Welcome to the Cardio Library!

By Michelle Kennedy

Usually the first things that come to mind when you think about aerobic exercise (besides Jane Fonda) are running, biking, swimming. But there are a lot of moves you can do that are both physically challenging and good for your heart. The best part is they don’t require you to go anywhere or buy any special equipment.

The following exercises can be done on their own in 30 second to 1 minute bursts for 15 minutes, in combination with each other or with some strength training for full body fitness. If you set a goal to try and do as many in a row as possible, you may find that you fatigue faster than during a walk or even a run—and that’s ok. These moves provide an overall physical challenge, which makes your heart work harder to keep up with the demands of muscles from your entire body. Ready to get started?

Box Jumps
Use a step platform (if you have one), a bench or any other sturdy elevated object. Stand facing the object, and jump with both feet onto the platform and quickly jump off. Repeat in quick succession until desired time or repetitions are met.

Box step-ups
Stand facing the elevated platform. Step up with right foot, then the left. Step down with right, followed by the left. Perform quickly as though you are running up and down. Continue until desired time or reps are met. Repeat on the other side, leading with the left.

Front/Back Line Jumps
Find a line in the sidewalk or carpet, or put a jump rope on the ground. Keep feet as close together as you can without losing balance. Face the line and quickly hop over (don’t go too far). Then jump backward. Repeat until you reach desired time or reps.

Side/Side Line Jumps
Find a line in the sidewalk or carpet, or put a jump rope on the ground. Keep your feet as close together as you can without losing balance. Stand with your left foot parallel to the line and quickly hop over. Then jump back. Continue to jump with speed and precision as though you are skiing downhill. Repeat until you reach desired time or reps.

Lunge Jumps
Bring your right leg forward and bend your knee. Jump straight up and switch your legs. Bend your left knee into a lunge and repeat. Perform in a smooth, quick rhythmic fashion. Do not pause to correct form. Repeat until you reach desired time or reps.

Mountain Climbers
Get down on all fours. Straighten your right leg behind you and bring your left foot forward (as if you’re about to start a timed run). When you’re ready, jump your right foot between your hands while you extend your left leg behind. Keep switching your feet in rapid succession. Avoid extending the back leg out too far as it will be difficult to get it back between your hands. Repeat until you reach desired time or reps.

Squat Jumps
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees as deeply as you can without allowing your knees to extend over your toes. Keep your weight in your heels. (Imagine you’re sitting back in a low chair.) Once you have hit the “bottom” of your squat, jump up toward the ceiling with explosion, using your arms to reach to the sky. Upon landing, immediately drop into a squat again and repeat until you reach desired time or reps.

Wall Ball Shot
Stand in front of a wall about an arm’s length away. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold onto a ball with both hands at chest height. Point your elbows to the sides. Squat down as far as you can. When you stand back up, toss the ball as high as you can against the wall. You should throw the ball with some force, and try to hit the same spot each time. When you catch the ball, keep it at shoulder height, and squat down again. Repeat until your reach desired time or repetitions.


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