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30-Minute Cardio Workout For Busy People

Leading a busy lifestyle can hamper you from doing a lot of things. When you have a schedule packed to the brim, you may not have enough time to read, play games, binge-watch movies, and the like. One activity that usually gets pushed to the back of the line is a full-body workout. When people get the time to breathe from their busy schedules, most would rather lay down and rest instead of slipping into their exercise clothes and working out.

Having little to no workouts can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. When you have a sedentary lifestyle, you’re at risk of certain health issues such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and even death. Exercising is the best way to kick the sedentary lifestyle to the curb but if you’re a busy person, you might think that slipping in a workout is impossible. We’re here to tell you that it’s very possible to do so! You’ll only need 30 minutes of your day to start your way to a healthy life. Try out this 30-minute HIIT cardio workout at home!

Will a 30-Minute Cardio Workout a Day Help Lose Weight?

Cardio exercises such as jumping jacks, high knees, mountain climbers, jump squats, and jump lunges are just some of the workouts that can aid in burning calories, helping you lose weight. Plyometric exercises and those that involve jumping provide the same benefits as doing a cardio workout in a gym. At home, one of the quickest ways to get in shape and lose weight is to do high-intensity interval training. Also known as HIIT, this cardio workout can reduce body fat and burn calories more effectively than steady or light exercises.

However, it should be strictly noted that doing HIIT workouts 5 times a week or every day can harm you more than it can help you. When you get into a workout routine, it’s important to have a rest day. When you don’t have a rest day from exercising, your muscles will get sore and damaged, making your condition worse. While HIIT is a good workout, you need to give your body some recovery time. You can perform cardio workouts twice or thrice a week at maximum. By doing that, you can help your body recover properly and respond to your workouts better.

Is a 30-minute Cardio Workout Good?

The answer is: yes, a 30-minute cardio workout is good. HIIT is a time-efficient form of exercise, making it an excellent option for busy people. According to research, committing to 30-minute HIIT cardio exercises three times a week could be advantageous. The researchers discovered that the 30-minute sessions enhanced cardiovascular health and respiratory health, improved metabolic health, lowered cholesterol levels, and improved oxygen flow to the muscles. In just a few weeks, these improvements were shown both in individuals who weren’t suffering from diseases and in individuals who had cardiac and metabolic disorders.

How Many Calories Does 30-Minute HIIT Cardio Workout Burn?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person who weighs 154 pounds can burn 140 to 295 calories by doing 30 minutes of cardio exercises. On the other hand, according to other researchers, a person who weighs 160 pounds can burn about 300 calories by doing 30 minutes of HIIT or cardio workout.

30-Minute Cardio HIIT Workout You Can Do At Home

This 30-minute HIIT cardio workout at home is ideal for beginners who don’t have any special gym equipment at home or time on their hands. This combination of exercises can get your heart pumping, providing you with a great workout at home. It’s important to note that any exercise begins with a warm-up. If you don’t warm-up, you might risk injuring yourself.

To start, do a five-minute warm-up of light cardio that can get you moving and your blood flowing. You can do something such as running in place, doing hops, jumping jacks, and jumping rope. After your warm-up, you can begin the following HIIT cardio workouts. Do remember to rest for 60 seconds between each exercise. You don’t need any kind of special equipment, you only need yourself and a workout mat for comfort.


This workout requires you to have something lightweight to hold in your hands, such as a book. Position the book in front of your chest. Next, raise the book, passing it behind the neck from one shoulder to the other in a circular motion. Repeat this for 60 seconds.

Alternating Lateral Lunge

Lunges can help in your everyday movements as it strengthens the muscles required to move and change in direction. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Inhale and take a big step to the left with your left foot, bending on your left knee and sending your hips back, lowering into a lateral squat. Make sure that your right leg remains straight. Exhale, stepping your left foot next to your right to return to start. Switch sides, and then repeat. Continue alternating sides, repeating for 30 seconds.

