8 Cardio Exercises For A Gym-Free Workout

Busy lifestyles often leave no room to go to the gym. That is often a chore in itself – changing, packing and then making the trip just doesn’t fit into some schedules.

Sometimes, what you need is a quick workout that doesn’t require you to prepare a whole duffel bag or drive half a mile just to work out in a crowded gym with no space.

On that note, here’s a look at the eight best cardio exercises for a gym-free workout:

Best Cardio Exercises For A Gym-Free Workout

1) Running: Running is the best exercise you can do outside the gym if you’re looking to burn a few extra calories.

It’s an exhilarating form of cardio that strengthens your joints, builds muscle in your glutes, claves and quads, and is extremely rewarding.

Even a quick 20-minute jog can burn around 220-250 calories. Running helps you break a quick set, and the best part is that you can do it (almost) anywhere.

2) Uphill Sprints: If running on flat surfaces is too mainstream for you, and you’re looking to spice things up, try uphill sprints.

Not only will they completely obliterate your energy levels, but they will also leave your legs sore and burning for the rest of the day – all the ingredients for a killer workout.

Unlike running, which requires you to maintain a steady, consistent pace for a prolonged period of time, uphill sprints are a form of cardio that allow you to run in short, explosive bursts of pace, followed by rest, before going again.

The uphill incline makes your running platform challenging and steep, putting your legs to the ultimate test, while spiking your heart rate.

For this exercise, find a hill that’s not too steep, and sprint for about 7-10 seconds, before taking a 20-30 second break to bring down your heart rate.

3) Jump Rope/Skipping: A popular cardio exercise, jumping rope burns a substantial amount of calories.

It saves time and is convenient, as it requires next to nothing to perform. All you’re going to need is a rope and a small, flat surface.

Jumping rope, especially at high speeds, can really challenge you, as it is a form of high-intensity training, spiking your heart rate.

It keeps you on your toes (literally) and also improves your hand-eye coordination. You can try and jazz things up by performing different variations.

Try doing it one-legged, or perhaps criss-cross. Whatever you do with a jump rope, you’ll surely burn calories.

4) Swimming: What better place to burn calories other than the gym? The pool, of course.

Swimming offers a ton of benefits, such as improved lung capacity, stronger arms and stronger calves, and burns a tremendous amount of calories.

It’s truly one of the most enjoyable and rewarding forms of cardio. The best part is that while you’re refreshing yourself in the cold pool water, you’re also burning calories, and the lack of sweat makes that anything but apparent.

Whether you’re jumping in for a quick dip or for a full-fledged 20-lap swim, you’re bound to burn calories in the pool, all while having a great time.

5) Stair Running: It’s a real-world, practical solution to your cardio problems.

Every building has stairs, but not everyone uses stairs to work out. In hindsight, running up and down stairs is a no-brainer as a cardio exercise but so often overlooked due to the abundance of cardio machines in modern gyms.

(Yes, including the stair-climber, a machine that simulates thd same exercise.) Running up a flight or two of stairs is a great functional exercise for a number of reasons.

Firstly, you can get a quick workout while climbing the stairs to a place you need to go to, burning a few extra calories and keeping you active throughout your day.

Secondly, you’d save time that would otherwise be wasted while waiting for a lift, which would consume an enormous amount of electricity to take you up to the floor you wish to go to.

So by running up stairs, you’d be killing two birds with one stone – time and electricity. That makes it an exercise with health and environmental benefits – the perfect package.

6) Brisk Walking: While it may seem like running, slower brisk walking can pull its own weight against some of the more intense cardio exercises on this list.

It’s a more relaxing and enjoyable form of cardio, as you’re not working out in bursts or running at a fast pace for a long time.

Instead, you’re working at a pace that works for you and maintaining that for a long period of time. An hour-long brisk walk can easily burn anywhere from 400-600 calories, depending on your pace.

7) Cardio Circuit: A simple, no-equipment, no-hassle cardio circuit is the perfect option if you’re looking for a quick calorie burner.

There are hundreds of exercises you can add to the mix when designing a cardio circuit. Ideally, try to select a balance of your strengths and weaknesses, so that you have exercises you’re good at and also ones you can improve on.

A simple cardio circuit would look like:

  • Jumping jacks: 30 reps.
  • Burpees: 25 reps.
  • Jump Squats: 25 reps.
  • High knees: 40 reps.

Perform this circuit several times, as per your energy levels. Try and change things up if you’re bored; the possibilities are endless.

8) Sports: Sports, team sports to be specific, are incredibly fun and help burn a substantial amount of calories.

They offer great versatility and are an enjoyable form of cardio. Sports like football/soccer, basketball, tennis, etc. engage your lower body and core, making for a solid full-body exercise.

A 90-minute session will burn a whopping 1200+ calories, if performed at a high intensity.


There are countless exercises you can do outside the gym – the world is your oyster.

Be creative, and try to think outside the box, and you’ll get ideqs you never would have thought of otherwise.

Work smart, and try to diversify your workouts as much as you can, and you’ll find that you’ll enjoy the process even more.

Q. Do you like cardio?

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