Maybe you are lucky and have plenty of space to move along with a fairly well-equipped home gym. Perhaps you have less space and not that much equipment. Regardless of what situation, staying active is essential both for your physical and mental health. Here are some fun cardio workouts you can do at home.
Kickboxing is a pretty intense high-intensity cardio workout that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere.
A typical kickboxing class takes between 30 minutes to an hour. It is mostly done on your feet, but it can sometimes include some mat exercises for your core.
All you need is a good pair of workout shoes. I don’t recommend going barefoot as it could put more pressure on your joints and increase the risk of injury.
Shoes will provide stability, especially during jumps and kick movements. You will also need a mat for the core exercises, but the carpet or a towel can be just as good.
You can find many at-home kickboxing workouts for free on YouTube, so you can start exercising right away.
2. Calisthenics/Body Weight Exercises
Often overlooked in favor of weight lifting, calisthenics is a fantastic way to improve your strength and your endurance.
As the name itself says, the exercises are done using only bodyweight, so no equipment is required.
Studies show calisthenics can help you have more lean muscle mass, increased insulin sensitivity, increased resting metabolic rate, and more. (3)
Don’t know where to begin? Bodyweight exercise can be very simple, yet very effective.
You probably know more of them than you realize because you’ve done most of them if you’ve workout before.
Squats, lunges, sit-ups, planks, burpees, jumping jacks, mountain climbers are only a few of the many exercises you can do. You can target any and every muscle group with calisthenics.
3. Tabata Workout
Tabata is a form of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) where each exercise has a fixed structure: workout for 20 seconds, rest for 10, repeat 8 times for a total of 4 minutes.
A simple, bodyweight Tabata circuit that only takes 16 minutes, could look something like this:
- squats (4 minutes)
- push-ups (4 minutes)
- burpees (4 minutes)
- reverse lunges (4 minutes)
As you get more advanced, you can do more exercise, but if you’ve never done Tabata before, this will probably feel like a lot.
For instance, Active has several Tabata workouts, such as this great 30-minute one, that requires no equipment.
Don’t forget to include a warm-up and a cool down. Otherwise, the circuit will feel brutal and you might injure yourself.
Alternative Home Equipment Using Household Items
If you want to take your calisthenic or Tabata exercises to the next level, but don’t have any professional equipment, no worries!
You can find quick and easy alternatives using household items.
Dumbbells can easily be replaced with water bottles.
A full 16-oz bottle weighs approximately 1 pound. If you fill it with sand, the weight increases by about 3 pounds. If they are too light for you, do more repetitions or buy cheap ones if you had the time.
For variety, or if you’re simply trying to avoid plastic water bottles, you can use milk cartons, which will give you the same 1-2 pound weight when full.
Glass bottles work as well, but be careful and avoid hurting yourself.
Kettlebells can be replaced by detergent bottles or a gallon jug.
When full of water, a gallon jar will weigh approximately 8 pounds. If you fill it with sand, however, you can get up to 13-14 pounds.
Sliders can be a great addition to lunges or mountain climber exercises.
If you are on a carpet, use paper plates. If you are on a smooth floor, towels will do the trick.
We all know tricep dips using a bench are great to target those muscles. But did you know a sturdy folding chair can be a perfect replacement to the bench?
Use your backpack as weights when doing squats or walking lunges.
If you want to add more weight to your squats and walking lunges but feel the water bottles aren’t enough, another trick is to use a backpack.
Fill it with as much as you want and wear it during exercise.
Pay close attention to your posture, make sure you don’t slouch forward because of the weight. Some find it easier for their posture to wear the backpack in the front.
Experiment and find what works for you.
The list of fun cardio workouts wouldn’t be complete without Zumba. It is a dance cardio workout and it is usually medium to high intensity. Don’t worry if you are not a good dancer!
Yes, Zumba classes are done to music and there is choreography, but the steps are usually easy to learn and they are a mix of dance moves and aerobic exercises.
In short, anyone can do it. For those who want to take the level higher, there is Zumba Fitness, which incorporates weights for some strength training.
For simple Zumba classes, you don’t need any equipment.
Workout shoes are recommended, but the impact of the joints won’t be as high as in kickboxing.
Staying active during lockdown is easier than you think.
There are a wide variety of workouts you can choose from, and you can do them all from your living room with minimal to no equipment. Try them all and choose the ones you like.
For the best results, try to alternate between workout types. That will keep your body guessing and will prevent you from hitting plateaus.
Not to mention you’ll have fun trying a new workout every day!