Running is typically one of those love it or hate it kind of workouts for most people… The beauty of exercise, however, is that there are countless workouts to try from and figure out which one is best for you. Just as with lifestyle and diet, a kind of exercise that works for one person may not work for another and vice versa. So, it is completely okay if you are not a runner — there are plenty of other cardio exercises. These are a few of my favorite alternatives that are not only just as effective, but also fun and different than usual!
Boxing is no longer just a professional sport for the greats like Muhammad Ali or Floyd Mayweather. Fitness boxing has become one of the most popular ways to exercise recently — and for a reason! Fitness boxing has many health benefits, while simultaneously eliminating the risk of head trauma and severe injury from the professional sport. Not only is boxing a great aerobic alternative to running, but it can also increase metabolism, improve coordination, strengthen and define muscles, and even relieve stress. According to one of my favorite boxing classes, , you can burn up to 13 calories per minute (around 585 per class)!
Jumping rope is often overlooked and forgotten about as a kind of cardio exercise, but it should really be more recognized! Not only is it a fun alternative to running, but there are many other benefits as well. It is a huge fat burner and studies have shown that you can burn up an average of 1,300 calories per hour of doing it! I recommend trying out a Jump Rope class at a gym like or even buying and following an online video at home.
HIIT or high intensity interval training, is an extremely effective workout and perfect for those who are on a time crunch. HIIT training basically involves doing exercises like burpees, jump squats, mountain climbers and more at an all-out effort with very brief recovery time in between. Studies have shown that HIIT can help balance blood sugar levels, increase muscle growth and speed up metabolism, which will allow you to burn more calories for hours after your workout. Although HIIT may seem intimidating at first, it is definitely worth giving it a try! I love the , a 28 min HIIT workout by which gives you a step-by-step workout guide.
If you are a looking for a low-impact, cardiovascular and full body workout, then rowing may be perfect for you! One of my favorite rowing classes in NYC, , affirms that every stroke on the rowing machine works 84% of your muscles while reducing the risk of injury, because rowing does not impact your joints like some other forms of cardio do. It is such a great workout that many HIIT classes include rowing as a portion of the class and City Row also includes additional HIIT exercises to ensure maximum burn!
Spinning is without a doubt the most typical cardio alternative to running, and justifiably so. Spinning has taken over the exercise world and some even consider their class an essential part of their daily routine. Spinning is a fun, low impact exercise that is known to reduce stress, promote weight loss, build strength and muscle and increase stamina. This full-body workout can burn over 500 calories in only 45 minutes. Spin classes are usually very lively and play great music, so the workout flies by!
It is no surprise that swimmers are known to be in amazing shape! Swimming is a full-body, low impact yet extremely effective workout. It is a great way to build muscle definition and endurance and it is also a great way to relieve muscle tension. Many gyms have pools and even offer swimming lessons, like . I also love swimming as a way to get in some exercise while on vacation by the beach or if your hotel has a pool!
If you are on vacation (or live by the beach), beach volleyball is a fun and easy way to get in some cardio exercise with friends! When I am on vacation, I always make sure to get some sort or exercise or movement in my day, but don’t always have easy access to a gym. I’ve learned to be creative and make the best of what I have at the moment! Not only is beach volley a fun way to spend time with friends, it also is a great cardio workout with the added intensity of the sand. The softness of the sand challenges your balance and strength which can help increase calorie burn and endurance.
Tennis may be an excellent option for you if you like social sports. It is a very popular sport to play with friends worldwide, both professionally and recreationally. Tennis is a great kind of cardiovascular exercise because it is known to be an incredible fat burner, muscle and flexibility builder, balance improver and stress reliever. In addition to these amazing benefits, research suggests that you can burn around 420 to 600 calories per game!
If you are lucky enough to live near hiking trails, definitely take advantage of this amazing, full body cardio exercise! The natural obstacles and steepness of trails help to build muscle, increase balance and even aid to improve the respiratory system. Hiking even has several mental health benefits associated with it! Research has shown that hiking increases happiness and creativity, lowers depression, and improves overall wellbeing. It’s a great way to step out in nature and spend quality time with friends or family that you take along with you.
Surprisingly, trampoline jumping may be one of the best forms of cardio exercises because of how many benefits it has. Jumping engages every muscle in the body, so it is a full-body workout without the impact of jumping on a hard surface. A study by NASA’s Journal of Applied Physiology suggests that this fun workout is 68% more effective and burns more calories than jogging, without stressing your metabolism. If you’re based in NYC, definitely try , a jumping class that blends cardio endurance, HIIT training and muscle toning all-in-one!
Although skiing is not always an option for most people, it is without a doubt an incredible workout! So whether you’re on vacation or live by a ski slope, skiing is the perfect way to get in some exercise during the winter months. Skiing is a great endurance booster and muscle strengthener. It has been known to improve balance, flexibility, core strength and even mood and deep sleep!