Wondering how to do the best cardio workout at home? It’s not easy to find apartment friendly workouts or quiet cardio exercises that still deliver the burn BUT it is possible!
Learn exactly what your cardio at home workouts need in this quick video which shows you how to work at home using low impact exercises that go easily into any in home workout routine!
If you think cardio exercise is running or jumping or just something that gets you sweating, you might be surprised to learn differently!
Cardio is any activity that increases the heart rate. Ideally, this activity will get the heart rate up to at least 65% of its max. The fitter you become, the more efficiently you do cardio (because more oxygenated blood is sent to your muscles) and the higher your heart rate can go. (This is why strength training is so important.)
Running and jumping are two types of cardio exercise but they are not the only forms of cardio. As you saw above, cardio can be anything that increases your heart rate.
Any workout which has you moving through exercises relatively quickly, with short recovery times, can be cardio.
Pilates, Barre, Yoga, Dance and Weight Training can all become cardio if programmed correctly into your home workout routine or training schedule. So whenever you see recommendations on how much cardio to do each week, know that this cardio can even include fast walking!
Low impact cardio exercises increase the heart rate without causing as much strain on the joints as running or jumping. This is how you do cardio without damaging the joints.
Examples of low impact cardio exercises include many of the activities already mentioned such as Yoga, Pilates, Barre and Dance. Certain Martial Arts inspired workouts can also be practiced in a low impact way.
When you do low impact cardio, you softly land on the feet (or keep the feet on the floor) instead of landing on them with force.
Low impact cardio exercises are an essential part of any training program as they give you cardiovascular benefits without exacerbating or causing injuries as much as running or jumping.
NOTE: Low impact does not mean NO impact. Some impact is going to be natural in any movement and is essential to bone strength.
There are three main ways to get your heart rate up without running or jumping. When you're planning your cardio exercise for the week, think about these three things:
Include powerful and quick up/down transitions for cardio without running or jumping.
You're not getting a LESSER cardio when you do low impact exercises, you're just getting a DIFFERENT cardio.
Any low impact exercise will be quieter than a high impact one. The key is to either land very softly on the balls of the feet (as in a controlled kick) or to keep the feet on the floor (as with a punch.)
Even with high impact cardio like jumping or running, it is ESSENTIAL to land more quietly and controlled so that you can avoid unnecessary strain on the joints.
Don't just focus on how fast or quick your movements are but also how you land them in order to make your cardio quieter and more efficient.
This depends on your fitness goals, fitness ability and how you prefer to move. What you like to do is VERY important and something that many people forget!
Be sure to adjust cardio exercises to YOUR fitness ability. For example, there is no point in doing high kicks if you struggle to lift your knees. Work with where you are and build up from there.
Finally, choose the type of workouts and exercises that you enjoy. The key to fitness results is consistency. When you enjoy something, you are much more likely to keep it up permanently.
Your training schedule and workout routine will depend on your fitness goals. For example, the cardio workouts of a future marathon runner will be very different from someone working towards weight loss. We often assume that more cardio is better, but that isn't true.
The RIGHT amount of workouts and the RIGHT amount of cardio is what will deliver you the best results. Often, the RIGHT amount involves much less cardio than you think.
The general recommendation is about 2.5 hours of physical activity per week of moderate intensity (e.g. walking) or 75 minutes per week of high intensity (e.g. HIIT workouts.) However, much of our daily routine will involve some physical activity such as walking, climbing stairs, etc.
Below are cardio training suggestions. These are based on the assumption that you are walking around during the week and doing strength training as well:
Any cardio should be done in combination with a good strength and flexibility workout plan. Stretching needs to be done after EVERY cardio session. Strength training is advisable to do at least 2x a week. You can combine strength and cardio into one session.
Cardio is often seen as essential for weight loss because it can increase the number of calories we burn.
In truth, cardio is NOT essential for weight loss but it is still IMPORTANT for your health.
Weight loss is determined by burning/expending more calories than you eat. You can manage weight loss just by eating smarter and healthier. No cardio is required.
Admittedly, cardio can increase the overall number of calories that your body burns. HOWEVER, the amount of calories burned during even the highest of high intensity exercises, is not so important as how you eat and how your body uses energy for basic biological processes or at rest.
However, cardio is so beneficial to your respiratory system, circulatory system, muscle and bone health that it is worth including for ANY fitness goals. Remember that cardio does not need to be high intensity in order to be effective.
The key is to not look to any one weight loss answer, but rather look for a combination of things; smart cardio, proper strength training and a balanced diet will all help to meet your weight loss goals.
The short answer is yes; because interval training or HIIT (high intensity interval training) make use of short bursts of energy and quick recovery times, they tend to be more effective in burning calories than other forms of cardio.
Your body can push harder and perform better for a shorter amount of time than it can over a long period of time, which is why interval training is so effective for weight loss.
HIIT and interval training are particularly good as cardio exercises if you don't have time to do longer workouts. For instance, if you have 15 minutes or less than HIIT is definitely the way to go.
The longer, more appropriate answer is that burning fat or weight loss is not dependent on the type of workouts you do alone or the type of cardio you choose. If burning fat or weight loss is your goal then you should focus on a balanced approach that includes cardio, strength training and a healthy diet.
Walking can count as your cardio exercise for the day. If you are working through an injury, have a physical limitation or are just short on time then walking can absolutely work as cardio.
The key is to maximize your heart rate increase while walking. You can do this by playing with different walking speeds, inclines and maybe even alternate walking with strength training exercises (e.g. lunges.)
However, 10,000 steps is not the best guideline for walking as cardio exercise. This is because of a few things:
Walking is a great way to get your cardio exercise but it would be best to combine it with other forms of cardio if at all possible.
Both. You need both to sustain weight loss. In addition to a balanced diet, cardio and weight or strength training are essential to maintaining optimal health.
Together, both of these types of physical activities can increase how efficiently you perform workouts and your resting metabolic rate when you're not working out.
NOTE: Weight training can be done WITHOUT weights and still give weight loss results. You just need to know how to do it.
No. As a personal trainer and former runner, I don't believe running is best as the MAIN cardio option for many people.
I admit that running is the ultimate stress reliever. Running also gets you fit (at least externally) very quickly. In theory, anyone can do run and you don't need any special equipment, knowledge or instruction.
Running seems like the easiest form of cardio exercise out there....but it's not. Because running is a high impact activity that can cause serious injury and damage to the joints, it requires good technique and the right tools.
The right tools include: a good running surface, well fitting running shoes and a plan to include EXTENSIVE stretching and flexibility training.
Most professional runners will have a Pilates or core training program, flexibility focus days and physio or coach they go to in order to counteract the wear and tear that running causes when done repetitively.
However, most casual runners will not take the time and/or have access to the proper resources to make sure their technique and training plan is the safest it can be.
How many runners do you know that can't fully straighten their legs when sat on the floor or reach their toes while bending over? How many with achy ankles or shaky knees? Probably quite a few. Because running incorrectly can cause so much damage, it is 100% worth it to make sure you are doing it right.
The bottom line is that you should not run if you are not prepared to invest in the technique and flexibility training such as in Yoga or Pilates. Even if you do all of that, it's always best to add variety to any cardio routine.
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