1Life Blog

8 Cardio Exercises To Do At Home - No Equipment Needed

Posted by Paul Rayner on 04-Apr-2018 11:46:16
Paul Rayner

 Fitness Planning - Home Exercise

Exercise is exercise, whether you do it in a gym, swimming pool, jog around the block, cycle for hours or you do it at home when you can spare the time. If you're fitness planning and you choose to exercise at home you often have to be creative. Here’s some inspiration from the 1Life team of cardio exercises you can do outside (or in) the gym.

Requirements: To carry out any of these exercises we recommend a good pair of training shoes, a well-conditioned heart and water for hydration. 

1. Jumping jacks.  

How: Repeatedly jump with your feet wide while circling the arms overhead.  

Jumping jacks burn about 100 calories in 10 minutes. No special equipment or skills are needed.

Precautions: Jumping jacks are high impact, which might add additional pressure to your joints.

Best Way to Use Jumping Jacks in a Workout:

In a Cardio Circuit: Use jumping jacks in a circuit, doing them for 30-60 seconds and alternating them with other cardio exercises such as marching, jogging, jumping, using a skipping rope, etc.

In Your Regular Workout: Add a bonus high intensity element to your regular cardio or strength workouts by adding a minute (or more) of jumping jacks throughout the workout or at the end.


2. Jogging on the spot

What: Jogging in a stationary position

Why: It's simple, accessible, it’s a great way to warm up and a good way to get the heart rate up.  

Precautions: It's high impact, which might add additional pressure to your joints and it can be a bit boring.  There’s no forward motion so it’s not as effective as jogging outside.

Variations: Press your arms over your head, run with high knees, run with butt kicks or run with wide knees

Best Way to Use Jogging in Place in a Workout:

As a Warm Up: Start by marching in place, then slowly pick up the pace a jog to warm up your body for exercise.  

In a Cardio Circuit: Alternate jogging with other cardio exercises, such as marching, step touches, etc. Do each for 30-60 seconds, repeating for 10-30 minutes

As an Active Break: Try jogging in place when you need an active break at work or at home


3. Burpees 

What: Squatting to the floor, jumping the feet to a plank position, jumping back in and standing up

Why: It's a great cardio exercise which burns 100 or more calories in 10 minutes (if you can handle 10 minutes of this exercise).

Precautions: It's a tough exercise and not for the faint hearted.  Don’t be dismayed if you can only do one or two of these.  

Variations: You can step your feet back instead of jumping, add a jump up at the end, add a press up to it or even use equipment such as a medicine or BOSU ball.

Best Way to Use Burpees in a Workout:

Sparingly: as they are tough!

In a Cardio Circuit:  Carry out 30-60 seconds worth of burpees every 3-4 minutes of a cardio circuit.  

In High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Do 30-60 seconds of burpees, rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat for 10 or more minutes.


4. Mountain Climbers

What: From a push-up position, running the knees in and out.

Why: Mountain climbers raise the heart rate while building strength and endurance in the core. No special skills are needed.

Requirements: Strong wrists.

Precautions: This exercise can be taxing on the wrists, arms, and shoulders as well as the core so ensure you’re safe to work out these areas.

Variations: Alternate jumping each foot forward and back, use gliding discs or if you don’t have gliding discs, paper plates or towels work just as well and combine them with other exercises such as burpees, push ups or planks.

Best Way to Use Mountain Climbers in a Workout:

In a Cardio Circuit: Add mountain climbers to your cardio circuit, doing them for 30-60 seconds each time

In Combinations: For high intensity interval training add mountain climbers to a routine with burpees or alternate between 10 push-ups with 10 mountain climbers.  


5. Squat Jumps

What: From a squat position, jump as high as you can, landing back into a squat.

Why: Squat jumps are a plyometric exercise (form of exercise that involves rapid and repeated stretching and contracting of the muscles, designed to increase strength) which will raise the heart rate and burn calories.  

Requirements: good strong knees as this is a high impact activity.  

Precautions: This exercise is high impact and high intensity.  It’s important you land softly to protect the joints.

Best Way to Use Squat Jumps in a Workout:

In a Cardio Workout: Incorporate 30-60 seconds of squat jumps into your regular cardio workout or in a cardio circuit with other exercises.

In a Lower Body Workout: Add 30-60 seconds of squat jumps after every 3-5 lower body exercises, such as squats, lunges or deadlifts.  This will increase intensity, power and strength.

In HIIT: Do 30-60 seconds of squat jumps, rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat for 10 or more minutes.


6. Bear crawls 

What: Squatting to the floor, walking the hands out to a push-up position, walking the hands back. and standing up...like a bear 🐻

Why: These are a great way to getting your heart rate up whilst building strength and endurance.  

Requirements: Experience of HIIT and exercise

Precautions : This exercise is more challenging than it sounds and the intensity accumulates quickly.

Variations: push-up on the knees, keeping the knees down as you crawl in and out to strengthen the core.

Best Way to Use Bear Crawls in a Workout:

In a Cardio Workout: Incorporate 30-60 seconds of bear crawls into your regular cardio workout.

In an Upper Body Workout: Add 30-60 seconds of bear crawls every 3-5 upper body exercises such as push-ups, chest presses or dumbbell rows.

In High Intensity Interval Training: Do 30-60 seconds of bear crawls, rest for 30-60 seconds and repeat for 10 or more minutes. You can also alternate bear crawls with other high intensity exercises such as burpees or squat jumps.


7. Staircase Exercise

What: Using a staircase for everything from cardio to strength training.

Why: Walking up and down stairs is an excellent cardio workout and you can use the steps for a variety of other exercises.

Requirements: A staircase.

Precautions: Watch out for trip hazards and use a handrail if you need to.

Best Way to Incorporate Stairs Into Your Workout:

In a Cardio Circuit: If you have a long staircase (more than 6 stairs), work it into a cardio circuit: Alternate 1-2 laps up and down with other cardio exercises.

In HIIT: Run or walk up the stairs as fast as you can and walk back down to recover, repeating for 10 or more minutes. You can also use just one step: Jump onto the step with both feet and step down, or stand sideways with one foot on the step and jump, turning 180 degrees and landing with the other foot on the step.


8. Run, Walk, Play

What: The great outdoors!!

Why: There's fresh air out there and it's fun to actually go somewhere when you're exercising.

Requirements: A door to the outside world, a good pair of supportive shoes, sunglasses, and sunscreen (if necessary).

Variations: Endless.

Best Way to Exercise Outdoors:

Walk: For weight loss, walk briskly, and incorporate hills and sprints to increase intensity. 

Run: If you're new to running start off slowly.  Look to power-walk and build up to running.

Circuit Training: You're not just stuck with walking or running outside. You can also incorporate strength exercises with your walks or runs to add intensity and make things more interesting. 

Play: Throwing a Frisbee or a football, running with the dog or the kids or a day at the park makes exercise more fun.


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