Getting heart-smart is a great way to improve your overall health. You can lose weight, increase fat burn, and boost circulation with a solid cardio workout.
When you’re working out to bump your target heart rate into the right zone, it’s a cardio exercise. And cardio exercises are what we’re talking about here today. These are some of the best workouts to do at home, too!
You don’t need expensive gym equipment to reap the benefits of cardio exercise. These nine home workouts will get your heart rate up to improve your health.
1. Butt Shapers for Beginners
Everyone imagines having the perfect butt. It’s kind of like the desire for thick, silky hair. You always want what you don’t have.
But there are not too many people in the world who are happy with their rear ends. And if they are, they want to keep it in shape. This makes butt-shaping exercises one of the most popular workouts.
Enter butt kicks. Picture running, without the movement. That’s what a butt-kick exercise is. You can tone your glutes and boost your heart rate at the same time.
All you need to do is stand with your legs together, arms to your sides.
Make the motion of running by bringing your right heel towards your glute, then down. Left heel up, then down.
Repeat as you’re pumping your arms to get the heart going. Do this in short bursts or push for more extended periods to increase endurance.
2. Jumping Jacks
You learned how to do these in elementary school, but jumping jacks can come in handy now, too. They’re one of those workouts that you either love or hate. And if you’re a hater of this exercise, do them anyway!
With a few minutes of jumping jacks, you have a full-body workout that increases your heart rate.
A quick review of how to do a jumping jack:
Throw your arms into the air in a “V” position, jump, and spread your legs wide, all at the same time.
As your feet return to the floor, bring your hands together over your head and your legs together on the ground. Repeat for a set amount of jumping jacks or a specific time.
3. Step Up
Steps are great cardio workouts for any level, beginner to expert. First, find a stable curb in a safe space outside your apartment.
Watch for broken concrete or uneven ground and avoid those areas. If you’d rather workout inside, investing in step equipment doesn’t have to be expensive.
Once you have your step, try these easy exercises at the pace you prefer:
The Basic Step
Play your favorite heart-stomping music and step to the beat! All you do is start with your right foot, step on the equipment, and follow with your left foot. Step down with the right, down with the left. Repeat.
Be careful to keep your movements stable and in the middle of the steps, not on the edges.
Once you’ve mastered the basic step, the V-step switches it up a tad. Like the basic step, your feet move up and down. But as you step up, put your feet wider, towards the edge of the step, in a V-stance.
Rotate starting with the right foot, then leading off with the left.
As you get comfortable with Basic Steps and V-Steps, branch out with more complicated workouts to boost your heart rate.
Squats help balance, glute toning, and overall quad strengthening. There are multiple ways to bring these into your workout.
For a basic squat, you place your feet securely on the ground at about shoulder-width apart. Straighten your back and pull in your abs as you bend your knees. Lower yourself slowly as you push your hips backward to an almost seated position. Stand up and repeat.
Once you get the form down, add a jump as you stand to increase your heart rate.
If you’ve ever climbed more than one flight of stairs, you know it’s a pretty impressive exercise. You may not like it while it’s happening, but it works.
In fact, one of the best ways to get winded fast (and thus get your cardio up) is to climb a high flight of stairs.
Even if you don’t have more than one flight in your house, you can use them for exercising. Run up as fast as you safely can, then head down. Repeat at least four times.
Burpees are part of military training because they’re an impressive total-body exercise. They improve your heart and lung health.
Since it doesn’t take too many to give you results, you can add burpees to any schedule.
To do a burpee, start in a standing position. Bend down in a squatting position until you can put your hands flat on the floor. The moment your hands touch the ground, throw your feet behind you to place you in a plank formation.
Next, throw your feet forward, so they are behind your hands again, push up, and jump back to standing. Repeat these steps in 30-second intervals with 10-second breaks for five minutes.
7. The Tabata Workout
One of the newest trends in cardio exercise is Tabata. Not for beginners, this is a high-intensity workout. It quickly boosts your heart rate in short periods.
The trick to the Tabata is to work at your optimal, intense level for a very short interval. Go immediately to the next exercise after each move. It typically consists of a set of burpees, mountain climbers, long jumps, and squats.
8. Elliptical Machines
Investing in an elliptical for your home is smart for your heart health. The pre-designed workouts make you sweat and increase your heart rate.
Most of the newer machines monitor your speed, time, and distance. They also show you your heart rate, how many calories you burned, and your BMI. These are perfect details to know as you continue to set and crush your workout targets!
Crawls are good for your heart because of how your body has to work as you are in a funky form. Your body weight is the resistance.
Take the inchworm, for instance. You slowly lower your hands to the ground and then “inch” them forward to a plank position. Then you slowly, slowly inch your feet forward until they are behind your hands. The whole time, your heart is working a little extra to keep your body in place.
Then there is the crab walk. It tones your back and arms, core, and leg muscles. You start in a seated position, then lift your hips off the floor using your arms braced on the ground.
Tighten your abs and move your left hand and right foot backward. Alternate moving your hands and feet until you have “walked” the length of your room. Repeat.
Elevating your heart rate is the goal of cardio workouts.
Use these nine exercises to burn some calories and increase your cardio health, any time of day!
Caitlin Sinclair is the Business Manager at Riata Apartments. With over 5 years of property management experience, she begins and ends each day loving what she does. She finds joy in helping current and future residents and makes Riata a place everyone loves to call home.