Workout Details

  • Duration: 31 Minutes
  • Calorie Burn: 146-248
  • Difficulty: 2/5
  • Equipment: Mat, No Equipment
  • Training Type: Low Impact, Pilates, Stretching/Flexibility
  • Video Player: View on YouTube
Body Focus Lower Body,  Total Body

Easy Pilates and Cardio Workout with Relaxing Cool Down — Active Recovery Workout

Tone, strengthen, and increase overall range of motion with this light workout that uses low impact total body cardio mixed in with Pilates intervals. I've provided many ways to modify this routine to work for many different fitness levels and goals, so whether you're brand new to exercise or just looking for an active recovery workout, I hope you'll enjoy this cardio and Pilates workout.

I personally love this routine. It makes me feel good, refreshed, and relaxed. It targets the glutes and thighs from multiple angles, involves total body movements during the cardio intervals, and calls upon balance, coordination, and bodily control. It's a beginner-level workout, but with deceptively sneaky nervous system and coordination challenges worked in. The workout is a manageable 30 minutes and includes a feel-good warm up cardio that gradually escalates, and a nice, relaxing cool down and stretch.

Related: 10 Beginner Workouts that you can do at home for free

For some people, this workout might be a walk in the park — a rest day workout. For someone at a different place in their fitness journey, this routine might feel difficult. Wherever you're at right now, make sure to keep your self talk positive as you move throughout this routine. Don't get mad or frustrated if an interval becomes difficult or your muscles and lungs start to fatigue. Just observe, "so this is where I'm at today." and be content and nonjudgmental with what you observe. You're here, you've shown up, and you've decided to move—and that's all that matters through the 30 minutes you're doing this workout.

Workout Challenge Level
The difficulty level of this workout is relatively versatile, but it is generally geared towards beginners, those needing a light/recovery/active rest day, and/or a workout for when maybe you're not feeling your greatest but want to move around so that you don't feel stiff and sluggish. This can even be a great workout when you have cramps (some people have found that light activity can even help relieve cramps). On the other hand, you can follow this same format and get in a sweaty cardiovascular challenge and a great butt and thigh workout, by making the low impact cardio exercises explosive/dynamic and using weights, resistance bands, or ankle weights.

Workout Structure
This is a bodyweight workout that can easily be made much more difficult by adding dumbbells, resistance bands, or ankle weights. The cardio warm up focuses on light total body movements. Next, we move through intervals of Pilates and low impact cardio exercises. Feel free to speed up or slow down, use more or less range of motion, do fewer or more repetitions, add weights, or drop them, etc. The cool down is a nice chance to slow down while doing some relaxing deep stretches.

Warm Up Cardio Workout - 30 Seconds Each
A lot of these warm up exercises play with breath work. If you're brand new to the moves, feel free to slow it down so that you can try and match movement with breath.

Stretch + March
Ventral Lift + Step
IT Stretch Steps
Chest Opener + Reach
Single Leg Walker + Arms 
Other Side
3 Marches + Kick
Rear Step + Press & Pulldown 
3 Step Side Lunges
Fly Jacks

Pilates and Cardio Workout - 45 Seconds Active, 15 Seconds Rest
Kneeling Reverse Leg Lift
Other Side
Hydrant + Extension (alternating)
Other Side

Side Lunge + Lift
2 Side Step Squats
Slow Jumping Jacks + Knee & Curl
Step/Lunge Forward + Ventral Raise

Water Break

Side Leg Raises
Other Side
Other Side

Single Leg Runner
Warrior Jacks
Press + 3 Point Step
Bird Dog

Cool Down and Stretch
A note about the cool down - this is a nice, relaxing, slow-paced cool down. We're intentionally in no hurry here. Take this time to focus on the fact that you showed up for a workout today. Then, try to clear your head, even if not just for the last few minutes of this routine. Throughout these relaxing stretches, you should also focus on your breathing. Aim for slow, even breaths that make both your belly and your chest rise. 

Cat to Cow
Cat to Cow Side Stretch
Prone Quad Stretch
Cobra Stretch
Kneeling Calf Stretch
Supine Single Leg Hamstring Stretch
Lying Torso Stretch
Full Body Stretch

I will definitely revisit this workout myself. In fact, I used it before it was published on YouTube - one of the perks of filming and editing your own workout videos, I suppose. Ha! 

If you know someone who is just getting started with working out and you think they might like this workout, please share!