Cardio That Doesn’t Feel Like Cardio

07.26.2016 • Fitness


While we all love the concept of getting fit, the word ‘cardio’ elicits horrible flashbacks of the time we tried running and quit after the first mile, covered in sweat, and lungs ablaze.

Don't put me down for cardio.

However, these heart-pounding workouts are an essential part of life that does great things from strengthening your heart to boosting your immune system.

Looking at cardio as torture or a chore sets you up for failure, but there’s hope when you can transform exercise into a therapeutic activity that you actually look forward to. Incorporate one or more of these eight cardio workouts into your weekly routine and kiss the days of boring running schedules goodbye.

  • Swimming. Hate sweating? Hop into a cold pool for an hour of cardio that will work muscles all over your body. You burn calories just by sitting in chilly water, so laps and interval training add even more. Swimming’s low-impact nature also makes it the perfect sport for beginners with weak joints.
  • Hiking. Lace up your boots, pull out a map, and pick a destination for your next adventure. Hiking combats the boredom of other cardio workouts with stunning views and engaging navigation.
  • Horseback riding. If you’re sick of tackling exercises alone, head to the stables where you can find a horse companion. Similarly to walking, a leisurely stroll on a horse won’t push your heart rate into the aerobic zone, but a trot or gallop with turns and obstacles certainly will.
  • One-on-one chase tag. Embrace your inner kid with a friend and feel the burn with this classic schoolyard game. It doesn’t feel like running when you make a game out of it and throw in some obstacles for an added challenge.
  • Circuit training. Pick several exercises you like, whether it’s fast walking or squats, and do them for 60 seconds a piece with little rest in between. Circuit training diversifies your cardio and lets you customize a fitness plan that works best for your body and skill level.
  • Climbing. By limiting your rest time between routes, climbing can easily become your new favorite aerobic exercise. Figuring out how to traverse handholds is a workout for your body and your mind, and there’s nothing more motivational than finishing a new route.
  • Dancing. YouTube is littered with dance videos where you can learn a new dance and get your workout in. We’ve all seen our favorite music videos and thought ‘I can do that, how hard could it be?’. The truth is it’s wildly difficult but also incredibly fun to learn a new dance routine, making it an excellent aerobic goal.