17 Best Cardio Exercises To Do At Home To Burn Calories

The best exercises you can do to strengthen your cardiovascular health at home.

Reviewed by David Rosales, NSCA-CPT
Written by Priyanka Sadhukhan, MSc (Nutrition), CDE
Edited by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip
Fact-checked by Himanshi Mahajan, BSc (Life Sciences), Certified Health & Nutrition Life Coach  • 

You don’t need to depend on an elliptical trainer or a treadmill to get your cardio routine going. Yes, you heard it right! You can now easily do at-home workouts without any equipment to burn calories and enhance your metabolism.

But first, why are cardio workouts important? They are crucial to enhance lung capacity and decrease diabetes and coronary artery disease risk (1). This article lists out the 17 best and easiest cardio exercises to do at home. Keep scrolling!

protip_icon Workout Blueprint: Cardio Exercises
  • Frequency: Daily
  • Benefits: Tone the muscles, improve strength, and burn calories.
  • Equipment Needed: Exercise mat, jump rope, cycle.
  • Space Required: Large area
  • Assistance Required: Yes, for certain exercises.
  • Who Should Avoid: Anyone with joint issues.

Best Cardio Workouts At Home

1. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks cardio exercise
Image: Shutterstock

The jumping jack is a classic cardiovascular or aerobic exercise that can help decrease body weight and fat.

It also tones your inner and outer thighs, quadriceps, laterals, and deltoids. Tuck in your tummy while doing these for toning your lower abs as well.

How To Do

  1. Stretch your arms and legs.
  2. Stand erect, keep your spine and head straight, arms resting beside your body, and feet together.
  3. Bending your knees slightly, jump in the air as high as you can.
  4. Spread out your legs a little wider than shoulder-width apart as you jump.
  5. Stretch your hands simultaneously, in line with the shoulders.
  6. While coming down, make sure your feet rest on the floor and are shoulder-width apart, while your hands are stretched out above the head.
  7. Jump back to step 3 and repeat steps 4 to 6, without a break, until you complete one set.
  8. Do 2 sets of 30 reps each, to begin with, and increase the reps to 100 with time.
protip_icon Trivia
Aerobic exercises, synonymous with cardio, also offer mental health benefits. They help regulate stress levels and lower depression and anxiety (1).

2. Cross Jacks

Cross jacks cardio exercise
Image: YouTube @bessharrington369

This calorie crunching exercise is an ideal way to bust the fat accumulated in your thighs, biceps, triceps, and calf muscles. You can use it as an abs toner, provided you are able to hold your tummy in as you sway.

How To Do

  1. Stand erect. Keep your spine and head straight. Let your arms rest beside your body, and keep your feet together.
  2. Stretch your leg outward, hip-width apart. Jump as high as possible.
  3. Let your arms go above your head simultaneously, crossing at the wrists.
  4. As you come down, cross your feet at the ankles.
  5. At the same time, bring your arms down, crossing them in front of your hips.
  6. Try to inhale while jumping and exhale while crossing the feet.
  7. Slide into step 3 and repeat steps 3 to 6, without a break, until you complete one set.
  8. Do 2 sets of 30 reps each, increasing your reps to 100 with time.

3. Spot Jogs

You can do this cardio exercise at home at your convenience.

How To Do

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands by the sides of your body.
  2. Lift your knees as high as possible and jog in one spot.
  3. Make sure you spot jog continuously at least for 60 seconds.

4. Butt Kicks

Butt kicks cardio exercise
Image: YouTube @livestrongwomen

Butt kicks are effective cardio plyometrics that can help improve body balance, agility, and hamstring strength. It is one of the best cardio exercises at home to start with.

How To Do

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and place your hands by your sides.
  2. Bring your right heel to your buttocks by contracting the hamstring.
  3. Place the ball of the right foot back on the ground and bring your left heel to the buttocks.
  4. Do this a few times. Once you are comfortable, accelerate your speed.
  5. Do 2 sets of 30 reps with an accelerated speed.

5. Skipping/Jump Rope

Skipping jump rope exercise
Image: Shutterstock

Skipping or jump roping is an amazing way to burn calories and shed fat. In a study, scientists found that rope jumping to dance music helped improve BMI more than stationary cycle exercise (2).

Alfiya Karim Khan, a vlogger, shared her experience of doing rope skipping for a week and was shocked with the results. She said, “I lost 1.3 kilos. It’s a fair amount to lose in a span of a week. It’s a decent weight loss (i).”

According to a study, 10 minutes of rope jumping is equal to 30 minutes of jogging for improved cardiovascular efficiency.

