Forget running — this 20-minute standing cardio workout is low-impact and will boost your metabolism

Woman doing a dance workout at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A morning workout is a great way to start your day on the right foot. It will get your heart pumping and your metabolism firing, and I always find it improves my mood for the rest of the day as well.

However, it needs to be the right type of workout — I don’t enjoy pushing so hard first thing in the morning that I’m tired all day, and if it can be done at home without any equipment (except maybe a yoga mat) then all the better for avoiding going outside when it’s cold, wet and dark.

This low-impact standing workout from GrowWithJo is perfect. You can do it at home without any equipment, and it gets you moving and burning calories without jumping or pushing so hard you’re tired for the rest of the day. In fact, it’s much more likely to increase your energy levels for the day ahead and help clear the mind. 

Of course, you don’t have to do the workout in the morning, it’s a great pick-me-up to do at lunchtime or to combat the mid-afternoon slump. It’s going to deliver the same cardiovascular and fat-burning benefits any time you have a 20-minute slot to stand and do it. 

Watch GrowWithJo’s 20-minute standing cardio workout

You can follow along with the workout video on GrowWithJo’s YouTube channel, which has music backing the session to help you move in time with the beat. All of the moves are done standing without jumping, and the exercises flow into each other like you’re dancing, which is always more fun than simply exercising, right?

Each move is done for 40 seconds, and you’ll be working to the beat throughout to help keep you moving. The aim is to be working at a fairly low intensity throughout to get you into your fat burning zone without pushing too hard, so if you feel like you are struggling to keep up and breathing so hard you couldn’t say a sentence to someone, take a break and slow down. 

Another way to judge the intensity is it should be around 5-6 out of 10 for effort, so you know you’re working, but at a level you can maintain comfortably for a lot longer than 20 minutes if needed. If you use a smartwatch with a heart rate sensor that shows your heart rate zones, then you should be in zone 2 or at the lower end of zone 3.

Low-intensity, steady-state cardio, or LISS, workouts are a great way to move more throughout the week without blasting your body too hard. Sprinkle in a couple of high intensity sessions to burn more calories like these beginner HIIT workouts alongside your LISS and you have the perfect training structure to get fit and stay fit.

If you enjoyed this 20-minute workout and want another to try, this 30-minute low impact steady state workout is another great option to get your heart pumping without running or jumping around.

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Nick Harris-fry
Senior Writer

Nick Harris-fry is an experienced health and fitness journalist, writing professionally since 2012. He spent nine years working on the Coach magazine and website before moving to the fitness team at Tom’s Guide in 2024. Nick is a keen runner and also the founder of YouTube channel The Run Testers, which specialises in reviewing running shoes, watches, headphones and other gear.

Nick ran his first marathon in 2016 after six weeks of training for a magazine feature and subsequently became obsessed with the sport. He now has PBs of 2hr 27min for the marathon and 15min 30sec for 5K, and has run 13 marathons in total, as well as a 50-mile ultramarathon.

He runs 50-80 miles a week and races regularly with his club, which gives him a lot of opportunity to test out running gear: he has tested and reviewed hundreds of pairs of running shoes, as well as fitness trackers, running watches, sports headphones, treadmills, and all manner of other kit. Nick is also a qualified Run Leader in the UK.