Many people believe that workout machines are the best way to get a cardio workout in. However, whether you are paying a monthly fee for a gym membership or buying the equipment yourself, this can be a costly endeavor. Instead, try these easy (and free!) exercises that don’t require a bulky machine or a trip to the gym—they're just as effective as anything you'll find there.
This is a really good way to get your heart pumping and get your workout started. Jumping up and down, alternating arms outstretched over your head and feet spread apart with arms down by your side and feet together for at least two minutes is a great, simple cardio exercise to try.
You can make this exercise more difficult by adding the weight of dumbbells in your hands and holding them as you jump and move your arms.
Figure Eight Lunges
Begin this exercise by standing with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Then, step back with your right leg into a lunge position while you sweep your arms down and across your left hip.
Next, quickly step your right foot back up to your left foot and swing your arms up over your head before repeating the exercise with your other leg.
Do this 20 times as fast as you can. Your arms will appear to make a figure eight pattern if you are performing the exercise correctly. You can make this exercise more challenging by adding dumbbell weights in your hands, as well as jumping up and down as you are switching arms and legs.
Plank Squat Hops
Begin in a traditional plank pose, with your feet together and abs braced tightly. Then, bend your knees and quickly jump forward, landing in a deep squat with your toes just outside of your hands. Finally, jump back out to the plank position and repeat 20 times as quickly as you can.
If this workout is too difficult at first, you can start by putting your hands on a sturdy chair or a low box to make the jumping in and out of the squat position a little easier.
Like jumping jacks, jumping rope is a great way to get some cardio in. You can start by jumping slowly and gradually speeding up until you can manage jumping for 20 minutes at a time or more. While this exercise is not necessarily free, jump ropes are very inexpensive and can be used for many other types of exercises as well.
One of the other exercises that jump ropes can be used for is the line hopping. This exercise involves stepping or hopping sideways over a straight jump rope for at least two minutes at a time.