10 Low-Impact Cardio Workout Ideas

You can grab a resistance band or hop in the pool.

Originally Published: 
Low-impact cardio workouts you can try for a good but gentle sweat.


Just because you want a low-impact workout doesn’t mean you have to remove cardio from the equation. According to trainer Macy Pruett, there are plenty of ways to get your heart rate up and improve cardio endurance without running or jumping. Here are a few routines to try.

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Dumbbell Workout

Pruett says this dumbbell routine is guaranteed to make you sweat — move through it as quickly as you can.

- Push-up, 1x.

- Mountain climbers, 4x.

- Romanian deadlift kick through, each leg 1x.

- Dumbbell skier swings, 40 seconds.

- Repeat 3x.



Shalama Jackson suggests interval training to build cardio endurance.

- Standing knee to chest, both legs 30 seconds.

- Rest 30 secs.

- Side step squats, 30 secs.

- Rest 30 secs.

- Reverse lunges, alternate legs for 30 secs.

- Rest 30 secs.

- Skaters, 30 secs.

- Do 3x.

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Interval Walk

You can also do intervals while you walk, says coach Jessica Smith.

- Warm up, 3 minutes.

- Speed walking, 30 seconds.

- Easy walking, 30 seconds.

- Repeat for 12 intervals.

- Walk on incline, 30 seconds.

- Walk flat, 30 seconds.

- Repeat for 12 intervals.



Have access to a pool? Trainer Jesse Feder calls swimming the “gold standard” of low-impact workouts.

- Freestyle swim, 25 meters.

- Breaststroke, 25 meters.

- Backstrokes, 25 meters.

- Repeat 3 times.



Rowing boosts the heart rate without high-impact movements that place strain or stress on your joints, Feder says.

- Row 100 meters at a 2-minute pace.

- Rest for 30 seconds.

- Repeat this circuit 5 times.



Add 15 seconds of rest between each round, says trainer Heather Carroll.

- Split squat + dumbbell tricep dips, 45 secs.

- Side shuffles, touch floor on each side, 45 secs.

- Squat, press weights out at shoulder height, 45 secs.

- Star crunches, 45 secs.

- Repeat 3x.



Trainer Joseph Sudimack says this routine will hit all the major muscle groups and improve cardio health.

- Push-ups, 15 reps.

- Air squats, 15 reps.

- Bridges, 15 reps.

- Planks, 30 seconds.

- Snow angels against wall, 30 seconds.

- Do 2-3 sets.



Carroll also recommends this full-body Pilates workout to train the core and get the blood pumping.

- Toe taps, 15x each side.

- Double leg stretch, 15x.

- Teasers, 15x.

- Saw, 15x.

- Clamshells, 30x each side.

- Reverse crunch, 25x.


Resistance Band

Trainer Laura Thomas likes this routine. Add a band for extra resistance.

- Bodyweight squats, 8-10 reps.

- Row with resistance band, 1 minute.

- Lunges, 5 reps per leg.

- Dead bugs, 5 reps.

- Repeat 2 sets.


Full Body

This routine builds strength, coordination, and cardio, says trainer Hannah Daugherty.

- Inchworm to push-up, 12x.

- Back lunge to front kick, 12x.

- Mountain climbers, 12x.

- Plank up-downs, 12x.

- Bear crawls, 12x.

- Plank with alternating side toe taps, 12x.

- Do 3x.

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