Below, you will find 10 low-impact cardio exercises you can do at home.
The exercises are perfect for days when you don’t have time to do a full workout, but you still want to get in some physical activity.
The first five exercises you will be doing are Modified Jumping Jacks, High Knees, Speed Skaters, Standing Bicycle Crunches, and Standing Alternating Toe Touches.
The other five are Standing Oblique Crunches, Lateral Shuffles, Crab Walk, Toe Taps, and Step-Ups.
The workout will take between 10 and 20 minutes, depending on how long you do each exercise, be that 1 minute, or 2 minutes. If you have 30 minutes to work out, do each for 3 minutes.
The moves will tone your entire body, make you stronger and fitter, burn calories, and energize you. They will also improve your flexibility and coordination. All can be performed pretty much anywhere there’s some free space.
You won’t need any fitness equipment to do the first eight exercises. The last two require a step or a sturdy bench or platform that is between 4″ and 12″ high. A low step will place the least impact on your joints and make the moves easier.
10 Low-Impact Cardio Exercises You Can Do at Home
Modified Jumping Jacks
Modified Jumping Jacks are one of the most basic low-impact cardio exercises you can do at home. They are a great warm-up exercise that accelerates the heart rate, boosts the circulation, and tones the abductors, the adductors, and the calf muscles.
Regular Jumping Jacks are high-impact, but they can be modified to make them low-impact as outlined in the method below.
1. Stand up straight with your arms by your sides and your feet approximately shoulder-width apart.
2. Step to the right with your right foot, raise your arms above your head with your palms facing forward, and keep most of your weight on your right foot.
3. Move your right foot back to its starting position, and lower your arms back to your sides.
4. Repeat movements 2 and 3 for the duration of the set, alternating feet.
High Knees is another of the most simple exercises you can do at home to tone and strengthen your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
It also offers excellent cardio benefits and burns as many as 510 calories every 60 minutes you spend doing it.
The movement is similar to jogging on the spot, which you can progress to as you become fitter.
1. With your chest up, your shoulders back and down, and your back straight, walk or jog on the spot.
2. Pump your arms back and forth, lifting your knees towards your chest as high as you can, with every step.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the duration of the set.
Modified Speed Skaters
Speed Skaters target the waistline, glutes, quads, inner and outer thighs, and provide cardiovascular, balance, and coordination benefits.
The movements resemble those made when skating, thus the name. To increase the challenge, jump lightly, rather than step.
1. Standing upright and with your knees and elbows slightly bent, and your hands clenched into light fists, engage your core muscles and bend forward at the waist, keeping your back straight.
2. Take a large step to the right with your right foot, then sweep your left foot across and behind it, bringing your arms across the front of your body to the left.
3. Immediately step to the left with your left foot, bringing your right leg across and behind it, and allowing your arms to travel across the front of your body to the right.
4. Continue this skating movement for the duration of the set, alternating sides.
Standing Bicycle Crunches
Standing Bicycle Crunches are one of the best low-impact cardio exercises for people who want to improve their balance and strengthen their core without straining their abs, neck, or shoulders.
The faster you go and the more effort put in, the better the cardio workout and the more calories you will burn.
1. Stand up straight and engage your core muscles, lift your hands to cradle the back of your head, and keep your elbows pointing out to the sides.
2. Lift your right knee up and across towards your left shoulder. As you do, twist your left-side upper body down, bringing it towards your raised knee.
3. Lower your knee and straighten your body so that you are back at your starting position.
4. Repeat movements 2 and 3, leading with your left leg.
Standing Alternating Toe Touches
Standing Alternating Toe Touches is a great cardio exercise that targets the arms, the legs, and the core.
1. Stand upright with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your arms by your sides.
2. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward, engage your core muscles, and lift your right leg straight up and out. At the same time, reach your left hand towards the toes of your raised right foot.
3. Return to your starting position, repeat the movement leading with your left leg, and reach your right hand towards your left foot.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the duration of the set.
Standing Oblique Crunches
Standing Oblique Crunches target the obliques (sides of the waist), the rectus abdominis, and the iliopsoas, which is a hip flexor muscle.
1. Stand up straight with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, your right arm held straight up above your head, and your left arm bent across the front of your body.
2. Bend your upper body straight down to the right, letting your right elbow move downwards and lifting your right knee up to meet it.
3. Return to your starting position and do the desired number of reps, before working your left side.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the duration of the set.
Lateral Shuffles are among the most simple exercises you can do at home. They increase the heart rate and target the quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calf muscles. They also improve side-to-side coordination.
1. Standing with your feet approximately hip-width apart, engage your core muscles, and bend your knees to lower your hips.
2. Lean slightly forward, keeping your chest high, bend your elbows, and hold your hands in front of your chest.
3. With your toes pointing forward, move your right foot to the right, then follow with your left foot. Shuffle to the right four times, then shuffle to the left four times, or take as many steps as your space allows.
4. Repeat step 3 for the duration of the set.
Crab Walk is an effective floor-based exercise that targets and strengthens the shoulders, triceps, quads, and abs. It also helps to improve balance and coordination.
1. Start by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat and approximately hip-width apart. Place your hands on the floor behind and directly beneath your shoulders with your fingers pointing forward.
2. Engage your core and lift your hips, and with your weight distributed, “walk” your arms and legs four steps forwards, then four steps backward, or as many steps as your space allows.
Continue walking back and forth for the duration of the set.
Modified Toe Taps
Toe Taps provide an aerobic lower-body workout that targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and core muscles.
A solid step or bench is required.
1. Stand upright in front of your step, with your chest up, your core muscles engaged, and your elbows bent. Position your right arm slightly behind you with your left arm slightly forward and make relaxed fists with your hands.
2. Lift and tap the toes of your right foot on the edge of the step, then immediately place your foot back onto the floor. Continue this movement, pumping your arms back and forth as you do.
3. Repeat step 2 for the desired number of reps, then lead with your left foot.
Step-Ups are another of the most effective exercises you can do at home to target your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. They also deliver a great cardio workout.
To do the exercise, you will need a step or a sturdy bench.
1. Begin by standing on the floor in front of the step with your feet and your hands on your hips. Keep your shoulders back, your chest open, and make sure that your active knee is at no greater than a 90-degree angle. Do not allow your knee to go further forward than your toes.
2. Lift your right foot fully onto the step, allowing your right hip and leg to support most of your weight. Push off with your left heel, lifting your foot to touch the step beside your right foot with your toes. Maintain this position momentarily, then put your left foot back onto the floor.
3. Repeat step 2 for the desired number of repetitions before working your left side.
Low-Impact Cardio Exercises you can do at Home Summary
The low-impact cardio exercises outlined above can be fitted into even the busiest of days. Do them sequentially, or slot them in throughout the day when you have a few minutes to spare.
Stick with the routine, and you will improve your fitness, muscle tone, flexibility and coordination, and, over time, lose weight.