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Fun Cardio Workouts Without Running

A fun cardio workout might sound impossible, but hear us out. Cardio is often the bane of anyone trying to get fit. The problem for most people is that cardio workouts are boring. Unlike weight training or playing sports with friends, cardio usually means repetitive and ongoing motion. Sometimes we forget that cardio without running is effective, too! Let’s dive into some fun cardio workouts.

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Five New Cardio Workouts To Try

To improve your cardiovascular system and set up long-term fat burning, most health routines suggest 30 minutes of cardio a day. Spending 30 minutes running on a treadmill or using a stationary bike or elliptical isn’t exactly thrilling. Looking to add a spark to meet your daily and weekly cardio goals? Many people adjust their fitness routines to include lifting in short bursts, pushups, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and more to get their heart pumping. Here are five fun ways to get your cardio in.

Rotational and Interval Cardio

To develop a rotation or interval routine, pick a set of three to ten exercises. These exercises can target an area such as the upper body or legs, or create a full-body routine.

The idea is to move fluidly between each exercise to keep your heart rate and pace at a high level. Once you complete a round of exercises, give yourself a brief moment of rest and get back to it. This keeps your exercise interesting and keeps your pulse high to achieve your half-hour of cardio.

Kickboxing and Martial Arts

One of the best ways to reach and stay in a cardio state is fast-paced combat moves. Try to find a local gym or class to learn boxing, kick-boxing, or martial arts routines.

man doing cardio boxing workout with punching bag

You can also practice on your own, in an open space with or without a punching bag. The goal is to keep your arms and legs moving at a steady pace so that your pulse is reaching an ideal beat per minute.

Online Fitness Classes

If you enjoy group fitness, try changing things up with an online fitness class. You can follow along with a pre-recorded class found on YouTube. For extra motivation, join live classes via Zoom. Online classes are an affordable way to try out new types of cardio and you can find options from expert instructors and popular fitness studios around the world.

Hold yourself accountable with Zoom classes where you can keep your camera on or choose an online class that has the ability to let you see a “scoreboard” for some healthy competition with others in the class. Some companies even add a social component, so you can take online classes with friends and family.

Run With Your Dog

Hear me out! Want to make running around the block more like an adventure? Bring your dog.

Running with a dog is not like doing the same routine every morning. Their interests change and they have a different endurance pace than you do. Take different routes, run along different streets, and stop to sniff new corners. Running, jogging, or just power-walking with your dog can make a neighborhood cardio routine more interesting.

man running with dog

Cardio Planking

Let's say it's raining outside, your gym is closed, and you have minimal home equipment. Maybe you have no workout equipment at all. You can still achieve cardio without repetitive exercise. Try cardio planking to boost your core strength and cardiovascular health at the same time!

Here are a few cardio plank options:

  • Get into a plank position and try moving one leg at a time. Bring one knee forward and then back.
  • Do "plank-jacks" by jumping your feet outward and back in.
  • Crunch inward from a plank and return to the center.
  • Lift one foot at a time for three-point planks.
  • Do a rotation of different planking exercises for a quick and easy interval cardio workout with no equipment.

How To Make Cardio More Fun

So, what if machine cardio or block-running is your best option for cardio? How do you keep it interesting on a run or using an elliptical machine?

Distract Yourself with Media

Give yourself something else to pay attention to. Watch an interesting show, listen to a podcast, or put on inspiring music and let your mind do something else.

man on treadmill with headphones and tv

Some people prefer to get lost in a story, taking in new facts and learning from documentaries. Some find that intense visuals help carry them away from the workout machine. Mentally removing yourself from machine cardio is the best way to make the minutes fly past.

Digitally Race Somebody

Like to work out with your head in the game? Race somebody, even if it's yourself. Bring a friend and set timing or speed challenges. If you're alone, beat your own best times and strive to meet milestones. Focusing on your achievements can help you feel tuned into your machine cardio workout.

Try Interval Training

Set your cardio machine (or fitness tracker) to interval training. Alternate between running, jogging, walking, and possibly off-machine aerobics. HIIT or high-intensity interval training is a great way to do cardio and still keep your routine interesting—even when working out on machines.

Sex Can Be Cardio

Did you know you can burn over a 100 calories while having sex? That's equivalent to running a mile, and a lot more fun!

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