If you’re like me, you may not like cardio as much as the rest of the fitness universe does. If you do like cardio, I applaud you and truly wish I had the same drive as you, but unfortunately I was not designed that way. It’s not that I hate the feeling of cardio, I do love sweating and feeling the endorphins kick in. I love how alert and refreshed I feel after a great cardio session, and I definitely love feeling the burn and powering through it.
So it sounds like I do like cardio right? Well, I love the benefits of cardio. I love the after the cardio part. The part I do not enjoy as much, is the actual act of doing a cardio workout. I find it boring. I cut the time in half, then quarters, then eighths. Then I count down the seconds until it’s over. I absolutely hate running on a treadmill, the stair-master will be the cause of my premature death and nothing on the TV screens above at the gym can take my mind off how badly I want to get off the elliptical. I’ve tried cardio classes at the gym and I’ve tried talking to a friend while I workout, but both have left me winded and no where closer to loving cardio.
I’m not proud of loathing cardio so forcefully, I fully understand cardio and its benefits. I WANT to do it! I just can’t get around the fact of how utterly dull I find it. So, with that being said, I started to step out of the conventional cardio box and really think about it. What was I possibly doing wrong? The answer to that question was, I was not choosing a method that was enough to keep me engaged.
The good news is, cardio exercise is roughly defined as any exercise that increases your heart rate. Cool! So, I started researching and figuring out activities I could do outside of a gym setting to raise my heart rate (and still reap all the benefits of cardio) without me actually hunkering down and doing a cardio workout. Below, I have compiled a list of activities that I found challenging and still increased my heart rate (and caused a little sweating to go on) without making me feel like I was even doing exercise in the first place.
Going for a Hike/Walk
The hillier the better. Find trails near your location and just go out for a walk! Grab a few friends and make a day of it. You don’t feel like you’re even exercising and you get the added bonus of being surrounded by nature.
This activity is not just for kids! Head out for an afternoon and see how far you can get. Go around your neighbourhood a couple of times. Rollerblade home from work. You’re using your legs to propel you, and it has the added bonus of it being faster than walking!
Go for a Bike Ride
Same idea as rollerblading. It might not feel like much exercising, but it still counts for more than sitting on the couch the entire afternoon. Swap your other method of transportation for bike riding and sneak in a few extra active minutes per week!
Sign up for a class or hit the town with your friends. Even just boogying alone in your room is enough to get your heart rate up. Make a playlist and dance your way through it and you may be surprised how out of breath you are at the end!
Clean the House
This is a 2 for 1 special my friends. Not only do you get a clean house out of the deal, but you also get moving! Great if your house has multi-levels, utilize the stairs. Move the furniture around. Vacuum. You would be surprised how quickly you can work up a sweat.
It is technically an activity and it gets your heart rate up!
More and more rock-climbing gyms are popping up every day! It takes real upper body strength to scale up the wall like that! Definitely an interesting way to get moving.
Indoor Trampoline Park
Again, increasing in popularity, these are popping up all over the place! While bouncing on the trampoline may have felt like nothing as a child, it will get your heart pumping to bounce from trampoline to trampoline! You will feel the added bonus of having worked out your legs the next day!
I can’t talk enough about how much I love swimming. Not only is it great cardio, it’s easier on your joints! Many pools offer open swim for relatively low prices, or you can enroll yourself in a class! My personal fav is doing laps, but I am not opposed to any games!
Badminton, volleyball and or tossing a ball/frisbee back and forth are great ways to get moving even if you’re at a barbecue. This is something you can do with family or friends, and requires minimal equipment.
Taking your Dog on a Walk
OR if you don’t have a dog, offer to walk a neighbour’s or go with a friend! Going out to walk the dog is the easiest way to get moving, and it benefits both you and your furry friend! If you already do this, switch up the route and take the long way! Take a hillier route! There’s so many ways you can adjust your regular routine to incorporate more activity.
Join a Beer League
Baseball, football, soccer. It’s the adult version of exactly what you did as a child. Get out with your friends or make some new friends and go have fun! Theres also usually the added bonus of drinking beer whilst in a beer league, so that’s always something to remember!
I am not a fitness expert, however, these are some of the things I did to get more cardio-type activities into my day-to-day life without wanting to cry from doing conventional cardio training. The idea behind this post is to get moving outside of a gym setting. These ideas can be added onto a regular gym regime! I’m hoping I inspired you to try something out of your comfort zone or find something you enjoy more than conventional cardio!
Do you have any other activities you do outside of traditional cardio? Did you try out any of these and love them? Let me know in the comments!