Who needs to do cardio? Everyone! No matter what your fitness goals are, cardio is an absolutely essential component of a healthy lifestyle. And if running on the treadmill isn’t your thing, that’s okay! We have already written a list of the Sports that Burn the Most Calories. Now, we are following it up with exercises that will raise your heart rate, boosting your metabolism and increasing your cardiovascular endurance over time. This list focuses on individual activities that can be done in a small space. Plenty of sports, from swimming to rowing to soccer, are also excellent sources of cardio. In fact, there are endless variations to get your daily dose of cardio, so choose which ever ones are most fun to you. Don’t be afraid to change up your routine. An improved metabolism and increased heart rate are great for weight loss, so be prepared to watch those calories disappear.
- Butt Kick
This exercise will kick your butt. Run in place, bringing your heel as far back towards your glutes as possible with each kick. Each kick’s power should come from your hamstrings. Run for at least a minute at a time.
Burpees are a great all-around workout that strengthen the arms, core, chest and legs, all while raising your heart rate. Start in a pushup position, palms planted on the ground at shoulder-width and place your feet behind you. In an explosive motion, bring your feet in close to your hands. Quickly move to a standing position, throwing your hands in the air above your head. Do 10-12 in a row.
- Jumping Rope
Jumping rope isn’t just for kids and boxers. Whether your are looking to burn a lot of calories fast or increase your agility, jump-roping will get the job done. Add jumping rope as an accessory to your normal workout, doing it between sets while lifting weights or in between stretches.
- Jumping Jacks
This is another playground classic that will help you warmup for your regular exercise. Start standing by standing straight and tall, with your hands at your hips. Simultaneously kick out your feet and raise your hands to meet over your head. Return to start. Do as many as you can!
- Mountain Climbers
Warning: this exercise should not be performed on a real mountain. It can be done just about anywhere else, however. Start on your hands and knees with a slight bend in your back. Bring the right foot up to your chest and put it back, then quickly do the same with the left. Continue alternating feet with your hands planted firmly in front of you for 30-40 reps.
In addition to being source of cardio, step-ups work the legs, glutes, and core. This activity requires an elevated surface, such as a bench or box, and it can be done with or without dumbbells. Simply start on the ground and raise one leg up on to the top of the elevated platform and then move the other up. Step back down in the same fashion.
Let’s see how well you can jump! Stand up nice and straight with your body tensed and knees slightly bent. Now jump, bringing your knees into your chest and jutting your arms out in front of your body. Aim for 15-20 reps.
- Plank to Push-up
Two great exercises for the price of one. Start with your body straight, forearms and toes on the ground in a plank position. Then, lift your hands one at a time into the pushup position. As soon as both hands are up, lower one then the other back down into the plank position. Do 20-25 reps, and alternate the arm that moves first.
- Squat Jump
Perform a normal bodyweight squat. Flex your abs and lower yourself into a sitting down position. Keep your head and torso straight in this process, the movement should all be in the bending of your legs. Lower yourself until your legs are at parallel to the ground. Jump up once you are at the nadir of the squat and throw your arms overhead.
- Flutter Kick
Lie down on your back with your arms at your sides and legs extended. Then, lift your heels off the floor (about six inches) and begin kicking up and down. Your abs should be burning almost immediately, but push through the pain and continue as long as you can.