Fitness Articles

60-Second Cardio Moves

Fast Exercises You Can Do Anywhere!

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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

  • Full on jumping is a no no because of my fake knees. Jacks can be modified by quickly moving one leg out to your side in line with your body then bringing it in before you do the same with your other leg. Traditional arm movements can be done, or you can start with your arms over your head...right beside by your ears. Simply pull both arms down until your hands are at your shoulders...then quickly return so this is done with each leg movement. (Thanks Jessica Smith for teaching me how to do this!) The goal is to jack up your heart rate without stressing any joints! Elevating our heart rate is crucial for cardiovascular health; doing one of these moves during a commercial break seems like a good idea. After 60 seconds just walk around the room until your breathing returns to normal. - 1/24/2016 9:17:25 AM
    If you can't jump doing jumping jacks, just move feet out to the sides but don't jump.
    - 1/20/2016 5:36:33 PM
    can do most, working on mountain climbers. Hard on my wrists. - 1/20/2016 5:34:56 PM
  • Burpees, jumping jacks, jump rope - 10/30/2015 7:42:04 AM
  • These are some fun and effective moves! Thanks for the great article, photos, and idea. - 9/24/2015 7:53:19 PM
  • As soon as my knees are replaced, I'll be doing these. Now it's just walking at work (with my cane), isometrics and upper body strength training with a 5# weight.

    Sigh. - 6/6/2015 1:41:54 PM
  • Jumping jacks are a high-impact move. Both feet are leaving the floor at the same time. How about an exercise for those of us who can't jump due to physical limitations? - 5/22/2015 1:04:48 PM
    I am grateful for the low impact level of your exercise options. Being just diagnosed with a rare disease that has literally killed my ankle bones I cannot do any jumping-type exercise, but need to get this weight off to help keep my ankles from collapsing. Thank you greatly. - 5/11/2015 10:55:11 AM
  • Great idea with moves that are easy to learn and remember. Thanks Spark People! - 5/9/2015 9:38:23 AM
    These are very helpful. With a bit of a wonky lower back and being 71, I'll modify a few, but breaking out short intervals is doable, even for 'geezer' thanks - 4/21/2015 11:29:04 PM
  • 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

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