How To Do

  1. Stand straight. Keep your spine and head erect, and hold the rope with the hands behind your body. Make sure that the hands are at least one foot away from your body, or there are chances of you tripping over.
  2. Swing the rope forward and hop over it, allowing it to move behind your body.
  3. Jump on your toes. Allow your wrists and hand to move along with the handles.
  4. Do 2 sets of 30 reps each, to begin with, increasing your reps to 100 with time.

6. Jump Lunges

Jump lunges cardio exercise
Image: Shutterstock

This is another cardio workout at home that helps in toning the thighs. It also helps in improving the body coordination while keeping the lower body supple and toned.

How To Do

  1. Stand straight, keep your foot together, and your hands resting beside your body. Keep your spine and head erect.
  2. Inhale and lunge forward with the right leg, bending the elbows, with the hands folded into fists. Bring your left hand in front of your chest, while the right one rests on the hip.
  3. Jump, quickly switching your arms and legs, allowing yourself to land in a lunge with the left foot.
  4. This makes one rep. Keep alternating the legs as you jump and lunge without breaking until you complete one set.
  5. Do 2 sets of 30 reps each, increasing your reps to 100 with time.

7. Burpees

Burpees exercise
Image: Shutterstock

Burpees are excellent cardio exercises that involve the entire body.

How To Do

  1. Keep your feet together and assume a squat position. Place your arms on the ground in front of your feet.
  2. Keep your feet together and get ready to jump back so that you can land in a push-up position. Bend your forearms and perform a single push-up in this position.
  3. Jump back to the previous position and bring your feet beneath your body. Leap into the air.
  4. Land smoothly and bend your legs.
  5. Repeat these steps and practice as long as you can.
  6. Practice 2 sets of 20 reps as a beginner and aim to achieve 100 reps for the best results.

8. High Knee March

High knee march cardio exercise
Image: YouTube @fitnessprosllc8636

This is a simple yet effective form of cardio. It helps tone your butt, thighs, hips, and abs.

How To Do

  1. Stand on the floor, keeping your spine and head erect. Your feet should be together, while the hands rest beside your body.
  2. Lift your feet, one at a time, allowing your knees to come until your waist.
  3. Simultaneously, move the opposite hands – left hand with right knee and vice versa.
  4. Maintaining the pace, march continuously for 50 counts, which ideally takes 20 seconds.
  5. Do 3 such sets to reap the maximum benefits.

9. Kick Boxing

Kick boxing cardio exercise
Image: Shutterstock

Cardio kickboxing is an aerobic exercise that helps to burn calories and lower blood pressure.

How To Do

  1. A heavy boxing bag is required to enhance your cardio speed and improve movement and hand-eye coordination.
  2. Start by throwing a powerful punch to the bag with your elbow.
  3. Punch it with the other elbow.
  4. Grab the bag and extend your leg back. Kick the punching bag with your knee.
  5. Repeat with the other leg.
  6. Do it initially for 30 minutes, increasing the time as you become an expert. Increase the height of the bag gradually, so that your kicks are higher.

10. Squat Jumps

Squat jumps cardio exercise
Image: Shutterstock

This versatile exercise, also known as jump squats, improves blood circulation levels and boosts metabolism. It burns loads of calories and enhances the power of the legs. No equipment, no special training required! You can do this amidst your chores if you do not have a dedicated fitness routine.

How To Do

  1. Stand erect with the feet shoulder-width apart. Rest your hands on either side of your body.
  2. Stretch your hands in line with your chest, parallel to the floor, and push yourself into a squat.
  3. Tuck in your core muscles and jump as high as possible.
  4. Lift your hands above your head simultaneously.
  5. Land back on the floor in a squat.
  6. This makes one rep.
  7. Do 2 sets of 10 reps.

11. Crab Walk

Crab walk exercise
Image: YouTube @livestrongwomen

It helps to strengthen your arms, back, legs, and core. It is a fun way to do cardio exercises at home.

How To Do

  1. Sit on the floor, bending your knees at a 90-degree angle.
  2. Place your hands below your shoulders, palms on the floor, and fingers pointed towards you.
  3. Lift your hip by distributing the entire body weight on your hands and legs.
  4. Walk forward and backward with your legs and arms.
  5. Do it for a minimum of 20 minutes.

12. Surya Namaskar

Suryanamaster caradio exercise
Image: Shutterstock

This cardiovascular workout can help you stay fit and fab. It consists of 12 yoga asanas and helps you stay in shape while keeping your mind calm and composed.

