8 min read
At-home cardio workouts for men
Cardio has a myriad of health benefits, including supporting heart health, reducing blood sugar levels and burning calories. From indoor cycling to treadmill running and HIIT, you can get an effective cardio workout without even having to leave the house.
We all know that cardio exercise is essential, but it’s not always easy finding time to go to the gym, and some people struggle with high-impact cardio exercises such as running. The good news is that you can still achieve an active lifestyle by practicing cardio exercises at home. This blog talks you through effective home cardio workouts for men—as well as how to perform them correctly.
What is cardio?
Cardio is a type of exercise that challenges your circulatory and cardiovascular systems. Some popular cardio exercises include jogging, cycling, rowing, and jumping jacks.
Cardio exercises elevate your heart rate, pumping more blood around your body and increasing your respiration rate to improve the oxygen supply to the blood. Cardio works the large muscles repetitively and rhythmically, which benefits the internal body organs and their functioning.
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week and at least 75 minutes of vigorous cardio activities.
Cardio exercises are broadly classified into 3 categories:
When cardiovascular exercise involves both feet leaving the ground at one time, it is considered high-impact cardio or weight-bearing training.
When one foot remains on the ground while performing cardio workouts, it is known as low-impact cardio. These are also considered weight-bearing exercises, helping to maintain a healthy heart, lungs, and bones.
No-impact cardio is a type of exercise that minimizes stress on joints, muscles, bones, and tendons by decreasing the jarring impact effects of gravity linked with moderate- to high-intensity cardiovascular activity.
Benefits of cardio exercises
Cardio exercises come with a whole host of health benefits: supporting heart health, reducing blood sugar levels, improving mood, promoting better sleep, burning calories, and more.
Proven benefits include:
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Regulates blood sugar levels
- Reduces the chance of breathing problems
- Reduces chronic pain
- Improves sleep
- Regulates body weight
- Helps maintain a healthy weight and BMI
- Strengthens your immune system
- Improves brain power
- Boosts your mood
Top cardio exercises for men at home
One of the most effective cardio exercises is cycling. But leaving home can be difficult if the weather is bad or you have a busy schedule. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to stop you from getting in a cycling workout…
Indoor cycling is a great low-impact cardio exercise, and CAROL Bike is designed to get you fittest, fastest.
CAROL Bikes are stationary bikes built to be used indoors. They offer short, scientific workouts that provide double the fitness benefits of regular steady-state cardio in just 10% of the time.
Treadmills are one of the most popular cardio machines, allowing you to walk or run indoors. They provide an effective cardio workout, working the entire body, and are a popular choice for those looking to get in a cardio workout from home.
Note that owing to their high-impact nature, which places strain on the joints, treadmill workouts carry a risk of injury. Therefore, they are not an ideal option for those who experience knee or joint pain.
High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is favored for its efficiency—you can improve fitness, and burn a lot of calories, in a short time. While the exercises vary, HIIT workouts always consist of short, high-intensity intervals alternated with periods of recovery.
Here, we have split out HIIT cardio exercises according to fitness level, from beginner to intermediate and advanced. If you’re just starting on your exercise journey, it’s important to pace yourself and allow time for your muscles to fully recover between cardio workouts.
To begin with, you may want to start with the easy exercises and then work through to the tough ones. This will help increase strength and stamina, as well as making the workout more enjoyable as a whole.
If you're new to HIIT, begin by doing 10–20 minutes, 2–3 days a week. Speed is not important in the beginning: the goal is just to increase your heart rate consistently.
Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds, and repeat 3 times.
Here are a few beginner moves for you to try at home.
Remaining in one place:
- Stand with your feet together and arms by your side.
- Lift your right knee as high as your chest, lower it and lift the left knee while moving your arms, similar to running on the ground.
- Continue this with alternate legs and pump your arms up and down.
- Take a 20-second break after every exercise set to replenish your energy level.
Consider this the opposite of high knees. Lift your heels toward your butt and keep doing it with alternate heels:
- Keep your legs together and arms folded in front of your body.
- Bring one heel to touch the butt, bring it down, and bring the other heel up.
Add lateral shuffles to your exercise routine:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your waist and hips slightly, and lean forward.
- Extend your right foot to the side, move your body and the left foot towards the right, and vice versa.
- Do it on both sides the same number of times and distance.
