Cardio Equipment For Small Spaces: 8 Options

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A run outside and long walks on the beach are not the only cardiovascular workouts. Find out what cardio equipment is good for small spaces.

Keep in mind that checking the equipment dimensions is typically recommended if space is a potential issue.

Additionally, all of the same exercise principles still apply. You need to challenge yourself enough but not too much either to see optimal results.

1. Mini stepper

Mini steppers are basically two pedals connected to a central piece that adds resistance.

You can use these devices to step in the air similar to how it would feel to climb stairs with low steps.

In turn, you can also expect similar cardiovascular and other benefits.

That means a good mini stair stepper can help with things like burning calories improving heart and lung health, engaging your leg muscles, improving balance and coordination,

And you get all of these things in a very compact size and at a reasonable price.

Even compared to the other small-space-friendly cardio equipment options on this list.

Another benefit of mini steppers is that they are easy to combine with other activities like catching up with family or friends or watching TV.

On the flip side, one downside of mini steppers is the balance challenge.

This can be suboptimal for getting a good cardio workout and could even be dangerous.

Additionally, mini steppers are not the most intense cardio equipment ever.

If you are somewhat fitter, mini steppers may feel more like a slow walk in the park.

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woman using mini stepper
Mini stepper picture

2. Foldable treadmill

It is hard to find any people who don’t know what a treadmill is.

However, up until this point, you were likely not considering one of these for small spaces because they tend to be big and heavy cardio equipment.

Luckily, there are also foldable treadmills that are more compact than regular models.

These are more suitable for small spaces but still offer a nice amount of cardiovascular and leg muscle engagement.

You do want to know that the foldable models are slightly less sturdy than normal treadmills.

For really intense running, going outside or something similar could be the better options.

Additionally, you may find the cost of treadmills a bit too high.

On top of these things, treadmills can be a bit noisy which is suboptimal for small apartments with thin walls and floors.

So while they are not ideal for everyone, you may be one of the individuals who find foldable treadmills the best compact cardio equipment available.

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woman on treadmill
Foldable treadmill

3. Step aerobics stepper

Step aerobics involves doing a variety of cardiovascular moves on a stepper (typically with some music on).

If this is something you enjoy, step aerobics can be a good cardio choice for small spaces (although you do need some amount of space to move).

This enjoyment part typically makes it a lot easier to stay consistent with an exercise routine.

That means step aerobics can help you burn more calories, engage your leg (and some upper body) muscles, improve your balance, improve your cardio, and more.

The equipment required for step aerobics is also reasonably priced compared to bigger cardio equipment and long term gym subscriptions.

On the other hand, it is also fair to say that step aerobics will not be for everyone.

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step aerobics stepper
Dumbbells for step aerobics

4. Foldable rowing machine

Rowing machines are not the most well-known among the general public but definitely scores points as a good cardio workout equipment option.

One of the more unique benefits of rowing machines when it comes to cardiovascular workouts is that they engage your upper body too.

Additionally, you still get the regular benefits that get people interested in cardio equipment for small spaces.

That means rowing machines can help you burn a nice amount of energy, improve muscle endurance, make your heart and lungs healthier, and more.

To keep things compact, you do want to go for a foldable rowing machine (or at least one that can stand on its side).

It is generally smart to look carefully at the dimensions of any rowing machine you are considering.

The same applies to the price tags since these can be considerable.

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woman on foldable rowing machine
man on foldable rowing machine

5. Punching bag

When you hear boxing the first image that pops up in your head is likely two people fighting each other.

Luckily, you don’t have to risk any physical damage or even need a big space to do a more workout-only-focused version.

You do want to keep in mind that some punching bags require a decent amount of setup. At least compared to certain other cardio equipment.

Additionally, it is hard to complete a boxing workout without making any noise. This is not ideal for small apartments with neighbors.

On the flip side, some people really enjoy boxing as a cardio workout. This can again improve consistency with your routine.

Check small space punching bag prices

man using punching bag
Small punching bag

6. Under desk pedaler

This will not come as a surprise but under desk pedalers offer a cardio workout where you pedal while sitting down.

These under desk pedaler workouts do not sound or are not the most intense.

You should not see these devices as a complete replacement for intense HIIT cardio workouts.

However, their power is in that you can combine them with other activities that you likely already do like for example watching television.

This means pedal exercisers can help burn calories, engage your heart and lungs, and improve your sleep without influencing your routine too much.

Additionally, pedal exercises are relatively compact both when it comes to usage and storage which is helpful for small spaces.

Lastly, even good under desk pedal exercisers are reasonably priced compared to many other cardio equipment options for small spaces.

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Under desk pedaler
Under desk cycle

7. Foldable exercise bike

Similar to treadmills, there are foldable versions of the popular stationary bike cardio equipment.

These are not only relatively compact when it comes to storage but also usage. At least compared to big recumbent stationary bikes and air bikes.

On the other hand, stationary bikes do not engage the most muscles.

This is not the piece of cardio equipment for engaging your entire body. You may find this a bit too boring too.

Stationary bikes may also feel just a bit less convenient to use in front of the TV compared to pedal exercisers.

However, it is still fair to say the possibility of doing this is one of the benefits of stationary bikes.

This can make your cardiovascular workouts more fun to do and could benefit your exercise routine consistency.

A more unexpected upside of stationary bikes is that they don’t require too much balance.

This also involves less training but could still be the preferred choice for people with challenges in this area.

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woman on foldable exercise bike
Foldable exercise bike

8. Compact elliptical trainer

Elliptical trainers tend to be relatively big cardio workout machines but there are more compact versions for small spaces too.

One of the benefits of elliptical trainers is that they engage both your lower and upper body muscles.

You should not really expect any growth but having better muscle endurance in different areas can definitely come in handy.

These are also relatively knee-friendly machines. This aspect can be valuable for people who are not used to exercising (yet)

Additionally, elliptical trainers tend to be relatively quiet.

This can make them reasonably good when it comes to apartment cardio equipment.

Even if your walls, floor, and ceiling are somewhat thinner and your neighbors are somewhat grumpier.

One of the main downsides of elliptical trainers is that they can get somewhat more expensive.

At least compared to the other small space cardio equipment options on this list.

Check compact elliptical trainer prices

Woman on compact elliptical trainer
Man on compact elliptical trainer
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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.