A quick cardio burst is a great way to get your body warmed up for a workout, or for a short and energizing break from work or studying during the day. Here are some of my favorite easy exercises for a bodyweight, full-body cardio burst, including low-impact modifications if you don’t like jumping or don’t want to bother people around you.
You can do as many of these moves as you like, and could either choose to do each move for a certain number (I’d suggest 16) or a certain time (30 or 45 seconds)! You could do them as a circuit with 30-45 seconds of each move with a 10-second rest in between for a full HIIT workout, or just do it once through as a warm-up or to add some cardio to any workout. There are so many cardio exercises out there, so this is just an example of some moves you can try. Another cardio exercise I like is burpees - well, actually I wouldn’t say I LIKE them, but I think they are a great full-body strength move! Sometimes I do enjoy them, even though they are challenging.
Jump Squats and High Knees
I like starting with some squat jumps for a cardio set! I do squats both with feet pointed forward and hips-distance apart, and with feet stepped out wide to the side and turned out (second position if you're a dancer). These really get your heart pumping and warm up your whole body, especially strengthening your lower body. You can hold your arms on your hips or in front of you, or move them in whatever way feels most natural and empowering. Try to keep your chest open when squatting down, rather than leaning forward, to help keep your weight in your heels.
For high knees, I like to bring my arms out in front of me and try to aim for tapping my elbow with my knee to motivate myself to really engage my core to lift my knee. You can do whatever feels best with your arms though.
For a low-impact version of the jump squats, simply take out the jump and come to stand. You can add an extra contraction (aka squeeze) of your glute muscles when you come to the top. For a low-impact version of the high knees, just march instead of jumping.
Try your best to keep your front knee over your front heel, so that your front leg forms a 90-degree angle when bent, rather than your knee going forward in front of your foot. You may find you need to bring your back leg farther behind you to do this, that is ok. This will help protect against straining your knee.
For a low-impact version, step instead of jumping. You can also add a pulse at the bottom with each switch for a challenge - this works either with jumping or stepping.
You can just draw your knee in towards your chest without running for a low-impact version. For either version, try your best to maintain a good plank form and keep your shoulders over your hands. You can also play around with bringing your knee towards your opposite shoulder for a little oblique work and core twist, instead of straight forward.
Plank Jacks and Heel Clicks
Again, focus on your plank form. For low-impact, step the feet out one at a time, and for a challenge, try stepping your feet slightly apart and jumping to tap your heels together in the air! When you do the heel tap, try to keep your legs as straight as possible. I laughed watching my video because it kind of looks like I’m trying to do the worm or something in the air, but it is quite a good challenging exercise!