Stephanie Mansour, host of PBS' "Step It Up With Steph," shares a simple dance cardio routine so you can get down while working out.
CNN  — 

If you’re slightly intimidated by – or not really into – cardio workouts but still want to burn calories and lose weight, you’re not alone. Running, swimming and cycling are all great cardio exercises, but they can become repetitive over time. When workouts become ho-hum, a lot of people tend to lose the motivation they need to continue working out consistently.

That’s why I help my clients switch up their routines. There are so many fun ways to transform your next cardio workout into an exciting and enjoyable one. People are more likely to exercise consistently when they are intrinsically motivated, research has shown, and this self-motivation stems from pleasurable experiences. So in order to remain dedicated to your workout, make sure your routine is made up of moves you enjoy.

Dance cardio is an approachable way to get moving while listening to your favorite music. Instead of dreading the same run you take every day, you’ll look forward to learning new dance moves that make working out fresh and inviting. Plus, dance aerobics help improve flexibility, balance and strength endurance. I’ll show you some dance cardio moves that are fun and easy. All you have to do is turn on the music and have a good time.

Try out this five-minute dance cardio routine or integrate one or more of these moves into your current workout to add a little groove.

Disco pull

This pose is superfun and will work well with your favorite pump-up song. It’s a great way to start your dance cardio routine and warm up your body.

Stand with your feet positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Put your left arm straight out to your side. Put your right arm straight up above your head. Begin moving your right arm up and down, making a semicircle shape.

10 dance cardio fitness health wellness

When your right hand becomes level with your left arm, bend your elbow and move it in toward your side, allowing your hips to follow.

11 dance cardio fitness health wellness

This move will get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. By moving your arms up and down and your hips side to side, you’re putting your body in constant motion

Repeat this move for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

READ MORE: You can do this total-body workout anywhere – no equipment needed

Butt kicks

Butt kicks usually serve as a dynamic stretch. However, add a beat and the move can be easily transformed into a dance move.

Start in standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms at your sides and begin jogging in place. But instead of keeping your feet close to the ground, kick them to your butt. Then, add in the arms.

01 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Pump them up to the ceiling then back down to your shoulders with every other kick. Try running to the beat or picking up the pace to a fast song.

02 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Doing butt kicks is similar to running, except you can do it in your house at any time. I recommend incorporating butt kicks throughout your routine in between the other moves.

So after each of the following moves, add in 30 seconds of these dance cardio butt kicks.


This classic dance move is super easy to add to your next cardio workout.

This move requires some foot coordination to do quickly, so if you don’t get it on the first try, don’t worry. Go through the motions slowly until you’re comfortable, and then pick up the pace. I recommend adding a hop and a clap to make it even more fun to perform to music.

03 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Begin in standing position with your hands at your side and your feet shoulder-width apart.

04 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Step to the left with your left foot and then step your right foot behind your left foot. Then, step your left foot out to the left again.

05 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Finally, add a jump and a clap. Repeat the process moving to the other side. When the moves start to click, pick up the pace.

06 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Repeat this for 60 seconds total.

READ MORE: Yoga for stress-related insomnia

Skater run

This move combines cardio and lower body strength into one exercise. Plus, you’ll work on your coordination.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your side. This move will feel similar to running, except you’ll be crossing one leg behind the other. I recommend jogging in place to start so that you prepare and warm up your body for the skater run.

When you’re ready, begin by crossing your right leg behind your left leg as your move your left arm to your side. Lower your body into a half squat as you do this.

07 dance cardio fitness health wellness

I love that this move incorporates glute strength into cardio while simultaneously improving coordination. Once you get the hang of the skater run, you’ll be moving quickly to your favorite songs!

If the skater run feels intimidating to figure out all at once, break down all the components and try doing one thing at a time. Start with mastering the foot moves, and the arm swing and squat will come naturally.

Repeat this for 60 seconds alternating to the right and left.

Squat kick

Like the skater run, the squat kick brings glute strengthening into your cardio routine.

Begin with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down, bending at the hips and making sure not to bend your knees too far forward past your toes.

As you stand back up, kick your right foot out straight in front of you. Repeat, alternating the leg you extend each time. Start out slow, and once you get the hang of it, pick up the pace. Squat kicks are a great way to move to the beat while working your heart and glutes.

08 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Next, add in the arm pumps. As you squat down, bring the hands to your shoulders. As you stand up and kick, pump the arms up toward the ceiling.

09 dance cardio fitness health wellness

Repeat for 60 seconds.

These moves will be sure to get your heart pumping. If you need a break from your daily run, switch it up and try out dance cardio. It will help you burn calories as you play your favorite songs.

Subscribe to CNN’s Fitness, But Better newsletter: Get back in the groove. Sign up for our newsletter series to ease into a healthy routine, backed by experts

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up With Steph” on PBS, is a health and wellness journalist and a consultant and weight loss coach for women.