20-Minute Cardio Follow-Along Workout

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Get your heart rate up and move your whole body with this fun routine that you can make your own.

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When you think of a good cardio workout, what comes to mind? If it’s a fun routine that wakes up your body and brain, you’re in luck. This 20-minute cardio follow-along workout will do just that.

Even better, with all the moves, you can decide how easy or hard you want to go. “You manage your energy,” says SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack. If it’s too much, slow down, or use a smaller range of motion, he says. “Need to rest? You can pause us, and you can put us back on whenever you want.”

On the other hand, if you feel like you could push yourself a little bit, you can go faster or use a bigger range of motion. Or you can try a variation, such as adding arm movements or doing fancier footwork.

How the 20-Minute Cardio Follow-Along Workout Works

All you need is some open floor space, and water and a towel if you want it. If you’d like support during exercises, feel free to use a wall, chair, or counter. “That’s called smart training,” Jack says.

You can simply press play and follow along with the video, which includes a warmup and tips for a cooldown. You can also see exercise pointers below.

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.

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1. Warmup: March

Make it easier by going slow and keeping your knees low. Make it harder by going faster, bringing your knees high, or gently swinging your arms.

2. Warmup: Heel Taps

Maintaining your marching motion, tap your heel in front of you.

3. Warmup: Side Taps

Maintaining your marching motion, step out to the side with one foot, and follow it with your other foot, tapping it on the floor. Repeat in the opposite direction.

4. Warmup: Crossover Front Taps

Maintaining your marching motion, tap one foot in front of the other, crossing over your body slightly. If it’s safe for you, see if you can get a little more rotation in your hips and core.

5. Warmup: March

Return to a march, doing what feels right. You can maintain your rhythm. Need a breather? Bring your arms down, or don’t lift your knees as high. Feel like you could push yourself a bit? Get your heart rate up with a strong, high march.

6. Knee Taps

Take a wide stance. Lift one knee, and tap it with the opposite hand. Make it easier by bringing your feet closer together for a narrower stance. Make it harder by taking a wider stance or driving those knees harder.

7. Heel Kicks

Take a wide stance. Kick one heel behind you, lower your foot, shift your weight, and kick the other heel behind you. If you can, focus on kicking your heel back to feel a stretch in your quads, or the muscles in the front of your thighs.

You can do what feels right for your arms. Make it easier by keeping your hands on your hips or holding an imaginary ball at your chest. Make it harder by moving your arms with your legs or opening and closing your arms wide.

8. Knee Taps and Heel Kicks

This move combines the two previous moves in a front to back pattern. Perform a knee tap on each side, then perform a heel tap on each side. Focus on finding your footing and feeling secure before you add arm movements or speed.

9. Lateral Three-Step and Kick

With this move, you’ll transition to a side to side pattern. Moving to the right, step with your right foot, left foot, and right foot. Kick your left foot slightly. Moving to the left, step with your left foot, right foot, and left foot. Kick your right foot slightly.

Make it easier by tapping your foot on the floor instead kicking. Make it harder by taking bigger steps or doing a bigger kick. If it’s safe for you, challenge your core and balance by leaning away slightly as you kick.

10. Squat Taps

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and squat down slightly. Shift your weight to your right foot, making sure it’s planted firmly and your right hip is aligned with your foot. Step your left foot out, resting on the ball of your foot.

From here, tap your left foot in slightly, then step back out. Repeat with your weight on your left foot and your right foot out.

Make it easier by standing taller. Make it harder by squatting a little deeper or moving your arms.

11. Big Side Taps

This is the same movement as the side taps from the warmup—but bigger. Step out wide to the side with one foot, and follow it with your other foot, tapping it on the floor. Repeat in the opposite direction.

Make it easier by standing taller or taking smaller steps. Make it harder by staying low and keeping your head level. Pretend you’re in a hallway and the ceiling is right above your head—you don’t want to bounce up into it.

12. Sprinter Steps

Take a split stance with one foot forward and your knees slightly bent. Plant your front foot firmly, and rest your back foot on the ball of your foot. Bend your arms. On the side of your front foot, bring your hand toward your hip.

From here, come up by straightening your front leg and lifting your back knee, moving your arms with your legs. Go back to split stance, and hold. Repeat on the opposite side.

Make it easier by standing taller with only a slight bend in your knees and hips. Make it harder by getting into a deeper split stance and bringing your knee higher.

13. Knee Strikes

Take a split stance. Bend your arms. On the side of your front foot, raise your hands above your shoulder.

From here, come up by straightening your front leg and lifting your back knee. As your knee comes up, lower your hands toward your knee. Go back to split stance. Repeat on the opposite side.

14. Out, Out, In, In

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step out with one foot then the other. Step back in with your lead foot then the other. Make it harder by taking wider steps, switching your lead foot, or moving in double time.

15. Up, Up, Back, Back

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with one foot then the other. Step back with your lead foot then the other.

16. Toe Taps

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Tap your toes in front of you, finding your rhythm. If it’s safe for you, make it harder by shuffling your feet like a boxer.

17. Side Kicks

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Kick one leg out to the side, lower your foot, shift your weight, and kick your opposite leg out to the side.

Make it easier by tapping your feet on the floor instead of kicking. Make it harder with bigger kicks, pushing away with your feet.

18. Digs

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and arms bent like you’re a boxer. Make small punches, pivoting on your toes as you punch.

Make it harder with bigger punches, bringing your hand around from your hip to your chest. As you punch, rotate from your hips and core, pivoting on your toes and letting your heel open up.

19. Uppercuts

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and arms bent like you’re a boxer. Punch from your hip to your opposite shoulder in a swinging motion.

20. Big Finish

Stand with your feet shoulder- to hip-width apart and arms bent. Move your feet quickly as if the floor is hot.

Make it easier by walking in place. Make it harder by adding jabs, punching your arms out in front of you.

21. Cooldown

Take a few deep breaths, shaking out your body if you want. Walk around your house or do your favorite stretching routine to help your heart rate return to normal. Need ideas? Try these four stretches you should do every day.

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