Fitness Articles

60-Second Cardio Moves

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SparkPeople has always promoted the benefits of a 10-minute workout as a great way to start incorporating fitness into your life. Studies have shown that the benefits of 10-minute fitness bursts, including improved blood sugar control, can last for up to an hour after your workout ends!  
Whether you aim for just a few minutes at a time, several short workouts throughout the day, or cut yourself off at the 10-minute mark, we've got plenty of ideas for you to squeeze in cardio in as little as 60 seconds!
Here are 10 cardio moves you can use to build a custom workout that works for you and your schedule—no equipment required. There are several ways to approach this:
  • Choose one move to repeat for as long as you can sustain it (up to several minutes)
  • Try each move for 60 seconds, one after the next, resting between exercises if you need to.
  • Select one move to incorporate into a high intensity interval workout, shifting between max effort and low effort. For example, try the exercise at a fast rate for 20 seconds, followed by a slow to moderate pace for 40 seconds. Repeat the same move again (or try a new one) to extend your workout as long as you'd like.
  • You can mix up any number of moves to add up to 10 minutes. For example, go through five of your favorite moves, then repeat the series one more time.
  • Use these simple movements a minute at a time throughout your day for a fun (and caffeine-free) pick-me-up!
60-Second Cardio Moves

1. High Knees March in Place 
Starting Position: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed, and hands on your hips. 

Action: Breathe deeply as you march in place with high knees, driving your knee up toward the ceiling with each step. Keep your hands on your hips as your march. 

Special Instructions: Make sure you don't lean backward as you lift your knee each time. Lift your knees higher and/or march faster to increase the intensity. 

2. V-Steps
Starting Position: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed, feet together, arms at your sides, elbows bent. 

Action: Picture a V on the floor with your feet standing on the bottom point. Breathe deeply as you step forward and back with the following foot pattern while pumping your arms at your sides: left step (forward) to the left point of the V, right step (forward) to the right point of the V, left step (back) to the bottom point of the V, right step (back) to the bottom point of the V. Repeat. 

Special Instructions: For variety, you can also switch legs to lead with the right foot instead of the left foot (optional).You can increase the intensity of this exercise by taking bigger steps and/or moving more quickly. You can decrease the intensity by taking smaller steps, moving slower, and/or placing your hands on your hips. Continued ›
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • Ten minute increments of exercise are beneficial. For instance, 3 workout sessions 10 minutes each exercise...equal to 30 mins of exercise is beneficial. As your body strengthens you can work up to an hour. I hope I helped answer your question.

    :D - 4/17/2015 1:59:42 PM
  • Ok, we have some contradictory information here. SP talks about short workouts being beneficial, but in the next breath says that if you don't work out for an hour a day, you're not doing enough. So what's the truth? I've been asking this question and have never gotten an answer. - 2/10/2015 11:05:49 AM
    I exercise after work, but that wasn't a choice. - 6/16/2014 9:44:07 PM
  • Perfect timing! I'm trying to fit short bursts of exercise in first thing in the morning before leaving home. This will give me a nice variety, and I'll try to fit in the whole 10 min.

    Right now I'm doing squats while I brush my teeth, some wall pushups, and some crunch moves.

    Thanks so much!! - 4/9/2014 8:37:39 AM
  • thanks for putting this together Nicole, great idea for quick 10 minute cardio! - 12/9/2013 12:25:48 PM
  • Hey this looks great Nicole!
    Was looking for a group of exercises to mix up my routine,
    Will try these out.

    Thanks for the tips. - 12/7/2013 4:31:57 PM
  • I'll try this. I'll do everything except those mountain climbers. I will make up my own move to sub for that one. - 12/7/2013 11:00:29 AM
  • I love this 10 exercise cardio. I work at home and I can do each one for 1 minute and get 10 min of exercise. This warms me up and allows me to keep the furnance off during the day. It also gets the blood moving and I get more done than sitting on my butt all the time. It is so handy to have the video right next to the exercise, It makes it much more user friendly. Thank you! - 11/20/2013 8:16:59 PM
  • This was really cute! Thank you Smiles all - 10/10/2013 1:14:15 PM
  • might sound silly, but how do you know if your 'abs are engaged'? send me a msg if you have the answer. thanks. - 10/9/2013 2:31:20 PM
  • It is such a helpful post! Thank you so much SP! This is exactly what I need, I can do all of these, and they can be done in various combinations that makes the workout better. I will squeeze them in whenever I can. - 10/9/2013 1:39:04 AM
  • JMB369
    First a big compliment to SP for showing the videos right next to the exercises. Too many times these are available only by clicking a link, and after two or three, I get tired of the process.

    Second, I feel sorry for all the nay-sayers. Yes there are a few among us with chronic joint problems that cannot be fixed, but as several people noted, IF you slowly build the muscles, and IF you continue these exercises over a long period of time, you can give muscular support to the joints that need it, especially knees, ankles and hips. Losing some pounds helps, too! I know several people in my age group (over 65) who started with very limited mobility and chair exercises, who are now walking several miles a day.

    Also, I recommend that those with joint pain look into stretching exercises, especially those recommended by Pete Egoscue or right here on SP. Many times pain around the knee and hip joints is actually caused by tight muscles that are pulling on the joint. In the case of the knee joint, especially the quadriceps, the ham strings and the IT band. SP just had an article the other day on using a foam roller to release the IT band.

    My SO has progressed from sitting down after half a dance because of knee pain to dancing for several hours! This has been a 2-year process. But here we are -- dancing several times a week and taking ballroom dance lessons. BTW, he is 74 and I am 73,

    Stop kvetching and start moving! - 10/8/2013 10:22:42 AM
  • About a week ago I started walking/jogging in place as I fix my hair in the morning. The workout is between 12 and 15 minutes every morning. Can't believe it never dawned on me before to to this! And with winter comin' on, it warms ya up nicely! - 10/8/2013 9:24:46 AM
  • wow - this looks like so much fun!

    Making time for a workout is easy for me but I have such a sedentary job that I think I'm going to incorporate these into my day anyway. - 10/8/2013 6:46:02 AM
  • I'd like to see more quick cardio moves for those of us who can't stress our knees or move our legs the way most of these do!! Any upper-body or seated cardio moves? - 7/13/2013 3:24:23 PM

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