5 Exercises for a Cardio Workout At Home

Summary: If the word ‘cardio’ conjures up images of toiling away on a treadmill at a gym, think again! Home cardio exercises can be a great way to establish a cardio routine, improve your heart health and burn calories all without leaving your home.

Whatever your age or fitness level, making time for cardio exercises can boost your overall health and ward off chronic disease. It can also help you feel great.

The American Heart Association recommends at least “150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, preferably spread throughout the week”, for all adults.

If you’re just starting out on your cardio journey, there are several exercises that are ideal for beginners or those with weak joints and lower stamina. And you can do them right from your living room and at your own pace.

Why is cardio important?

Cardio exercises, also known as aerobic exercises, are activities that increase your heart rate and breathing while using large muscle groups. These exercises are typically built around repetitive and rhythmic movements.

For instance, a good dance session can be a fun and effective way to get some cardio in. Regular cardio exercises offer numerous benefits for your overall health. They can improve heart health, bone strength, lung capacity and endurance. Additionally, cardio can aid in weight loss, enhance mental health and focus, improve sleep quality, and strengthen your immune system.

For seniors, combining cardio exercises with balance training and stretching exercises can yield even better results, promoting both physical fitness and stability.

Whether you’re aiming to maintain your health, manage your weight, or simply get your blood pumping, cardio is an essential component of a well-rounded fitness routine. Here are five cardio exercises you can easily do from home.

Here are five fantastic cardio exercises you can easily do from the comfort of your home:

1. Low-impact step touch

Step touch is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the knees while still providing a good cardiovascular workout. It helps improve coordination, balance and lower body strength.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Step your right foot to the side, followed by your left foot to meet it.
  • Repeat the movement to the left side.


  • Add arm movements, such as raising your arms to shoulder height, to increase intensity.
  • Maintain a steady, controlled pace.
  • Continue for 1-2 minutes or aim for 3 sets of 30 repetitions.

Ideal option: This is a perfect low-impact cardio routine if you want to avoid straining your knees.

2. High knees

High knees are a great way to boost your heart rate and engage your core muscles.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift your right knee toward your chest.
  • Quickly switch to lift your left knee toward your chest.
  • Continue to alternate knees, moving at as quick a pace as you safely can.


  • Keep your back straight and core engaged.
  • Use your arms to help maintain balance.
  • Perform for 30 seconds to 1 minute, rest and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Modifications for bad knees: March in place at a slower pace, focusing on lifting your knees to a comfortable height without jumping.

3. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks or star jumps might bring back some middle-school flashbacks, but they’re a great way to build heart and lung function over time.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides.
  • Jump your feet out to the sides while raising your arms above your head. You can end this movement with a clap.
  • Quickly reverse the movement, jumping back to the starting position.


  • Keep a steady pace.
  • Land softly on your feet to reduce the impact on your knees.
  • Perform the exercise for 1-2 minutes, or as long as you are comfortable, then rest and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Modifications for bad knees: If high-impact movements are a concern, perform instead. Step one foot out to the side while raising your arms overhead. Step back to the center and repeat on the other side.

4. Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are heart-healthy exercises that engage multiple muscle groups and improve agility, coordination and balance.

How to do it:

  • Start in a horizontal plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line.
  • Bring your right knee toward your chest.
  • Quickly switch legs, bringing your left knee toward your chest while extending your right leg back.
  • Continue to alternate legs as quickly as is comfortably possible.


  • Keep your core tight and back flat.
  • Maintain a steady, controlled pace.
  • Perform for 30 seconds to 1 minute, rest and repeat for a total of 3 sets.

Variation: For a low-impact variation, elevate your upper body using a step or block or sturdy bench. This is helpful if you are still building your upper body strength or resuming cardio after an injury or illness.

5. Skaters

Skaters are a dynamic exercise mimicking the lateral movement of speed skaters. They help improve coordination, balance and lower body strength while boosting your heart rate.

How to do it:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift your right leg and hop to the right, allowing your left leg to extend and follow.
  • Land on your right foot and swing your left foot behind you, keeping it off the ground. At the same time, swing your left hand in front of your body while your right arm moves behind your back.
  • Swing your left leg back to the left and jump, landing softly on your left foot and letting your right foot swing behind you. Swing your right arm in front of your body as your left arm moves behind.
  • Continue alternating sides for 45, 40, or 35 seconds.

Lower Impact Variation:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Tap your left foot behind your right, then switch sides and tap your right foot behind your left.

Cardio exercises from the comfort of your home

Improving your from the comfort of your home has never been easier. You can make it as ‘cozy’ or challenging as you want and get some virtual help too!

Whether you choose high-energy moves like or prefer low-impact options like step touch, the key is to stay consistent, focus on maintaining good form and enjoy the process. Not only will these exercises boost your cardiovascular health, but they will also enhance your overall well-being, making everyday activities easier and more enjoyable.

Find more resources that can help you live fuller lives in our blog. Mutual of Omaha is by your side as you make the journey towards physical and financial fitness.

Q1: What is the best cardio exercise to do at home?

Once you’re more comfortable, you can add other cardio exercises to your routine like mountain climbers and stair climbing. For more advanced exercises, check out this resource.

Q2: Can seniors safely do these exercises?

Yes, but make sure you add modifications for intensity and impact as your body demands. If you’re unsure about a certain exercise, consult with your healthcare provider first.

Q3: Do I need equipment for these cardio exercises?

No, all the exercises in this article can be done without any equipment.

Q4: How do I maximize the benefits of my home workout?

  • Incorporate HIIT: In High Intensity Interval Training you alternate between intense bursts and brief rest to maximize calorie burn and improve cardiovascular fitness quickly.
  • Use wearable tech: Track your workouts with fitness devices to ensure you’re in your target heart rate zone for optimal benefits.
  • Focus on progressive overload: Gradually increase workout intensity, duration, or complexity to continue making progress.
  • Add strength training: Combine cardio with strength exercises like squats and push-ups to build muscle and boost metabolism.
  • Use minimal equipment: Enhance workouts with resistance bands, dumbbells, or a medicine ball to target different muscle groups.
  • Optimize your space: Keep your workout area safe and clutter-free for better focus and performance.
  • Monitor nutrition and hydration: Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated to support workouts and recovery.
  • Set SMART goals: Define Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound goals to stay motivated and track progress.
  • Use visualization: Visualize goals and maintain mental focus to enhance performance.
  • Implement recovery techniques: Use foam rolling, stretching and ensure adequate sleep for muscle repair and injury prevention.