20 Cardio Exercises Everyone Can Do at Home

Woman doing a plank on the floor


The last few years have seen a rise in the home workout space. Not only does this allow for no commute to the gym, saving money, and increased convenience for your schedule, but it also allows you to get creative with your workout routine. You might not have the fancy cardio equipment a gym offers, but you can perform cardio exercises in and right outside your house with a small investment on your part.

The following are cardio exercise options broken down by level. You can make any of them more challenging by doing them for longer periods and picking up your speed.

Best Beginner Cardio Workouts 

If you are new to exercise or live a sedentary lifestyle, these beginner cardio workouts can help you adjust your body to movement.

Indoor Cardio Workouts

  • Step ups: If your home has stairs, you can plant your feet on the floor and then step up on the first step with both feet. Then return to the start. Using the floor as your starting point can help you stay balanced.
  • Marching in place: You can get creative with marching. If you have fast-paced songs you enjoy, you can make a playlist and march to the varying beats for 30 minutes.
  • Dancing: For your favorite dance songs, you can create a Spotify playlist and use headphones to dance to them. Dancing can burn 90 to 125 calories in 30 minutes.

Outdoor Cardio Workouts

  • Circuit training: You can set up your own circuit workout in which you move quickly between exercises. For example, station one is jumping rope for five minutes, station two is ab exercises (planks, crunches, and scissor kicks) for five minutes, and station three is pushing your kids around in a laundry basket across the lawn. You can even get your kids involved and have them work out with you, letting them decide on three exercises for the day.
  • Walking: Start with a 15-minute walk and work up to longer sessions; 2.5 hours of walking a week can cut your risk of heart disease by 30 percent. You could walk around the yard, block, or park—anywhere you can find space and feel safe.

To get the most out of a walking workout, try to do the following:

  • Stand tall and swing your arms and shoulders
  • Try to keep a pace of at least three miles per hour
  • Purchase appropriate walking shoes. They should last for about 500 miles.

Best Intermediate Cardio Workouts

Once you build up your endurance, you can move on to intermediate workouts that require more stability and are longer in length.

Indoor Cardio Workouts

  • Using a YouTube video: You can find cardio-based YouTube exercise videos that follow high-intensity interval training, moving through many different exercises with little rest time, such as jumping jacks to planks to running in place (three minutes for each exercise).
  • Jumping jacks: Although you have done these since elementary school gym class, jumping jacks elevate your heart rate and use both upper and lower extremities.
  • Walking lunges: Find a hallway or an area of your house that has a bit of length and do walking lunges. Lunge forward with one leg, bending at the knee and keeping your knee in a straight line with your ankle. Do three sets of five lunges on each leg.

Outdoor Cardio Workouts

  • Run/walk combination: Find a safe neighborhood block to run and walk, walking for three minutes and then running for one minute. Walking allows you to catch your breath and build up your endurance. Do this for 30 minutes, five days a week; try to increase your distance each week.
  • Laps around a park: On grass, which is harder to walk on than a sidewalk, try running, skipping, and walking for 30 minutes. This challenges more muscles than a walk/run combination on concrete. You can alternate the movement (skip, walk, and run) every three minutes.

Best Advanced Cardio Workouts

Once you can easily do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise without losing your breath, you should start incorporating more advanced workouts into your regime.

Indoor Cardio Workouts

  • Kickboxing: You can choose to follow a YouTube video or make up your own routine using high
    kicks, punches, and uppercuts. This is a good upper body workout that you do not find often in cardio workouts and can burn 300 to 420 calories in 30 minutes.
  • High knees: Rather than simply running in place, try kicking up your knees as high as you can toward your chest. This will provide both a cardio workout and work your abs.
  • Stair exercise: Rather than only step up to the first step, try stepping up an entire staircase and back down for 30 minutes, keeping a steady pace for an entire half hour.

Outdoor Cardio Workouts

  • Hill running: Pick a nearby hill that is about a quarter mile in length. Try running or walking at a fast pace, going up and down the hill two times.
  • Sprints: Pick two spots in your backyard or at a park. Sprint between the two as fast as you can, three times. Rest for one minute, then do it again for three sets.

Other Cardio Workouts at Home

Anything that raises your heart rate can provide a cardio workout, even household chores you would already do. If you can do them faster, you will increase your heart rate. These include the following:

  • Shoveling snow
  • Raking leaves
  • Mowing the lawn
  • Vacuuming
  • Scrubbing the floors and walls

Safety Tips

Safety is always the number one priority in exercise. If you feel unsteady, weak, or don't have a good feeling about a particular exercise, you should skip it. Here are other safety tips to follow:

  • Develop a good base before moving on to advanced moves. This helps keep you from getting injured and burned out.
  • Build up to long workouts. Beginners should start with 10-minute cardio sessions.
  • Hydrate. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the amount of total water for women is about 11.5 cups per day and for men, it is about 15.5 cups.
  • Eat something before your workout for energy. Bananas, a piece of wheat bread with peanut butter, or eight ounces of Greek yogurt should work.

A Word From Verywell

Exercising at home can provide numerous benefits, such as saving money and avoiding any awkward feelings you have when working out in front of other gym goers. Make sure you develop your cardiovascular training before moving on to more advanced exercises. This helps keep you safe and avoid burnout. Should you have any questions about exercise or want guidance on weight management, a healthcare professional can provide the best advice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you do cardio in your house without equipment?

    You can do cardio in your house without equipment. Add some creativity to your workouts, such as following a new YouTube workout video each day, making your own Spotify soundtrack to dance around the house, and using stairs for step ups. Anything that gets your heart racing will work, including housework.

  • How long do you have to do cardio for it to be effective?

    For effective cardio, you should follow the recommendations from the American Heart Association. This is 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity exercise, which equates to 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week. If you are a beginner, you can work up to this, starting with shorter workout sessions that last 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Should you do cardio and strength training on the same day?

    You can do cardio and strength training on the same day. Because strength training can tire out your muscles, you might want to alternate days of cardio and strength training. However, the best training sessions are ones you will do. If you have to do cardio and strength training on the same day, then you should follow this workout regime.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health. Calories burned in 30 minutes of leisure and routine activities.

  2. Harvard Health. Walking for health.

  3. Harvard Health. Perfecting your walking technique.

  4. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. How much water do you need.

By Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, CPT
Jennifer Purdie, M.Ed, is a certified personal trainer, freelance writer, and author of "Growth Mindset for Athletes, Coaches and Trainers."