Just because you don’t have a cardio machine doesn’t mean you can’t get a cardio workout in

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Karthik Thoguluva/Unsplash

One thing home workouts will never have is the array of cardio machines available in the gym (unless you have your own personal gym at home). There’s a reason why fitness trainers and experts always encourage cardio exercises—they raise your heart rate to levels that burn the most calories and fat. But given that gyms are clearly not the most suitable places to be in right now, you may have to improvise your indoor cardio exercises with these seven basic movements to improve stamina and strength—the same benefits you reap from any cardio machine. 


Climb the stairs

Unless you have a treadmill or stationary bike, taking the stairs could be the closest thing to a cardio machine you could have. Research proves that climbing 200 steps a day, five days a week for eight weeks improves cardio fitness by almost 20 percent. The stairs work out your legs, bones and calf muscles, improving strength and bone density.


Running high knees

If you don’t have stairs at home, then do this instead. High knees is a cardio-intensive exercise that requires a strong range of motions from your legs. It strengthens your core and most importantly gets your heart rate pumping, which improves momentum, coordination and flexibility. 


Chair dips

Chair dips (also known as tricep dips) get your heart pumping and  strengthen your upper and back arms. It works out the triceps, which impact everyday movements like lifting, pushing and reaching things. It’s an exercise you must do if you’re glued to your desk the whole day since it stabilizes your shoulder joints. 


Wall sits

Who knew sticking your back to the wall could actually improve your endurance? Wall sits can easily be mistaken for a leg exercise but it actually is for increased muscular endurance. Wall sits build isometric strength and provide endurance in your glutes, calves, quadriceps, hamstrings and adductor muscles. It’s a great exercise for sculpting the thighs, hips, calves and lower abs. 


Mountain climbers

Mountain climbers are coined from mountaineering because the exercise uses arm and leg strength similar to climbing a mountain. It’s the typical go-to in building cardio endurance, core strength and agility. Besides raising your heart rate, it targets most of the body’s muscles including quads, biceps, deltoids, triceps, hamstrings, obliques and abs. Mountain climbers also increase stamina and provide a complete body workout. 


Jumping jacks

Astaple exercise, jumping jacks balance your heart rate and increase blood circulation all over the body. Doing this exercise regularly benefits your heart and lungs and maintains your blood pressure. It also improves bone density, strengthens muscles and reduces stress and insomnia. 



How can we make a cardio exercise list without including burpees? The reason why people have a love-hate relationship with burpees is that it’s one of the most taxing cardio movements. But it’s also the most effective. Burpees strengthen your heart and lungs, improve blood flow and get your whole body moving by using your body weight for resistance. With burpees, you also strengthen the muscles in your legs, hips, shoulders, arms, abdomen and chest.