Hate running because it’s boring? Have an injury that keeps you from running? Can’t run outside and hate the treadmill? Don’t have time to run? Whatever your reason for not running, there are still ways for you to work on your cardio. Cardio exercises are good for your health–for your heart, for weight loss and/or maintaining weight, and basically for your overall health. But running isn’t for everyone.
Whatever your reasons are for not wanting to run, here are some pretty great suggestions for alternative ways to work out your cardio:
- Jumping rope. A while ago I wrote a blog about jumping rope. It’s generally a lower-impact cardio exercise, so it’s a little gentler on your joints. It also is a surprisingly efficient exercise to do in terms of calories burned vs. time spent doing the exercise. The good thing about jump rope is also that it’s cheap (jump ropes don’t cost a lot) and you can do it anywhere as long as you have a rope.
- Boxing. You don’t have to step in a ring or get punched at to get a great cardio workout with boxing. Simply having to move around (or even if you’re stationary) while throwing punches will get a sweat out of you. It’s intense, it’ll test your endurance, and it’s a great workout for your core. If you’re just shadowboxing because you don’t have access to a heavy bag, you can always add a little resistance with ankle weights, resistance bands, or holding really light dumbbells.
- Interval training. HIIT can be just bodyweight fitness or can involve equipment if you have access. A great benefit of HIIT workouts is that they usually take about 10-20 minutes. HIIT involves a lot of high-energy, explosive exercises with rests in between.
- Swimming. If you can find a pool to swim in regularly, swimming is likely the safest exercise for you if you have bone or joint issues. Water acts as resistance, which makes it an effective strength-building exercise.
- Rowing. Another great cardio exercise if you have access to a rowing machine. Most people have a misconception that rowing is mostly an upper-body workout. It’s a great full-body workout, workout out your upper and lower body, as well as your core. It’s also a low-impact exercise and can burn up to 600-800 calories an hour.
- Cycling. Another low-impact exercise that you can do either outside or indoors, in a class setting, and/or by yourself. It really gives your lower body a workout and is good for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Cardio fitness is a priority for several reasons and running isn’t the only way to do it. If you have trouble with running or just get bored with it everytime, try other exercises that you’d enjoy more so that you can remain consistent. If you enjoy boxing, for example, you might not even realize it’s a cardio workout…until you run out of gas, at least.