10-Minute Total-Body Cardio Workout

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Everything you need for a fun, energizing workout is right here in this do-anywhere routine.

No matter your fitness goal, getting your heart pumping should be part of the equation. That’s because cardio exercise doesn’t just strengthen your heart. It’s vital for healthy blood flow through your whole body, including your brain, lungs, digestive system, and all your muscles.

Looking to lose weight and keep it off? Yes, a healthy eating plan is important, but you’ll also want to move as much as you safely can. A combination of aerobic exercise and strength training can help older adults lose weight while preserving muscle, bone, and overall fitness, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Inspired to lace up? This fun 10-minute cardio circuit with SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack will raise your heart rate and work your whole body. All you need is a little space to move.

How the 10-Minute Cardio Workout Works

Clear some open floor space. If you’d like support during any of the exercises, set up near a wall or have a sturdy chair nearby. It’s also helpful to have water, and you should feel free to sip as you need.

All you need to do is press play and follow along. If you’re performing the workout on your own, do the six exercises below in order, and then repeat the whole circuit. With many of the moves, you’ll change tempo—for example, from single taps to double or triple taps—to challenge your brain. As you move from leg to leg, you’ll also improve your balance.

To keep tabs on your effort, use a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest. You can ramp up or dial down as you need, but you generally don’t want to go higher than 7. As you move, keep breathing, and prioritize good form. Wrap up with any flexibility exercises you like, such as these simple stretches for older adults.

As always, safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than those you’ll experience in a SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

Exercise #1: March and Tap

Perform the move for 30 seconds

How to do it: March in place, lifting your knees as high as you comfortably can. Add single knee taps. As your left leg comes up, tap it with your right hand. As your right leg comes up, tap it with your left hand. Continue alternating.

When you have the movement down, try a double knee tap on each leg and then a triple knee tap on each leg. Return to single knee taps, and repeat the tapping cycle.

Make it easier: Stick to single knee taps, or simply march in place. You can also use the wall or chair for support.

Exercise #2: Crossover Toe Tap

Perform the move for 1 minute

How to do it: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot forward, crossing it in front of your body and tapping the floor. Return to starting position, and step your left foot forward, crossing it in front of your body and tapping the floor. Continue alternating, moving your arms as you like.

When you have the movement down, try double toe taps.

Make it easier: Slow down, or stick to single toe taps.

Make it harder: Pick up your pace, or take wider steps.

Exercise #3: Side to Side Toe Tap

Perform the move for 1 minute

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bending your knees and hinging from your hips, step out to the side with one foot, and follow it with your other foot, tapping the floor. Repeat on the other side. Continue alternating, moving your arms as you like.

When you have the movement down, try a double toe tap to each side and then a triple toe tap to each side. Return to single toe taps, and repeat the tapping cycle.

Make it easier: Stay more upright, or stick to single toe taps.

Make it harder: Squat down lower to make your legs work harder, or snap and clap to challenge your coordination.

Exercise #4: Step Back Jack

Perform the move for 1 minute

How to do it: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and arms at your sides. Step back with one foot. At the same time, raise your arms to clap your hands together in front of your chest. Return to starting position, and repeat with your other foot. Continue alternating.

When you have the movement down, try pulses. Step back with one foot, and hold here. With your hands together in front of you, pulse up and down slightly for five counts. Return to starting position, and repeat with your other leg.

Resume the stepping motion, raising your arms out to the sides as you step back. Continue alternating.

Make it easier: Skip the pulses, and simply hold in place with one foot back.

Make it harder: Get deeper in your pulse stance.

Exercise #5: Skater Tap

Perform the move for 1 minute

How to do it: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot back, crossing it behind your body and tapping the floor. Return to starting position, and step your left foot back, crossing it behind your body and tapping the floor. Continue alternating, moving your arms as you like.

When you have the movement down, try hand claps as you move side to side. Begin with a single clap as you step to the left, then double clap as you step to the right, and then triple clap as you step left again. Repeat the clapping cycle.

Make it easier: Take smaller steps, or stick to single claps.

Make it harder: Take bigger and wider steps.

Exercise #6: Squat Pulse

Perform the move for 30 seconds

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip- to shoulder-width apart. Bending your knees and hinging from your hips, lower yourself into a shallow squat, and bring your hands in front of your chest.

From here, gently pulse up and down for one count, and then push through your legs to return to standing. Lower into a shallow squat again, pulse for two counts, and push back up to standing. Lower into a shallow squat again, pulse for three counts, and push back up to standing. Continue the pulsing cycle for 30 seconds.

Make it easier: Start from a seated position. Push up just a couple of inches to hover off the chair. Instead of pulsing, simply hold here for one, two, or three counts, or as long as you safely can. Get more tips in our beginner’s guide to the squat.

Make it harder: Get into a deeper squat.

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