you do them:
- Bend both knees to 90 degrees to get you into your starting lung position. Make sure your feet are pointing forward.
- Pull your shoulders down while bracing your core and swinging your arms back.
- Next, jump and swing your arms upward while simultaneously switching your legs.
- Land in a lung and repeat for the required number of reps.
Standing Alternating Toe Touches
This is an excellent full-body cardio routine that will work your arms, core, and legs. Here’s how you get started:
- Get into your starting position- feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides. Next, brace your core.
- Lift your right leg up and concurrently raise your left hand, reaching for your right toes.
- Repeat this on your left leg and suitable for the required number of reps.
Squat jumps are high up the cardiovascular endurance exercises list and for a good reason too. When you do a regular squat, you’re performing a bodyweight exercise that targets your lower body. Adding a jump to the routine creates an explosive cardio workout that gets your heart pumping hard and fast. Here’s how you start doing squat jump:
- Get into your starting position- feet shoulder-width apart. Next, bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat.
- Swing your arms back and follow this with a quick upward swing of your arms and jump.
- Gently land back into a squat and repeat for the required number of reps.
You’ve been doing cardio for a while now, and things are getting monotonous. You’re now wondering what exercises improve cardiovascular endurance for intermediate trainees. You need the extra challenge. Well, box jumps can help you achieve this.
This exercise primarily targets your lower body muscles. This includes your glute, thigh, calf, and shin muscles. To do a box jump:
- Stand in front of a knee-high platform or box. Next, place your arms at your sides and your feet hip-width apart. Ensure that you’re engaging your core.
- Hinge forward at your hips while bending your knees. Your back should be flat during this process. Swing your arms up while jumping explosively onto the box.
- Land gently and slightly lean forward. Jump back off the box and repeat for the required number of reps.
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Have you ever thought of how a horizontal jumping jack will look like? Hint: Plank jacks. This routine forces your arms to support your body weight as you rapidly move your legs. Here’s how to safely do a plank jack:
- Get into a plank position- hands under your shoulder while keeping your body straight. Next, bring your feet together.
- Now jump while spreading your legs wider than your shoulder width.
- Jump back into a plank and repeat for the required number of reps.
Working out is an essential aspect of leading a healthy lifestyle. However, in modern life, everyone always seems to be running on a tight schedule. This has, in turn, necessitated the need for a more flexible and convenient approach towards working out.
Cardio exercises are great for your health- both on a mental and physical level. However, you don’t always have to hit the gym or go outdoors to get some cardio. All you need is a bit of creativity to start working out in the comfort of your house. So make sure you try out these workouts today.
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. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Exercise for Mental Health (2006, nih.gov)