Fitness Articles

60-Second Cardio Moves

Fast Exercises You Can Do Anywhere!

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3. Reverse Disco Step 
Starting Position: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed, legs placed wider than the hips and feet turned outward. Place both hands on your hips. 

Action: Breathe deeply and reach your left arm across your chest at a diagonal toward the ceiling. Pull your left hand down and across the front of your body toward the floor as you tap your right toes behind your left foot. Return to the starting position and repeat on this side (pictured) OR switch sides repeatedly. 

Special Instructions: Move quicker and/or take larger steps to increase intensity. Slow down and make your movement smaller to decrease intensity. 

4. Step Touch with Double Punches 
Starting Position: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed and elbows pointing behind you, palms next to your waist. You can place a resistance band, measuring tape, jump rope or other long object on the floor next to you as a guide (optional). 

Action: Breathe deeply as you step-touch side to side while punching both arms forward on each step to the side and pulling them back in to the starting position on each tap (touch). 

Special Instructions: If using a guide on the floor, step across it each time and monitor your footwork to avoid tripping. Be sure to move laterally without twisting or rotating your body. The wider you step to the side and the faster you move, the more intense this exercise will become. 

5. Twisty Hop 
Starting Position: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed, legs together, arms at your sides, and elbows bent 90 degrees with your forearms parallel to the floor in front of you. From there, twist from the waist so that your torso (and arms) turn to the right and your lower body turns toward the left. 

Action: This movement combines a twist with a hop. From the start position, hop with both legs together and land so that your lower body now points toward the right and the upper body twists to the left. Hop again, landing in the start position and repeat, twisting to the opposite side during each hop. 

Special Instructions: Because of the twisting nature of this exercise, practice caution or avoid this exercise completely if you have any lower back or hip problems. Make sure your back is straight and your abs are engaged at all times. When twisting your upper and lower body should always point in opposite directions of each other. Focus on that twisting coming from the waist. Hopping higher and/or faster will increase the intensity of this movement. 

6. Jumping Jacks 
Starting Position: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed, arms at your sides, and feet together. 

Action: Hop out with both feet while extending your arms out, forming an X with your arms and legs. Hop back in to the starting position (legs together, arms at your sides). Repeat. 

Special Instructions: Be sure to land softly, keeping the knees slightly bent to reduce impact. Move more quickly to increase the intensity. 

7. Mountain Climbers 
Starting Position: Stand tall with your back straight, abs engaged, shoulders relaxed, legs together, and arms at your sides. Bend forward to touch the floor (bend knees if necessary), shift your weight into your hands, then jump or walk your legs behind you to start in a plank position (hands under shoulders, abs pulled in tight, body in a straight line). 

Action: Breathe deeply, keeping your back straight and abs engaged and "march" by bringing one knee toward your chest, return it to the floor, and then bring the opposite knee toward your chest. Repeat, continuously switching sides. 

Special Instructions: Keep your belly pulled in tight at all times and make sure your hips do not fall toward the floor or lift toward the ceiling as you move your legs. You can march in this position (pictured) for a lighter intensity or move more quickly into a jog or run to increase your intensity. 
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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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