Cardio exercises can be fun if done with proper procedures. Crab walk is a total-body workout that strengthens the upper arms, back, core, and legs:
- Sit on the floor, bend your knees, and keep your feet flat. Place your hands on the floor under the shoulders with your fingers pointing in the forward direction.
- Lift your hips, walk backward using your arms, and keep your weight evenly distributed between your arms and legs.
Jumping jacks can improve your fitness level and are a full-body workout:
- Put your left leg and right leg together and your arms at your sides.
- Bend your knees, jump and open your legs wide apart, more than shoulder-width, and lift your arms overhead.
- Jump to the center, touch the floor, and repeat.
Aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio, 3–4 days per week.
Repeat each exercise for 30 seconds, with 20 seconds rest, and repeat 5 times.
The beginner level builds endurance and strength in the body to move on to the intermediate level.
The regular squat targets the lower body, but adding a jump makes it a high-intensity exercise:
- Stand in a squat position, keeping your feet and shoulders width apart and bending your knees.
- Swing your arms back, jump, and return to your squat position.
There’s no reason for jumping rope to remain just a fond childhood memory—it is a great cardio workout to perform at home:
- Stand with your feet together, holding the rope handles in either hand.
- Whenever your arms bring the rope near your feet, jump to allow it to pass smoothly.
If you do not have a rope, you can still carry out the exercise as though you are using one.
Plank jacks help strengthen your chest, abdominals, back, shoulder, and arm muscles:
- Get into the plank position by extending your arms and hands under your shoulders, keeping your feet together, and balancing your whole body weight on the hands. Your body from head to toe should be in a straight line.
- Jump with both feet wide apart as if doing a horizontal jumping jack.
- Bring your feet back together and stay in the plank position.
- Continue this exercise by keeping your arms steady and not letting your hips drop.
Plank side taps
This exercise helps you burn calories rapidly:
- Get in a plank position like the previous exercise.
- Engage your abs or core to hold your body weight.
- Step 1 foot to the side, return to the center, then step the other foot out; continue doing this.
This cardio exercise mainly targets your lower body, including hips, thighs, calves, and shins:
- Place a knee-high box in front of you.
- Bend your knees and hinge forward, keeping the back flat. Swing your arms and jump onto the box.
- Gently land on the box, lean forward slightly, and jump back off the box.
Now you are ready for high-intensity exercises. Let's move to the advanced level.
If you are ready to take the challenge of advanced cardio moves, try the following exercises. Repeat each exercise for 45 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, and repeat 15 times.
For those with an advanced fitness level, aim to do 4x moderate–high intensity cardio workouts per week.
Add mountain climbers to your exercise routine and let your leg muscles feel the difference, along with the whole body. Think of it like running, but horizontally. To start, take it slow and gradually pick up speed:
- Put your hands under the shoulders, balance your body on your hands and feet, flatten your back, and keep your core tight.
- Lift one knee to your chest and quickly switch to the other knee while the other foot balances your core.
Plank ski hops
These are also known as plank skiers. They combine planks and rotational jumps to challenge your strength and endurance:
- Take a high plank position, keeping your shoulders above the wrists, your toes touching the ground, and balancing your body straight.
- Jump with your feet together to the right side, rotate, and bring your knees outside your right elbow.
- Jump back into a plank and repeat it on the left side.
This move combines jumps, squats, and body twists, firing up your muscles and heart rate:
- Stand with your feet together.
- Jump into a squat, land with bending knees, spread your feet wider than shoulder-width, and toes pointed slightly out. Rotate your waist to reach your left hand up and right hand to the floor.
- Jump back to the initial position before jumping into another squat while reaching your right hand up and left hand down.
These tried and tested cardio exercises will help you burn calories and build your health and fitness. As with any new fitness routine, remember to listen to your body and take things at a comfortable pace.
You can experience the world’s most effective exercise bike, CAROL Bike, for yourself with a 100-day home trial and free delivery. Find out more here.
What is the best cardio exercise?
Cycling, running, jumping rope, squats, and HIIT exercises are some of the best cardio workouts. However, CAROL Bike delivers double the fitness benefits of regular steady-state cardio, in just 10% of the time. Read more about the science behind CAROL Bike here.
What does 10 minutes of cardio do?
While 10 minutes of daily cardio exercise will come with health benefits, adults are generally recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. Short on time? With CAROL Bike, all you need is 5 minutes, 3x a week. And you can improve your cardio fitness by 12% in just 8 weeks.
Improving your VO2max by 12% is like turning the clock back on your age by 10 years.
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