Most of us gravitate towards cardio workouts as the fastest weight loss method. We sweat it out, feel the rush of endorphins, feel like we’ve achieved a week’s worth of exercise, and proceed to swallow a week’s worth of carbs to rewards ourselves.

Cardiovascular health, or cardio for short, helps keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy. Since you’re using your major muscle groups, cardio consumes a lot of oxygen, making you sweat and pant.

And cardio isn’t just for females. The common sight of the females dominating the cardio corner with the treadmills and ellipticals in the good old days when gyms were still open isn’t all there is.

Many cyclists/triathletes have found comfort in Zwift, a popular online platform where they can ride with their friends as well as others around the world. Most of us, however, are scrambling for more cost-friendly methods as we incorporate exercise into our revamped lifestyles.

For those of us without treadmills or bicycle trainers at home, these are some no-frill options to leave a sweat angel on your floor/yoga mat.

Stationary/cardio workouts

  • Skip rope

Remember your elementary school days when PE classes focused on nailing our coordination skills? This deceptively simple, monotonous exercise is one of the best old-school methods of getting your heart pumping. Not only does it train your aerobic system, but you also learn to be light on your feet, especially if you want to challenge yourself with an increased revolution.

  • Dance

On the other side of Tiktok that doesn’t spawn react videos of cringe Tiktok clips, there are dance tutorials that can get you working up a sweat as you try to emulate the cool-looking routine. Not only do you get in your cardio, but you now have something under your belt when you’re asked: “So what’s a hidden talent that no one knows about?”

You can try this Tiktok dance first!

  • Household chores (it’ll be good to explain how many calories this burns)

If you don’t have a Roomba, mopping or vacuuming the floor is a great option for a basic workout if you’re rained in. You’re shifting furniture, you’re lugging a weight of a vacuum cleaner around (unless you own a lightweight handheld Dyson), your arms are getting one heck of a workout as you circle around the rooms. 

Cleaning can burn up to 170 calories an hour. No more excuses for getting out of cleaning your room now!

HIIT/Tabata

Wanna replace your track/pool intervals? Workouts like this hit your heart rate in spikes. They also torch calories faster and improve your oxygen uptake. Here are some kinds of interval workouts:

  • Some combo of burpees, kettlebell swings, lunges, mountain climbers, etc.
  • Tabata: shorter duration compared to HIIT, eg 20s on, 10s off within 4mins. Be prepared to hit your max HR!
  • HIIT: multiple rounds of the same exercises, short burst of high intensity followed by low intensity.

If you don’t know how to do a HIIT stationary workout? YouTube channels like MadFit and Popsugar Fitness have online classes that you can follow.

Yes, cardio may appear to be the most efficient method of weight loss. Seeing a lower number on the scale right after a sweat sesh means you were productive in the last hour, right?

But what weight are you losing? Muscle is the first thing to burn when your body has limited fuel choices. If your muscles have low cardiovascular endurance, you will take longer to work off calories and fats during exercise.

This is why it’s important to strike a balance between cardio and strength training. The two complement each other, so while the number on the scale may not drop as fast you’d like, it counts towards a more sustainable fitness regime in the long term.