These cardio workouts are perfect if you hate running

Okay, so...most people in this world *hate* running. In fact, a study from Global News found that only eight percent of regular runners actually enjoy running. And do we blame them, or you? No. Running can be painful, boring and an overall traumatic experience. But have no fear: there are still *plenty* of other cardio workouts to get your blood pumping that doesn't require a trip to the emergency room (ok, maybe we're being a little dramatic).


Swimming laps at a challenging pace can burn almost as many calories as running. If you have a rolled ankle or knee problems, swimming is a smart workout option because it doesn't put too much strain or impact on the bones and joints. During the wintertime, an indoor pool may be hard to find. You can always try one of the following cardio workouts until the weather warms up.

Try this: Swim 15-20 minutes every other day, and gradually increase to 30 minutes five days a week. At first, do the stroke you're most comfortable with, but try out new ones as you get more experienced in the pool.


Biking is another low-impact workout that's easy on your back, hips, knees and ankles, while still providing a high cardio rate. Running typically burns more calories than biking because you use more muscles, but biking is gentler on the body and is usually easier to do for a longer duration and at a higher speed. Biking's also a prime way to get a stronger core, legs and glutes.

Try this: Always warm-up with a slow pace for 5-10 minutes. Boost the speed for about 15-20 minutes, making sure you're breathing hard and getting a sweat. Cool down for another 5-10 minutes at an easy pace. Gradually work up to getting on your bike 3-5 times a week, for 30-60 minutes at a time.

Jump Rope

Jump roping (not the type we used to do at recess) is an extremely effective workout when it comes to getting your heart rate up, as well as improving muscle strength and coordination. You're strengthening the muscle areas around your ankle joints, quads and core, which helps prevent future injury. Jumping is seen to be less injury-prone than running because *both* of your feet are supporting the impact, rather than one at a time during a run. Fact: Jump roping for 10 minutes is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile!

Try this: Make sure you have a good pair of training shoes (learn about the different types of workout shoes here) and a jump rope that's about three feet longer than you. Start slow at short durations of time. Jump for 1-2 minutes, rest for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times for a total of 10 minutes. Gradually build toward a 15-30 minute workout, three times a week.


You don't have to be a competitive dancer to engage in this *super* fun workout. Zumba is one of the most exciting ways to get your blood pumping, while enhancing muscular fitness and flexibility at the same time. Invite a friend (socially distanced, ofc) and get your groove on! You're guaranteed to get in a *major* sweat.

Try this: The Fitness Marshall on YouTube has *tons* of short dance workouts to popular songs like Levitating, Teenage Dream and Stupid Love. You can also explore Zumba classes in your area (if you're in Chicago, peep GL girl Julia Kerpel) or just stick to the classic JustDance (yep, that counts too!).


Although this workout may be more enjoyable if you've had previous experience, it's never too late to pick up a ball and hit the courts. The fast-paced energy combined with plyometrics (jump training) makes basketball a great way to increase your aerobic endurance *and* tone your muscles. 

Try this: The key is to keep moving up and down the court (or driveway) rather than repeatedly shooting the ball in the same place. Gather a small group of friends, while following COVID-19 guidlelines, and go to the nearest court in your neighborhood. Or set up your headphones/speaker and ball-out solo, following one of these drills or just doing it freestyle.

Can't fit any of these into your busy sched? Check out our fave easy workouts for a *super* quick sweat sesh.

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by Elise Jones | 3/3/2021