10 Easy Cardio Workouts For People That Hate Running


Last Spring I decided to become a runner. For years I have heard friends and family rave about the benefits of running, and it’s been something I have always told myself I would do. I’ve yearned for the wind in my hair as I jogged along busy streets like those dedicated fitness buffs I see every day when I am taking my kids to school.

So I bought myself a nice pair of running shoes, put in some wireless earphones, switched on a running playlist and headed out the door my first day.

I hated it.

The next day I tried again, sure that with a bit more practice I would get the hang of it. I had that runner’s high to look forward to!

I hated it more.

Thankfully there are more cardio options out there than going on jogs. If you are one of those people who, like me, cannot stand running but want to get a good cardio in on a tight schedule, here are ten ease cardio workouts to try at home, at the gym, and outside.

10 Easy Cardio Workouts for You

At Home

You don’t have to have a home gym to workout at your place. These workouts only take a bit of space and will really get the heart pumping.

1. Jumping Rope 

It isn’t just for kids! Reach down deep inside of you and find that child that loved the thrill of reaching a new rope skipping record. Jump ropes are cheap, ubiquitous and only need a little space. Go into your backyard, onto the porch, or even clear some space in your kitchen.

2. Rebounding

Another fun one is a rebounder. These mini trampolines are easier on the joints than jumping jacks, and a blast to hop onto. They sell online for anywhere, with some coming with handlebars if you worry about your balance. I bought one of these and have to fight my kids off of it.

3. Exercise Videos

They may be cheesy, but workout videos are a staple of the fitness industry. They are also more accessible than ever thanks to sites like YouTube, BodyRock and many others that have free content you can follow in literally any category.

At The Gym

Have a gym membership? You can get the most out of it without spending too much time there, you just need to know what options are best for busy fitness seekers.

4. Rowing Machine

If your gym has one (and they almost certainly do), a rowing machine is one of the best machines you can workout on. Not only is it a serious cardio workout but it also helps you to develop stronger muscles.

5. Kickboxing

Your local gym probably has a kickboxing class available. If not you can often find local kickboxing gyms providing specials, so you can try it out. For those who want a high impact, serious workout but only had a day or two a week it is a great choice. You will burn some serious calories while learning some basic self defense.

6. Elliptical

The elliptical is an interesting machine. It provides a similar workout to a run while being easier on the joints. It also incorporates arm movements and resistance so you get a better workout in less time.

7. Treadmill

Don’t worry, this isn’t a suggestion that you start running after all. A treadmill allows you to get in some good exercise while keeping your speed low. Just crank up the incline and you will vastly improve your cardio and calorie burn, without having to spend a lot of time on the belt.

In The Great Outdoors

There is nothing like getting out in the fresh air, especially when you are getting healthy while doing it. Here are some great ways to get in that cardio while enjoying the sunshine.

8. Swimming

It’s among one of the best cardio exercises around. The water offers natural resistance and keeps you cool, and it builds muscle while getting the heart moving. Local community and rec center pools will often have lanes for lap swimmers, many of which are outside.

9. Biking

It is amazing how many calories you can burn by hopping onto a bike. You can take off around the neighborhood, or head into the mountains for a thrilling trip down the trails. You may even want to find local biking groups that meet together and take routes through the city.

10. Hiking

No matter where you live there is a good chance there are some hiking trails not too far from you. Taking an afternoon to try a new one can be a fun couples workout or even a rewarding family activity. If you are in a city, try searching for park trails or go for some urban exploration by walking around new neighborhoods and seeing what your local community has to offer. Every once in awhile maybe you can make it out into the local wilderness for something a bit more challenging, such as for a weekend day out of town.

Think Outside The Runner’s Box

I will never understand the appeal of running or how those who swear by it can see it as anything but pure torture. Those masochists must have some kind of gene, a mutation in their brain, something that makes the steady pound of the payment, nonstop frantic beating of their hearts and burning in their whole lower body pleasant rather than the misery it is for me. They have my (bewildered) respect.

The rest of us have no need to fear. Sure, running isn’t our thing but cardio can still be a part of our daily lives. All you have to do to be taking part in cardio is keeping your heart rate up through movement for a significant block of time. So whether you are dancing to a high energy playlist, going for a nature walk or running up and down your basement stairs, there are always options out there that can give you the results you are looking for.

There’s no end to the things you can do, so running never has to be a part of your daily fitness regime again.

Lauren Abbott is a wife, mom, writer, and fitness enthusiast. She has gained majority of experience writing and researching for NordicTrack, which has helped her branch out on her own as a writer. She loves all things healthy and fit and has found that writing about them a complementary pairing of her greatest passions. You can find Lauren on Twitter.

Lauren Abbott


Hello everyone! I’m glad to have you here. I’m a medical technologist by profession. My second love is writing. So, I’m focusing on providing content to help other people with their health problems. I hope I can be of help to you.

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