When most people think of cardio, they think of the horrifying sound of the alarm going off at 5am and cold, windy air licking at their cheeks. While some people don’t see it as that bad, there are others who would rather have their teeth drilled at than face the pavement. This tends to be a problem for those who want to do some cardio exercise, but fortunately, there are a lot of ways to make cardio fun that don’t involve 5am or love stretches of pounding pavement.
Listen to music
No matter what type of cardio you chose to do, music can always make the experience more enjoyable. You listen to music when you lift weights to help motivate you so there’s no reason it shouldn’t when you are doing cardio. Pick your favorite playlist and turn your jams up!
Try a punching bag
It may seem a bit extreme but we all have aggression that we need to release in a healthy manner. What better way than to punch something that you can’t hurt or break while getting your exercise in? Punching bags are great to increase your strength and muscles tone while bringing your heart rate up.
Get a buddy
Everything is better when you have someone to share it with, right? Recruit a friend to do some cardio with you. Not only will you help motivate each other and keep each other on track, but you can joke around the whole time. Tell stories and laugh while you work out. Besides, if you laugh hard enough you will get an abs workout too.
It was fun in primary school and you’ll be surprised to find out how much fun it is now. You don’t necessarily have to sing nursery rhymes while jumping either. (There’s no shame if you do.)All you need is a jump rope and you can do it anywhere, even in your kitchen. Jumping rope can increase your heart rate quite a bit and you can work on your agility at the same time. Practice crisscrossing the rope and doing double jumps. It may be difficult at first but after some practice, you will be surprised at how fast your wrists can spin that rope.
Make a Splash
Swimming is a great way to work cardio into your workout regime and many times, it feels more like play than exercise. It can be either an aerobic or anaerobic exercise depending on the type of swimming exercises you do. Whether you swim in short, fast bursts or swim for distance, you are doing wonders for your cardiovascular system.
Mix things up
Chances are that you are just bored of your cardio routine so you find yourself skipping it entirely. Don’t just rely on one activity to get your cardio in. Take advantage of opportunities to go on bike rides and play Ultimate Frisbee in the park with your friends. The more activities you open yourself up to the less likely you will be to get stuck in a cardio rut.
Sam Foster is a health writer with a passion for running, swimming, and cycling. When he’s not gearing up for his next Iron Man or triathlon he writes for St. Luke’s Hospital, one of the nation’s top hospitals in heart care .