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Beginner Cardio WorkoutBeginner Cardio Workout


Cardiovascular exercise improves heart health and burns calories making it an essential part of your fitness program. Start with exercise that is at the right intensity for your fitness level. As your fitness improves, you can increase the time or intensity to continue challenging yourself. Get started with this at-home, beginner cardio workout.

Perform each of these low-impact exercises for 60 seconds. One round of these exercises completes a 6 minute workout. Do two to five rounds. As your fitness improves, incorporate the tips for increasing intensity for a more challenging workout.


Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at the knees as you sit back like you are about to sit in a chair. Raise to the starting position. Concentrate on squatting quickly up and down to get the heart rate up versus lowering into a deep squat position.

Intensity tip: Jump into the air each time you push out of the squat position.

March in place

Raise the knees high. Keep the stomach pulled in and pump the arms.

Intensity tip: Transition to a jog in place.

Side step

Take a big step to the right and then step back to the left. Repeat the side step as quickly as possible.

Intensity tip: Hop side to side.

Walk forward and back

Walk forward four steps and then walk backward four steps. Pump the arms as you move up and back.

Intensity tip: Push the arms up and down overhead as you walk. Transition to jogging forward and back.

Front kicks

Kick your right foot out in front of you and then the left foot. Begin with low kicks, about shin height.

Intensity tip: Raise the knee high with each kick and extend the leg parallel to the floor. Add a hop with each kick.

Arm raises

Start with your arms at your sides. Bend the elbows and raise your hands up to shoulder level. Push both hands out in front of you with your arms parallel to the floor. Bend the elbows and bring the hands back close to the shoulders. Then raise your hands up over head. Return to the starting position. Repeat pushing the arms out in front and overhead. The more quickly you move, the more challenging the exercise.

Intensity tip: Add lower body movement like front kicks or jogging in place.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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