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Beginner Cardio WorkoutBeginner Cardio Workout


Perform each of these low-impact exercises for 60 seconds. One round of these exercises completes a six-minute workout. Do two to five rounds. As your fitness improves, incorporate the tips for increasing intensity for a more challenging workout.


Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend at the knees as you sit back like you are about to sit in a chair. Raise to the starting position. Inhale as you drop and exhale as you push up.

Intensity tip: Hold a weight to your chest or jump as you push out of the squat position.

March in place

Raise the knees high. Keep the stomach pulled in and pump the arms.

Intensity tip: Transition to a jog in place.

Side step

Take a big step to the right and then step back to the left. Repeat the side step as quickly as possible.

Intensity tip: Hold a weight to your chest as you perform side steps.

Walk forward and back

Walk forward four steps and then walk backward four steps. Pump the arms as you move up and back.

Intensity tip: Try jogging forward and back.

Front kicks

From a standing position, alternate kicking your legs in front of you. Begin with low kicks, about shin height.

Intensity tip: Try higher kicks. Extend the leg parallel to the floor. Add a hop with each kick.

Arm raises

Start in a standing position with your arms at your sides. Use a proud posture with your shoulders back. Bend the elbows and raise your hands to your shoulders. Now push both hands out in front of you with your arms parallel to the floor. Bring your hands back to your shoulders. Then raise your hands over your head. Return to the starting position. Repeat pushing the arms out in front and overhead.

Intensity tip: Try adding weights or lower body movements like front kicks or jogging in place.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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