Pedaling an exercise bike slowly is a low-intensity workout.
Working out at home is an ideal alternative to breaking a sweat at the gym. Home-based workouts are not only convenient, but also don't make you contend with a monthly fee. Regular cardio sessions can be the central element of a lifestyle that keeps you slim or avoids weight gain, and you don't have to work out at a vigorous intensity to get results. If you prefer a low-intensity workout, aim for at least 30 minutes per day.
Keep it Low
Health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MayoClinic.org group cardiovascular exercise into one of two categories: moderate intensity or vigorous intensity. Although the organizations don't use the term "low intensity," you can still perform a cardio workout that meets this description. Pick a moderate-intensity workout and perform it at the lower end of your exertion scale to get the benefits of the exercise, such as burning calories and strengthening your muscles.
Step or Cycle for Health
The CDC cites exercises such as walking faster than 3 mph, biking slower than 10 mph and ballroom dancing as cardio activities that require a moderate-intensity output. With a treadmill or exercise bike, you can walk or pedal at a low intensity during a 30-minute workout at home. Activities such as ballroom dancing are ideal because they don't require anything more than some music and your living room or basement. If you have a swimming pool, water aerobics is a moderate form of cardio but swimming laps requires a vigorous intensity. Other activities include walking on the spot and slow-paced jumping jacks.
Listen to Your Heart
Elevating your heart rate as you work out at home helps strengthen your heart. The CDC and American Heart Association recommend exercising at an intensity that raises your heart rate to at least 50 percent of your maximum heart rate. During moderate exercise, your heart rate increases 50 to 70 percent of your max; to keep your intensity low, adjust your pace so your heart beats at less than 50 percent. Calculate your max by subtracting your present age from 220 and then cut this number in half to find the 50 percent intensity. Take your pulse during the workout and slow your pace to ensure your heart rate doesn't reach the 50 percent mark.
Keep Your Goals in Mind
Exercising for 30 minutes per day at a low intensity can be enough to help you maintain your weight, but probably won't be quite enough if you wish to lose weight. The CDC suggests that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-paced cardio every week. By exercising at a low rate for 30 minutes per day, you eclipse 200 minutes of exercise per week, but keep in mind that your workout is at a low intensity, not a moderate one. If your cardio isn't helping you meet your fitness goals, consider increasing your workout duration or reducing your caloric intake.