Doing each pose with precision and a faster pace will help you burn more fat/calories. Start off slowly, with five rounds, increasing the count gradually over time. Relax for about 15 seconds after each rep.

13. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbing cardio exercise
Image: Shutterstock

Burn calories, tone your abs and thighs, strengthen your muscles, and improve your circulation levels with this quick and easy cardio exercise.

How To Do

  1. Lie on the floor in a plank position with your body balancing on your wrists. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe.
  2. Keeping your lower back arched, bend your left knee towards your chest.
  3. Hold the pose for 2 seconds, return to the initial position, and swiftly repeat with the right leg.
  4. This makes one rep. Do this without a break until you complete one set.
  5. Do 2 sets of 20 reps each, improving the reps to 50 with practice.

14. Air Squats

Woman doing air squats
Image: Shutterstock

This exercise targets and strengthens the glutes and provides a strong base of strength to your entire lower body. It engages the thigh muscles, including the hamstrings and quadriceps.

How To Do

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes angled slightly outward.
  2. Engage your core muscles and gently pull your shoulder blades back to open your chest.
  3. Lower your body as if sitting on a chair, keeping your weight on your heels to avoid leaning forward. Ensure your hips move back and down.
  4. Maintain the natural curve of your lower back and keep your heels flat on the ground throughout the movement. Ensure your hips go lower than your knees.
  5. Hold this position briefly, then push through your heels and engage your glutes to return to a standing stance.

15. Dancing

Dancing exercise for cardio
Image: Shutterstock

Dance as a form of aerobic and cardio exercise promotes full body and mind improvement. Dancing to your favorite music helps to improve physical fitness and mental health and develops social skills (3).

16. Walking

Walking
Image: Shutterstock

Suitable for all ages and abilities, walking is a low-impact cardio exercise that is easy on your joints. You get much more done during the day if you take a 30-minute morning walk. You relax your mind, calm your nerves, breathe in the fresh morning air, increase blood circulation, and stay energetic. The long-term benefits of walking include a lower risk of coronary heart disease, adverse heart conditions, and mortality associated with these events (4).

17. Cycling

Cycling
Image: Shutterstock

Bike riding on a daily basis can be beneficial to your health. Cycling improves your posture, burns fat, strengthens muscles, and improves your heart health. It can help improve your lipid profile, reduce blood pressure, and may also enhance aerobic capacity (5).

Infographic: Safety Tips To Follow While Exercising

Cardio exercises are beneficial for health. However, there are times you might overdo it, which can have adverse effects. Moreover, there are certain things you should keep in mind when doing any form of cardio activity at home. Have a look at the infographic below for more details.

safety tips during exercise (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Download Infographic in PDF version

While it may not be possible to hit the gym everyday, doing the above cardio exercises at home can keep your workout routine going strong and uninterrupted. Calisthenics or bodyweight exercises, step aerobics or stair stepping, tabata, and shadow boxing are certain exercises that can be easily done at home apart from the ones already mentioned. These not only help strengthen your lung capacity, but also help decrease the risks of various chronic ailments. Skipping, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, spot jogging, suryanamaskar, and dancing are a few of the many ways you can keep your heart and lungs going strong with improved stamina and endurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which cardio burns the most fat?

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), running in place or outside, and swimming are some cardiovascular exercises that burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time. However this doesn’t mean it burns the most fat, as fat burning depends on a host of factors.

Can I do cardio every day?

Yes. You can do cardiovascular training every day.

What is the easiest cardio exercise?

Walking, cycling, and jumping rope are some of the easiest cardio exercises.

Key Takeaways

  • Cardio exercises may enhance your lung capacity, and lower diabetes and the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Jumping jacks and cross jacks are cardio exercises that may help you lose weight and fat.
  • Spot jogging, lunges, burpees, squats, high knees, and skipping are some effective aerobic exercises to do at home.
  • Be consistent, don’t push yourself unnecessarily, remember to stay hydrated, and always do your warm-ups and cool-downs before and after the workout.

Get your heart pumping and torch those calories with this fantastic low-impact, beginner-friendly cardio workout. Watch this video to start your fitness journey from the comfort of your home!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Health Benefits of Aerobic Exercise, Postgraduate Medicine, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2062750
  2. The effects of dance music jump rope exercise on pulmonary function and body mass index after music jump rope exercise in overweight adults in 20’s, Journal of Physical Therapy Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5574342/
  3. Dance as a form of exercise, British Journal of General Practice, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2034191/
  4. Walking – the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098122/
  5. Health Benefits of Indoor Cycling: A Systematic Review
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6722762/
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