Great for heart health and essential to dropping the pounds  - love it or hate it, cardio workouts are a necessary component of any fitness routine. But what if you hate running, or the thought of an early morning spin class leaves you hitting the snooze button one too many times?

Good news: you can skip the miles and still get a get a calorie torching workout with bodyweight exercises. 

6 Cardio Bodyweight Exercises to Torch Calories

Cardio bodyweight exercises not only help you burn fat, they also increase cardiovascular endurance. And since many bodyweight exercises are low-impact, you can sneak in a great workout in your living room.

Use these six cardio exercises to torch calories and avoid the dreaded run.

  1. High Knees. Begin with your your feet hip width apart and run in place, pulling each knee up towards your chest. Engage your abs as your bring your knees up. Pump your arms for increased calorie burn. 

  2. Plank Jacks. A static plank is great for you core, but adding a jump takes this move to a whole new level. Begin in a straight-arm plank position (your hands should be directly below your shoulders). With core tight, jump feet apart then jump back together. Jump as quickly as you can for 30 reps. Try to maintain hip level and avoid letting that booty rise towards the ceiling.

  3. Speed Skaters. Begin on your right leg, bending the right knee and extending the left leg slightly behind your body to the right. Jump to the left with left foot, landing lightly on the ball of your left foot and sweeping right leg behind left leg. Think speed skater movements. Though it sounds complicated, it’s fairly easy to pull off. Check out this YouTube video to perfect the skater exercise. 

  4. Jumping Jacks. If you want to burn calories jumping jacks offer the perfect cardio solution. On average 30 minutes of jumping equals roughly 300 calories (running at a pace of 10 minutes per mile burns about 270 calories). Looking to increase fat burn? Add weights.

  5. Split Jumps. Great for shaping the legs and butt, jumping lunges are not for the faint of heart but the physical reward is well worth the effort. Begin in a classic rear lunge position, bending both knees to 90 degrees. Jump up, switching feet in middair so you land with left foot ahead of right foot and immediately drop into a low lunge on the other side.

  6. Burpees. It’s the exercise we love to hate but it works. Begin in a plank position and jump towards your hands, tucking both knees into your chest. Jump back and land in a squat position. Jump up, propelling yourself from the squat position and land back in a plank. 

Create a custom TABATA routine by combining the moves listed above with the TABATA method (20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest). Repeat five times for a 15 minute calorie torching cardio workout.