Strong to the Core Challenge: 6-Minute Cardio Interval Workout

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

To see better results from a workout, sometimes you need to go slow and then fast—and then slow again. Here’s a fun introduction to interval training.


Walking up the stairs with ease, recovering your breath quickly after playing with the grandkids, having more energy throughout the day. These are just some of the benefits that come from working on your cardio fitness. When your heart and lungs are strong, everyday activities will seem that much more enjoyable.  

Aerobic activities like walking, biking, swimming, and dancing are all wonderful ways to get your heart rate up. But there’s a style of cardio that can get you even more benefits: interval training. It’s when you alternate intervals of higher intensity movement with periods of active recovery.   

“Interval training can be a safe and fun way to train your heart and lungs to work a little bit harder and then recover efficiently,” says SilverSneakers Master Trainer Andi. Even just bumping up your intensity a little bit can help you slim down too. “It’s an effective training technique for total body fat loss, especially around the midsection,” adds Andi.  

Fitness benefits aside, interval training is also a great boredom buster! “One of the best things about this kind of training? It can be different every time you do the workout,” says Andi.  

Interval training is great for beginners and long-time exercisers alike. Here, Andi leads a simple interval workout that you can dial up or down depending on your needs or your mood.  

How to Use the 6-Minute Cardio Interval Workout 

To get started, you’ll only need yourself and some open floor space. You’ll perform each exercise at a higher intensity for 25 seconds, and then take a 15-second walking recovery. Andi will provide options for each movement so that you can scale back if it’s too hard – or take it up a notch if it’s too easy.   

The most important thing? Finding what’s best for you. “This is your workout. I want you to pick up the intensity just a bit more but stay in a safe range for you,” Andi says.  

When you’re ready, press play and follow along with Andi. Remember to breathe throughout each exercise and let your heart rate come down during the recovery. “It’s there by design,” she says. If you’re finding that you’re not recovered, be patient with yourself. Think about reducing the intensity of both your “on” and “off” intervals.  

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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Ready for More Cardio? Three SilverSneakers Classes to Try 

Many SilverSneakers classes include cardio segments, but there are a few devoted to building cardiovascular strength. At your participating SilverSneakers fitness location, you can pop into a SilverSneakers Circuit class, which alternates between low-impact cardio and upper-body strength. Zumba Gold dance classes are another fun way to get your heart rate up. (Review the gym’s schedule for exact times).   

Or sign up for the SilverSneakers LIVE Cardio Mix—a 45-minute low impact class that includes progressive intensity options. See the latest schedule and RSVP for classes here. No matter which class you try, you’ll get a great workout.   

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SilverSneakers members can go to thousands of gyms and fitness locations across the nation, plus take SilverSneakers LIVE online classes that are designed for seniors of all levels. If you have a Medicare plan, it may include SilverSneakers—at no additional cost. Check your eligibility instantly here.  

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