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5 Easy Home Exercises to Get Your Heart Pumping

May16th 2020

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate cardiovascular physical activity. As discussed in last week’s blog, many of us aren’t reaching that standard and it puts us at risk for health complications and cardiovascular disease.

We all know that cardio takes time. In fact, one of the most common complaints we hear from patients who come to us for physical therapy exercises is that there simply isn’t enough time in their busy days to complete cardio workouts. Other times, whether there’s a time constraint or not, many people report a lack of self-motivation simply because they can’t stand the thought of doing cardio.

These at-home cardio exercises are perfect for days when you are stuck at home. It will only take you 10-15 minutes, so you can get it done and get on with your day. By incorporating some strength training moves with our cardio we actually increase our metabolism even more for a more efficient calorie burn.

EASY CARDIO EXERCISES YOU CAN DO AT HOME

1. JUMPING JACKS

A basic, cardiovascular exercise that can be done in limited space.

How to do jumping jacks:

  1. Stand upright with your legs together, arms at your sides.

    1. Bend your knees slightly, and jump into the air.

    2. As you jump, spread your legs to be about shoulder-width apart. Stretch your arms out and over your head.

    3. Jump back to starting position.

    4. Repeat.


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1. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

Mountain climbers are an excellent way to engage all the major muscles in your body and get your heart rate pumping.

How to do mountain climbers:

  1. Assume the position of a push up or plank.

  2. With arms and legs straight and long.

  3. Engage your core and bring one knee into your chest and out again, now perform the same action with your opposite leg for one rep.

  4. Alternate legs bringing in your knees as if running into your chest.

  5. Keep your upper body nice and straight.

  6. Complete 20 reps for one set and attempt 3 sets as part of your workout.


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3. CHAIR SQUATS

How to do chair squats:

  1. Stand in front of a chair with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your knees over your feet.

  2. Slowly lower your buns toward the chair without actually sitting down. …

  3. Keep your knees over your ankles and place your weight in your heels throughout the full range of motion.

  4. Straighten your body upright and repeat.


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4. STEP UPS

The step-up is a great all-around exercise for the lower body. It is perfect for all exercisers since it can be modified to create a killer workout for anyone, whether you have just started exercise or have been training for years. It has a low risk of injury and, with a few adjustments, offers a good cardio, strength, or balance workout.

How to do step ups:

  1. Hold dumbbells in your hands or a barbell across your shoulders.

  2. Step up with the right foot, pressing through the heel to straighten your right leg.

  3. Bring the left foot to meet your right foot on top of the step.

  4. Bend your right knee and step down with the left foot.

  5. Bring the right foot down to meet the left foot on the ground.

  6. Repeat this for a specific number of repetitions, then lead with the left foot and repeat the same number of repetitions. A beginner may opt to do this for a set amount of time (one minute, for example), instead of a set number of reps.


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5. LATERAL SHUFFLES

How to do a lateral shuffles:

  1. Start standing with feet hip-distance apart and sink into a deep knee bend. Bring both hands in front of the chest in guard position.

  2.  Start with right foot moving right and left foot following.  Shuffle right for four right-left steps, then move left for four left-right steps.  Continue shuffling right left for the desired amount of time.

  3. Keep your core engaged the whole time and make sure your chest stays lifted. This will help you maintain proper form.


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