Now that working from home has become the new normal, consistent exercise is more important than ever. Extended isolation may have even caused you to develop some unhealthy habits worth breaking. Spending an excessive amount of time sitting and not exercising is a known contributor to many chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.
Setting aside time to exercise and get your blood pumping isn’t just a kickstart for physical health. In a period where mental health has likely taken a hit due to isolation, exercise also has tangible benefits on mental health by improving mood and decreasing the prevalence of anxiety and depression symptoms.
If you’re looking for a healthy change, incorporating at-home cardio workouts may be just what you need to get your heart pumping and muscles working. Don’t worry if this is new territory and you’re unsure where to begin. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Biking offers advantages that many other at-home workouts can’t beat. You’re able to get into a rhythmic zone and have a consistently elevated heart rate for an extended period. Comparable to a runner’s high but less stressful on your knees and joints, stationary biking is the gold-standard of at-home cardio. Most machines also have a lower profile than traditional treadmills, saving you some extra space around the house. If you’re looking for a workout that’s more full-body, try opting for an elliptical bike. Rather than targeting primarily lower-body muscles, an elliptical bike involves core and upper-body muscles as well.
While dancing by yourself may not be the same as having a dance party with your friends, dance-style workouts are incredibly effective and tons of fun. There are plenty of options to watch on streaming services like YouTube. These videos incorporate specific moves that target all major muscle groups, making for a heart-pounding full-body workout. If freestyle is more your speed, make a playlist of your favorite upbeat songs, blast them through your speakers, and just let loose on your own for a half-hour now and again.
Jogging can be harder on your knees and joints than biking but is still a worthwhile at-home cardio exercise. A treadmill can be beneficial for those looking to run for more extended periods or are interested in training for a race. Set a challenging pace for yourself to test your limits, or even go for a fast walk to get your body up and moving. If you don’t want to use or purchase equipment, jogging in place can be just as sweat-inducing.
Most everyone can do this simple, full-body cardio exercise. Rather than working out by doing jumping jacks exclusively for an extended period, try setting a reminder on your phone for every hour or two hours. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and complete a set of jumping jacks to help break up your day and keep your blood flowing. Having regular exercise during the day can be invigorating and keep your brain focused.
HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and consists of a fast-paced workout of alternating exercises with minimal breaks. HIIT tends to be a blend of cardio with some strength-based exercises, which will whip you into shape. Many HIIT workouts only last between 20 to 40 minutes because of their high intensity, making this the perfect sweat-inducing movement to start or end your busy day.
Jumping rope is an excellent exercise for anyone looking to bump up their cardio game with minimal equipment. You can find a sturdy quality jump rope for less than twenty dollars online and only need a small amount of space to use it. Similar to biking and running, jumping rope is a steady-state exercise. Your heart is beating at a consistently elevated level, which is paramount for reaping a cardio workout’s unique benefits. Your heart and lungs will thank you.
Your running start
When discussing your physical health, playing the blame game (and shrugging off skipped gym visits and back-to-back fast food runs) is a one-way ticket to chronic health conditions. While assigning blame to late-nights at the office, time spent in the school pick-up lane, and post-9-to-5 exhaustion may feel valid at the moment, prepare to pay the price for poor home gym attendance. Fortunately, with these seven at-home cardio workouts, your heart health will undergo a radical transformation.