Cardio Workout: At-Home Weight-Loss Routine Designed for Small Spaces

Working out from the comfort of your own home can be a real godsend, saving you on both travel time and costly gym memberships. Still, as appealing as it sounds, it can be tricky to work out effectively, especially if you’re not blessed with a large living space — something that’s especially true for cardio workouts.

With a bit of creativity and know-how, it is possible to do an effective cardio workout at home. In fact, there’s a wide range of indoor cardio exercises that’ll do the trick in 30 minutes or less — plus, you’ll burn calories, strengthen muscles, and aid your weight loss or weight management goals. Keep reading and we’ll reveal all.

Below are some of the best cardio workouts to do at home — anytime, anywhere. Try these exercises in the morning (or whenever you have some free time), and you’ll be energized and empowered throughout your day. If you scroll down to the end, you’ll see we even threw in an 8fit-inspired cardio HIIT workout routine.

quick cardio workout at home

What is cardio exercise?

Cardio exercise, in essence, is a form of aerobic exercise that ups your heart rate, but intensity and length can vary depending on stamina and activity. Cardio activity gets our heart-rate up, as to pump more oxygen-rich blood all around our body and deep into your cells. This helps improve stamina, reduce the risk of heart disease, build muscular endurance and eliminate toxins to name a handful of positive physiological effects. The origins of the word cardio come from “cardiovascular” or “cardiorespiratory” training — which relates to our heart muscle and, just like any muscle you exercise, working it regularly will make it stronger.

Cardio helps with weight loss as it makes our muscles more efficient at consuming the available oxygen. So, as we become fitter, our muscles burn fuel more easily and we can then exercise longer and longer i.e. increase our stamina.

Best cardio workouts to do at home

Along with elements taken from HIIT training, the 8fit team put together some of our favorite cardio activities that’ll get your heart rate going — also demonstrating just how easy and effective it can be to do a cardio workout at home.

  • Cardio kickboxing: This all-in-one activity pushes you on every level. The rapid movements involved don’t just get you sweating and shedding those pounds, kickboxing also improves balance, coordination and even flexibility. In addition to all this, the stress relief it affords and the fact that you’re learning self-defense are pretty rad reasons to kickbox. On top that, regular sessions can increase your energy levels. So why not try it first thing in the morning and channel your inner Rocky Balboa in front of the mirror?
  • Dance: It doesn’t get more fun than dancing, and while you’re having oodles of fun serving up some fierce dance moves, you’re getting in a whole-body workout that burns as many calories as jogging. Though running and cycling are great workouts, they only target a specific part of your body — your legs. Also, as dance moves often require alternating between arms, legs, and glutes, the core is almost always engaged. Plus, few breaks means it’s one of the most fat-burning workouts around (now you know why dancers are so lean and toned). So, even if you don’t have the moves like Jagger, put that music on full blast and let loose!
  • Jump rope: Skipping rope is cheap, cheerful and calorie-burning! You probably remember this activity from your childhood, but how about giving it a go now? Jumping rope requires a lot of coordination and engages your arms, shoulders, back, quads, and abs at all times, and if you sneak in a few tricks, you can even target more muscles than that. The exercise is best suited to a big living room or a small garden. Make sure to move any objects from the vicinity and do not try this near small children or pets. Oh, and watch out for light fixtures and ceiling fans!
  • Stair climber: Another great cardio workout at home and an exercise that burns a ton of calories while building muscle and power is stair-climbing. Pushing that body up against gravity means you work on those legs in a functional way, which doesn’t have the same potentially damaging impact on your knees as running jogging. And since every staircase will eventually come to an end, you can rest as you walk back down – it’s a HIIT exercise in disguise. So get up those office building or house stairs now!

Now that you see how vital and beneficial these everyday activities can be, hopefully, you won’t forget to log these activities in your 8fit app!

8fit’s best cardio workouts to do at home

Jumping jacks

Count: One every time you return to start position

Muscles involved: Calves, quads, hamstrings, core, lats and shoulders

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet together and arms at your sides
  2. In one motion, jump your feet out to sides and your raise arms above your head
  3. Immediately reverse the motion back to starting position

Tips:

  • Keep your arms straight at all times
  • Stay light on your feet and jump as quietly as possible

Burpees

Count: One every time you return to start position

Muscles involved: Core, glutes, quads, calves, hamstrings, chest and triceps

How to:

  1. Begin standing, then squat down and place your hands on the floor outside by your feet
  2. Keeping your hands planted, jump your feet behind and land with straight legs
  3. Lower yourself down until your chest touches the floor with your elbows tight to your body
  4. Briefly keep your hands on the floor and use your hips to pop your feet back into a squat
  5. Explode up into a jump and land on your feet as softly as possible

Tips:

  • Keep your spine straight, neck long and shoulders back throughout
  • Complete the entire exercise with as much control as possible

Mountain climbers (knees to chest)

Count: Left and right as one

Muscles involved: Shoulders, chest, triceps, core, glutes and quads

How to:

  1. Place your hands on the floor directly under your shoulders, with your hips lifted, and extend your legs keeping your feet together and toes curled under
  2. Tense every muscle to keep your body in a straight line from head to heels throughout
  3. Keep your left foot straight out behind and pull your right knee in towards your chest
  4. Place your right foot back down behind and pull your left knee in towards the chest

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
  • Don’t hold your breath
  • Spread your fingers out and grip the floor to make slightly easier
  • To increase the intensity, execute the exercise rapidly, but remember correct form trumps speed

Jumps (knee tucks)

Count: One every time you return to start position

Muscles involved: Calves, quads, glutes, hip flexors, and core

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  2. Jump up and tuck both knees in towards your body — get your knees up as high as possible
  3. Land softly and immediately perform the next jump

Tips:

  • Try to keep your head/shoulders as level as possible
  • Land as quietly and as softly as possible

Skaters (fast)

Count: One every time you return to start position — alternate legs

Muscles involved: Glutes, hamstrings, calves and core

How to:

  1. Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart
  2. Jump sideways to the left, landing on your left leg, keeping the right leg raised off the floor and behind and passed your left leg
  3. Reverse the movement and jump to the right

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long and shoulders back — no slouching
  • Engage your core
  • Plant your foot firmly on the floor

Squats (dynamic)

Count: Left and right as one

Muscles involved: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core

  1. Stand straight with your shoulders above hips, feet hip-width apart, toes turned out slightly
  2. Quickly drop your hips back and down below parallel with your knees behind and hips and ankle in a line, so your knees don’t collapse inward
  3. Drive your weight into your heels to explosively jump up to center and softly land back to the start position

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from ears
  • Keep your shoulders above or behind your knees
  • Engage your abs and extend your arms in front for balance
  • To make the movement easier, squat with your feet wider apart

Try this simple cardio workout at home

Combine the previous exercises and turn them into an easy-to-do routine. Do 3-5 rounds of the following back-to-back:

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 skaters (fast)
  • 10 squats (dynamic)
  • 10 mountain climbers
  • 10 jumps (knee tucks)
  • 5 burpees

If this workout has tickled your curiosity and you want even more full-body, HIIT cardio workouts, sign up to 8fit Pro! Going Pro will give you access all workouts and over 700 nutritious recipes. You’ll be able to design your own personalized meal-plans and level-up your weight loss and management efforts and HIIT your target!