Off the Beaten Path: Cardio That Doesn’t Involve Running

People who can voluntarily wake up at 5 a.m. to log miles before work are lucky (crazy?).  They clearly enjoy running.  For many of the rest of us, going for a jog isn’t exactly a walk in the park. However, aerobic exercise is incredibly important for your overall health.  In fact, the Physical Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 2.5 hours of cardio every week.  So how can you do that without hitting the pavement?  Give these workouts a try.

Take a Class

If you belong to a gym, chances are there are a number of classes that can get your heart pumping.  Zumba and kickboxing are just two of the ways you can break a sweat without breaking into a run.  You can burn up to 500 calories in just one Zumba session!  If you have never taken a class, look for ones that are beginner-friendly.

Super Workout

A superset is when you blast through your strength-training (read: weights) workout – taking care to keep good form, of course.  Do each exercise in quick succession to get your heart rate up.  In other words, do not rest in between each exercise.

Jump Rope

If you haven’t used a jump rope since you were a child, you might be surprised.  It is not easy.  We remember laughing while doing this as a child – now, as adults, not so much.  Jumping rope has a huge calorie-burning payoff, as just 10 minutes can burn more than 130 calories.  Purchase a rope and take it with you so you can get your cardio on anywhere.

Machine Workout

Think outside the treadmill.  Your gym likely has elliptical machines, stair machines or spinning bikes.  Some of these offer an entire-body workout. The row machine offers strength and cardio.  If you hop on a stationary bike, just be forewarned that they require long workouts to get aerobic benefits.  A spinning bike – like one used in spin classes – combined with the same intensity workouts is a better fit.

Take a Dip

Swimming is one of the best all-body workouts you can find.  If you spend just 30 minutes doing the breaststroke, you can burn almost 400 calories.  What’s more, swimming is a low-impact exercise, which means it goes easy on your joints while still serving as excellent cross-training for other activities.

Walk in the Park

Yes, take a walk in the park.  Walking can still give you cardio, especially if you add hills or speed-walk.  It is lower-impact than other activities, but if done correctly, you can burn about 180 calories in 30 minutes.