One of the most common excuses people use for not working out is that they do not have the time to go the gym. The reality is that not many of us have the luxury of a home gym, but this does not mean that you still can’t have an effective workout session. Whether you are trying to shed a few pounds or just trying to keep your body in shape, cardio is must—and ensuring that you incorporate 15-30 minutes of cardio into your workout routine significantly enhance the effectiveness. Here are five equipment-free workouts you can do right at home sure to get your heart racing.

1. Jump rope

According to About.com, when done effectively, jump roping can burn approximately 220 calories in 20 minutes. That’s 11 calories a minute! Not only are jump ropes inexpensive, you don’t have to be a professional to use one. Jump roping is a great medium-impact exercise and it can improve your balance and agility.

Tips: Make sure you strap on a comfortable pair of good-fitting sneakers. For best results, only jump high enough to clear the rope. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, speak to your doctor about a workout routine that would work best for you.

Routine:

Cardio Circuit: Alternate jogging in place with other cardio exercises such as marching, jogging, jumping rope, step touches, etc. Do each for 30-60 seconds, repeating for 10-30 minutes

Strength Circuit: Alternate 30-60 seconds of jogging in place with strength exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups and dips for 10-30 minutes.

As featured on About.com

2. Squat jumps

Squat jumps are excellent full-body workouts and an effective cardiovascular exercise. According to Livestrong,  primarily works the legs and midsection—“Specifically, the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, abdominals, quadriceps and calves—by alternately stretching and contracting the muscles.”

A good squat jumping exercise can even help athletes in their respective sports by improving strength and balance.

Tips: Wear comfortable sneakers suitable for jumping. Beginners should try squating in place before to lessen stress on the knee joints.

For demonstrations and routines, watch this Fitness Blender video!

3. Mountain climbers

This simple cardio workout looks exactly like what it sounds like—mountain climbing! Get into push-up position and run your knees in and out as your hands remain stationary. As with most cardio exercises, mountain climbers will elevate your heart rate and build strength and endurance, building your core.

Tips: Stay away from mountain climbers if you have weak wrists, shoulders or arms, as this exercise can be strenuous on those parts of the body. Wear comfortable and good-fitting sneakers.

For demonstrations and routines, watch this Howcast instructional video!

4. Stairs

You don’t need an expensive stair master machine to get the same great cardio workout—all you need is a set of stairs in your home! Merely walking or (carefully) jogging up and down the stairs can be an excellent form of cardio. Don’t have a set of stairs? No problem. You can purchase an adjustable one-step trainer at Walmart for as little as $24.00! This low-impact total body exercise will get your heart pumping and can burn about 100 calories in 10 minutes for a 160-lb person!

Tips: Make sure you wear comfortable sneakers. If using a step trainer, be sure you are near some sort of a handrail or support, just in case!

5. Kickboxing

Not only is kickboxing a great form of cardio, it is also fun and you can use your creativity! According to About.com, kickboxing is merely punching, kicking and combinations thereof. You can use a punching bag if you have one, or you can use the air. (You can also use another person, but this is not recommended for beginners.)

At the right intensity, kickboxing can burn more than 100 calories in 10 minutes, and it is also a wonderful way to let go of some of that stress and frustration. Feel free to build your own routines, combining different variations of kicking, jabbing and punching. The possibilities are endless!

Tips: Do not extend your arms and legs all the way during punches and kicks, as it can stress the joints. Wear comfortable shoes and make sure there are no objects (or people) around you while doing this exercise.

Need some kickboxing motivation? Try these Fitness Blender video for some effective kickboxing combos!