Mountain Climbers

This workout builds strength in your lower body and boosts your heart rate. Start in a high plank position, with your hands under your shoulders and feet. Gently draw your ribs to your hips, engaging your core. Bend your right knee and bring it in toward your chest. Extend your right leg to return to the starting position. Next, bend your left knee this time and draw it towards your chest. Extend your left leg to return to start. Continue alternating sides as fast as possible, remembering to breathe as you do. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Mountain Climber Twist

This one is similar to the mountain climber workout with an added twist to it, literally. Position yourself in a high plank, hands flat and positioned shoulder-width apart, stacked above your wrists, legs extended, core engaged. Draw your right knee to your left elbow in a diagonal motion. Return to the initial position and immediately bring your left knee to your right elbow. Continue to alternate, moving quickly as you do so. Make sure to keep your torso engaged and your back flat in a straight line throughout. Repeat the motions for 30 seconds.

Criss-Cross Jumping Jacks

This exercise focuses on the lower body. For this exercise, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulders, your hands positioned overhead. In one motion, jump feet together, crossing one foot in front of the other. Jump apart with arms up in the air. Next, cross one foot in front of the other and jump with both feet together. Do this for 30 seconds.


Stand straight with your shoulders above your hips, feet hip-width apart, and your toes turned out slightly. Drop your hips back and down while keeping your knees behind your toes and your hip. Keep your ankle in line as well to prevent your knees from collapsing inward. Lower your hip crease, your quads parallel to the floor. Drive your weight into your heels as soon as possible, lift your hips up a few inches, then lower them to a full squat position. Press through your heels and swiftly return to standing posture. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Kneeling Commandos

To do this, begin with a forearm plank, knees on the floor. Engage your core by drawing in your ribs to your hips. Take a breath, and upon exhaling, place your right hand on the mat directly below your right shoulder. Push up onto your hand. Next, position your left hand firmly on the mat directly below your left shoulder, and push up onto it as well. Prevent your hips from swaying by keeping your core activated. Inhale, lowering your right forearm to the mat and then your left forearm to return to start. Repeat, beginning with the left forearm next. Continue alternating sides and repeat for 30 seconds.


Stand straight with your feet together. Keep your legs straight, bend at the hips, and place your hands on the floor directly in front of your feet. Slowly walk hands forward, alternating left and right. Hand walk until your body forms a push-up position parallel to the floor. Hold for 3 seconds, and then keep your hands in place as you slowly walk your toes towards them. Once your feet meet your hands, raise the torso from hips up back to starting position. Repeat for 30 seconds.

High Knees

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, your hands lifted to hip height. Look straight ahead as you do so. Quickly jump from one foot to the other on the spot, raising knees as high as possible. Softly land on the balls of your feet on the floor. Do this for 30 seconds.

Russian Twists

To begin, sit on the floor with your knees bent at 45 degrees, your heels slightly off the ground. Balance on your sit bones by leaning your torso back with a 45-degree bend in your hips. Tap both hands on the floor near your left hip by rotating your upper body. Tap both hands on the floor with your right hip by rotating your torso in the opposite direction. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Reverse Lunge to Knee Up

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Inhale as you carefully take a big step backwards with your right foot. As your foot lands on the floor, bend your knees around 90 degrees. Make sure that your weight is evenly distributed between legs. Your front knee should be aligned with your ankle and your back knee should be hovering slightly off the floor. Exhale to press off the right foot and stand, balancing on the left foot as you bring your right knee toward your chest. Inhale to step your right foot back into a lunge to begin the next rep. Repeat for 30 seconds before switching sides, and then repeat.

Fast Feet

If you have a little more energy left, you can add to the end of your workout. Stand with your feet wider than hips apart, hands in fists, raised slightly to protect your face. With your knees slightly bent, run on the spot lightly and quickly. Do this for 30 seconds.

Don’t forget to repeat the entire circuit for a total of four rounds. Rest for 60 seconds in between each exercise.

Final Note

If you’ve been aiming to lose weight but don’t have much time in your hands, a 30-minute cardio routine can work well for you. This can test your endurance, improve your balance, and increase your strength in just 30 minutes. Remember, if you feel any discomfort while doing the workouts, stop and check with a professional such as a certified personal trainer to guide you and help you out.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the best cardio exercise to lose weight?

HIIT workouts implemented in small doses — such as 30 minutes — can greatly help you in losing weight. Other types of cardio that you can do to aid in weight loss are walking, biking, running, jumping jacks, and jumping exercises.

Tricia Montano

Tricia founded Pain Free Working in 2019 due to suffering from degenerative disc disease in her L5-S1 from working an office job for the past 18 years. She and her team strive on finding and reviewing the best office equipment to help fellow pain sufferers find relief and to enable people like her to do their jobs comfortably.