Cardio doesn't automatically mean jumping on the treadmill, elliptical machine or stationary bike. In fact, many effective cardio workouts don't require the use of complicated equipment at all. If you're eager to burn calories and improve your physical health at home, a wide range of simple cardio exercises can provide a multitude of health benefits.
Plyometric exercises are challenging and ideal if you're short on time. You can design an effective 15- to 20-minute, high-intensity workout with a combination of such exercises as jumping jacks, squat jumps, lunge jumps, squat-thrust jumps, mountain climbers and high knees. For a boot camp-style training session, perform each exercise for one minute with a 30-second recovery between exercises. Rest for three minutes after completing the first set, and then complete two more sets.
A simple way to get a thorough cardio workout at home with minimal equipment is by jumping rope. Regardless of the length of time you devote to this activity, you'll get a total-body workout that helps develop lean muscle tissue and burn fat. Jumping rope is challenging and requires balance, coordination, timing and endurance. By keeping your jumps short, you'll avoid generating a high impact to your joints.
Hill sprints can be done on a steep driveway or hill in your neighborhood. Start at the bottom of the hill and sprint to the top as fast as you can. Use your walk back down the hill for recovery. As soon as you reach the bottom, quickly sprint back up the hill. Include different workouts that involve short and long hills to add variety to your routine. Additionally, sprinting engages and strengthens your abs, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and glutes.
Interval training is a combination of high- and low-intensity exercise performed for a set time during a workout. High-intensity interval training workouts burn more calories than traditional high-intensity exercises or endurance training workouts. A simple starting point is on the street in front of your house. Power walk or jog for 30 seconds, and then walk at a slower pace for 30 to 60 seconds as a recovery. As you become stronger, sprint or run for your high-intensity exercise and then power walk or jog for your low-intensity exercise. Each workout should last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.