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I’m a Cardio Specialist and You Should Be Doing *This* to Spike Your Heart Rate Every Day

Zoe Weiner

Zoe WeinerJune 19, 2020

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When you’re stuck at home with an entire Netflix queue to finish, getting moving can often feel a lot more easily said than done (there are 317 Grey’s Anatomy episodes on there, after all). But according to a cardio pro, the best way to spike your heart rate every day doesn’t require lacing up a pair of sneakers or hopping on a spin bike—all you really need to do is take a walk around the apartment.

We all know how important it is to get a daily dose of cardio. “Aerobic exercise has many health benefits including improving your lung function, increasing the strength of your heart and maximizing the efficiency of your skeletal muscles, all of which make the body better at using oxygen,” says Noah Greenspan, PT, cardiovascular specialist and founder of the Pulmonary Wellness Foundation. Since oxygen is the “main energy currency” for all of our bodily functions, as he puts it, improving the way we use it is critical for our overall health.

The good news? According to Greenspan, there’s no one cardio exercise that’s going to work best for everyone—really, whatever exercise you’re going to commit to doing every day is the best one for you, but if he had to choose a winner, it would be walking.

While running, spinning and the likes are all undoubtedly great options for getting your heart rate up, walking is his pick for getting it done—productively—every day. “It is all-encompassing in that it is a full-body workout in which we use every muscle, organ, and system to perform,” he says. “And if you throw your arms into the mix? Even better.”

Taking a stroll around the block (while wearing a mask, of course) is certainly one way to do it, but there are also other easy ways to get those steps in without having to leave your house. Below, his favorite moves for getting an equipment-free walking workout—and a legit cardio burst—at home.

4 walking moves to do at-home to get your cardio every day:

1. Basic step: Unsurprisingly, this move is about as basic as it gets. “When the music starts, get to stepping,” says Grenspan. He suggests walking in place at a comfortable pace, raising your knees halfway to your waist and focusing on deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. To make it a full body workout, be sure to engage your core and swing your arms as you move.

2. High step: Think of this as a slowed-down version of high knees. “It’s similar to the basic step, but this time, your knees will come all the way up to waist level,” says Greenspan. Continue to focus on engaging your core, taking deep breaths, and holding you head, neck, and shoulders back in proper posture.

3. Side step: This one will get your body moving laterally. “Step your right leg out to the right and meet it with your left foot, then step your left foot out to the left and meet it with your right foot,” says Greenspan. Lateral movement is important for improving knee stability and helping to avoid pain, so this move is great on its own or as a warmup for any other type of workout.

4. Squat step: Amp up your side step by adding a squat into the mix. “As you step your right leg out to the right, you will squat down about halfway, and as you meet it with your left foot, you will return to the standing position,” says Greenspan. “Then as you step your left foot out to the left, you will squat down about halfway, and as you meet it with your right foot, you will return to the standing position.” By the time you finish a few reps, your glutes will be on fire.

Want another low-impact cardio workout you can do at home? Follow along with the video below. 

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