5 Effective Cardio Exercises For When it’s Too Dam Cold to Run Outside

Your hands are numb, your breathing is painful, and all you want to do is turn around and go home. Running in the cold sucks!

While I am all about being tough and sucking it up on a cold winter’s day, there are some instances where getting out for a morning run is just not feasible. I live in New York, and while there are clearly worse places, the winters here suck.

That, the fact that I don’t have a gym membership, and the fact that I despise treadmills don’t leave me with many options when it comes to getting some cardio in before starting my day. But for those of you like myself, there is hope. There are a few great ways you can get some cardio in the comfort of your own home, without any fancy equipment.

I don’t know about you, but my goals in the morning are not just to burn calories. I am looking to get a nice sweat in and to release some endorphins to have a fresh & energized day. These 5 cardio exercises for when it’s too cold to run outside will do just that, plus giving you the added benefit of burning calories and trimming some unwanted holiday fat. 

1) Running in place.

Running is the ultimate cardio exercise. But just because there are 4 feet of snow outside your door doesn’t mean that running is not an option. Running in place can be a very effective workout if done the right way. Or use a treadmill, but this is not for me.

While running in place, I want you to practice getting your knees high and really swinging your arms. An opposite arm to the opposite knee, just like your running. If you prefer biking, consider grabbing a peloton. They are pretty badass.

2) Jumping Jacks

Bring it back to elementary grade with some jumping jacks. Most people don’t think of jumping jacks as a serious exercise, but if done correctly they work! The average person will burn 100 calories just by doing 10 minutes of jumping jacks alone. That’s not bad, but we are not really too concerned with calories.

Were more concerned with getting a good sweat in, and releasing some endorphins, which jumping jacks will also do.

Jumping jacks will give you a serious cardiovascular burn when done in conjunction with other exercises (or even alone!). I find myself out of breath from jumping jacks relatively quickly, and when combined in a circuit with the rest of these exercises, they’ll get the job done.

3) Mountain Climbers

I don’t know if you have heard of mountain climbers but they were also relatively popular in my elementary school gym class. Mountain climbers can get pretty intense and require a certain degree of endurance. Just because they are mainly done in fourth grade doesn’t mean they are easy!

4) Squat Thrusts

You’ve warmed up your body real nicely, now here comes the real burn. Squat thrusts, performed in reps of 50 will make even the most in-shape guys gasp for breath.

Essentially you just perform a bodyweight squat, getting as low to the ground with your butt as you can, 50 times without stopping in one fluid motion. Rest a minute. Then repeat it three times.

This is going to put you on your ass, just in time for the last exercise.

5) Burpees

I hope you’re not too tired because this next exercise is going to require not only physical strength but lots of mental strength.

Burpees are one of my least favorites, but one of the most effective cardiovascular exercises out there. There’s a reason why they are commonly featured in the cross-fit games on ESPN.

To perform a burpee drop your body down to the ground so you are completely flat on your stomach. Then pop up to your feet in a squat thrust position and jump up and touch the ceiling in your bedroom. That’s one.

For a better explanation just check out the short clip below.

15 of these is enough to finish you off for the morning. There’s no time limit on them so take as long as you need and work up to 15. Then work up to more from there. I promise you really gonna love these!

For best results

For best results perform these exercises as a circuit. A circuit is a set of exercises performed consecutively with a certain rest time between each exercise. For beginners, allow yourself a 1 minute rest between each exercise to start, and after a few sessions, you can shorten that to 30 seconds. Your quick morning routine should look like this.

8:00 – Rise and Shine

8:05 – Drink a whole glass of water (This is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Your body is dehydrated from the long night and starting a workout that way is not good. Even if you are not working out, drinking a whole bottle of water when you wake up, 30 minutes before you eat, has amazing health benefits.)

Read: 7 Reasons Why Drinking Water When You Wake up is a Badass Move

8:15 – Start Warming up.

Put on your favorite tunes and start bouncing a little to the beat. Do some toe touches and stretch anything that feels tight. It’s best to be in a warm room, so maybe pump up the heat a little bit, you want to be able to get a slight sweat in.

Running in place – 2 minutes

30 seconds Rest

Jumping jacks – 2 minutes

30 seconds rest
Mountain climbers – 2 minutes

30 seconds rest (you will want more)

Squat thrusts – 50 consecutive thrusts, 1- 3 sets, 30 seconds rest in between (depending on fitness level) (approximately 4 minutes)

30 seconds rest

Burpees – 15 – 25 burpees (try to do a few more each time!

Gasp for air.

8:30 – Drink more water & hit the shower.

The entire set of exercises should take you about 15 minutes and can literally be done in your bedroom while still in your pj’s. I prefer my basement with some heat on and maybe a yoga mat. It feels official. But regardless, this is definitely enough for you to get a good sweat in, a nice energy boost & and a kick start to your metabolism.

0 thoughts on “5 Effective Cardio Exercises For When it’s Too Dam Cold to Run Outside”

  1. I’m already having trouble doing this circuit one time. Is it meant to be done 2 or 3 times? (so 4 or 6 minutes total of every exercise) or is it for just one round?

  2. Thanks for this ! It’s 15 minutes so it doesn’t feel daunting early in the morning when you’re cold and sleepy and you just want to crawl back into bed. I like your positive attitude ! Looking forward to making this my morning routine starting today. Thanks!

  3. I ran in place because we had a snow storm and there was no way for me to get out and run with the snow. So, I tried running in place. Now, while, I will still try to run outside because it is probably the most effective for weight loss, itself. I have to say it has been two days since running in place and my calves are still sore from running in place. So, I have to say running in place does surprisingly work. I think it is because it uses different muscles. I kind of think it may be better than a treadmill. So, I think the most effective is always outside. However, I question whether it is better to run in place or with a treadmill.


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