I love the gym. I love challenging myself and upping the weights. I actually even like using exercise bikes and treadmills. However, I also like to believe that I am a very resourceful person. When the weather is too treacherous to leave the house or for those people who are not interested in spending their money on the gym, you need a good home cardio workout without equipment! As much as I love the gym, I can’t get there when there are two feet of snow in the D.C. area and everyone is being told to stay off of the icy roads.
Yoga and Pilates are great at stretching and working those underuti
lized muscles, but they don’t really do much for your cardiovascular health. Static poses and slow controlled movements don’t increase your heart rate very much. However, you can get a great cardio workout in at home with these exercises! They are designed to get your blood flowing and can be done from inside your home!
One or two flights of stairs is very comfortable for the average person, but if you start to increase your pace and add more flights to your workout, you will notice that
your heart rate increases rapidly. You’ll also be working your leg muscles. This is a great alternative to running when the weather doesn’t permit it.
If you are using the stairs in your home, make sure that you aren’t getting in anyone’s way and there are no toys left on the floor from kids that may trip you up! If you live in an apartment, remember apartment buildings often have stairs in addition to elevators, so make sure that you use those!
I love jumping jacks. They require you to move your legs in a sideways direction instead of simply forward and backwards. The arm motions will help to increase your heart rate quickly and you will discover that you have a challenging cardio exercise that you can do in your living room.
Doing jumping jacks takes me back to elementary school and lining up in squads while Eye of the Tiger plays in the background. It is a tried and true cardio exercise that
truly can be done anywhere!
In a push up position, you are going to bring one leg towards your chest and then quickly switch legs. This gives you a similar motion to running with the added intensity of working out your arms at the same time. It is very challenging!
You can start with 10-20 and build up your endurance. Add repetitions of this exercise as you get stronger.
This is perhaps one of the most challenging cardiovascular exercises that you can do. You start from a standing position. Then lower your body into a squat. Place your hands on the floor and extend your legs quickly to get into a plank position. Next, lower your body to do a push up. Bring your legs back close to your hands and jump upwards back to your standing (starting) position.
When you start doing burpees, you may not have the strength to do the push up. It is okay to leave it out initially as you gain strength. You may not be able to extend your legs right away. It is okay to move one leg back into the plank position at a time when you are just getting started.
Combining the Exercises
Each of the exercises that I mention can be done individually or incorporated into your home workout. You can get creative with how you combine them. Mix it up to stay on your game of continue to increase your repetitions! Here is one of my favorite combinations. I start with the stairs and the I do a set of each exercise. Repeat the circuit 5 times.
- 5 sets of stairs (if you have stairs in your home)
- 20 jumping jacks
- 10 burpees
- 10 mountain climbers
This home workout enables me to get my cardio in when the ice is covering the sidewalks and it isn’t that safe to run in Northern Virginia. I’m sure there are other people like me who don’t like to go out in inclement weather, but still want to get their workout in. Mix and match some of these cardio exercises and you’ll notice some great results not only in your strength, but also your cardiovascular endurance!