Unless you’ve opted to invest in a foldable treadmill or trampoline, getting a cardio workout within the confines of your living room is no easy feat. But just because you’re not leaving the house doesn’t mean it’s not important to spike your heart rate on the reg. It’s actually even more important, since you’re likely moving less than you were in your pre-quarantine life, now that you’re stuck in your house all day.
The benefits of regular cardio are well-documented. Cardio is great for immunity, heart health, and your overall level of fitness. Plus, cardio workouts also flood your brain with oxygen and give you a rush of endorphins—which can have a significant impact on quieting stress (which, if you’re anything like me, is critically important right now). According to Segal, the best way to get them in—without a lot of space—is to start jumping around.
And now, more than ever, it’s critical to keep moving. “It is important to do these moves because remaining indoors for long duration of time can run the risk of a sedentary lifestyle, depression, and decreased immune system,” says Robert Segal, MD, Founder of Manhattan Cardiology. “Performing cardiovascular exercises can help resolved that but increases your mood, immune system, and cardiovascular system.” And according to Segal, the best way to get them in—without a lot of space—is to start jumping.
Pros agree that jumping exercises are a particularly great form of cardio because they require you to use a lot of energy—and some of the largest muscles in your body—to get yourself off the ground. The best part? You don’t need a single piece of equipment to do them. Here, Dr. Segal shares three jump-based cardio moves you should be doing every day to keep that cardio fitness in check.
The best cardio at home exercises, according to a cardiologist
1. Jump lunges
In addition to giving you a solid burst of cardio, jump lunges will also add a strength-training element for your muscles (particularly the ones you’ve been sitting on for hours on end). “This move can help strengthen your quadriceps, glutes, and core as well as increasing your heart rate,” says Dr. Segal.
2. Jumping jacks
Jumping jacks may seem basic, but there’s a reason why they’ve been such a longterm fixture on the fitness scene. They get your arms and legs moving simultaneously, which brings your body out of its usual plane of motion and gets your heart pumping. The move has also been found to improve bone density, which is even more of a reason to revisit this gym class fave.
3. Jumping rope
Embrace your inner child and go back to your favorite schoolyard workout. If you don’t have an actual rope to jump with, you can mimic the movement by swinging an imaginary one over your head and hopping over it when it “hits” the ground (bonus: there’s a much lower risk of tripping with this method).