Beginner-Friendly Cardio Warm Up Low-Impact Feel-Good Exercises

10 Min • Total Body
  • View on YouTube
    • Training Type Cardiovascular, Low Impact, Warm Up/Cool Down
    • Equipment No Equipment


    This low impact cardio workout makes a great warm up leading into a more intense workout, and it also makes a great short standalone workout. The light total body cardio intervals get the blood flowing and the muscles warmed up and ready for more intense work. 

    A good warm up is essential for a good workout; it helps you push harder during your actual workout, and more safely than on cold muscles. You can imagine this general effect yourself by considering the way it feels to do 10 jump squats with totally warmed up lower body muscles and lungs, compared to 10 jump squats on cold muscles and lungs that haven’t been warmed up gradually — please note I don’t actually recommend trying it, because it won’t feel great and you could pull a muscle! There are a lot of different populations that actually benefit from a longer warm up (seniors, people with asthma, arthritis, joint issues, etc) so not only should you not skip your warm up, you may even want to consider lengthening it for better performance and a further decreased likelihood of injury. 

    The exercises in this routine have an emphasis on lower body driven cardio, but I’ve also added in upper body moves that are specifically meant to open up the chest and provide relief to the muscles that get most neglected after spending time sitting at a desk or on a couch. You can move quickly through these exercises in order to raise the heart rate and start warming up your lungs and muscles for more intense activity, or you can slow all of these motions down and turn them into a sort of dynamic active stretch.

    You won’t need any equipment for this workout at all, though you could always hold onto weights to step up the challenge of the intervals (as long as you’re already warmed up!). If the total body movements feel like a coordination challenge, don’t be surprised. If it proves too challenging on the coordination, I recommend taking just a second at the start of each interval to become familiar with the basic footwork, and then add in the arm movements. Move at whatever pace suits you, and feel free to change whatever you need to in order to make the exercises work for you. 

    Workout Structure
    No Equipment
    Low impact
    Makes a great warm up or standalone cardio workout
    10 Minutes, 6 Exercises
    Cool down not included

    Printable Cardio Workout: 40 Seconds on, 10 seconds off, twice through in an ABAB format
    A - Long Lateral Steps (+Curtsy Tap behind body) + Fly
    B - Pivot Steps + Rainbow Reach

    A - 2 Single Arm Circles + Step Back & Circle both Arms
    B - High Knees: 2 Curls + 1 Ventral Raise (Ventral Raise on every 3rd High Knee)

    A - 2 Slow Runner Pulls + Front Kick & Switch
    B - Heel Tap Behind Body + Toe Tap In Front + Arms

    I have always found that quick routines like this can help shake me out of a rut — that just a little bit of movement can make for quite a shift, mentally and/or physically. It’s just another good reminder that a smart workout is not always intense, lengthy, sweaty, or followed by sore muscles. 

    Do you implement workouts or short bouts of activity throughout your day, in order to wake up your mind and body? If so, how do you make it work? I’m interested to hear from those of you that work short routines into your day; what's your strategy?

    I hope you enjoy this new short cardio routine. Let me know what you would like to see next!