Cardio without Running: Five Simple Ways to Get Your Heart Pumping

By Laurie Fanelli in Healthy Feeling

You already know how important aerobic exercise is to a happy, healthy life. It can still be hard, however, to find the time and energy to complete the American Heart Association (AHA)‘s recommended thirty minutes of cardio five days a week. When running isn’t feasible or of interest to you, it often makes working out more of a burden.

Thankfully, when life gets busy, there are some simple ways to do cardio without running, training, or even hitting the gym. Here are a few options to help you get your heart rate up even with a packed schedule.

Interval Training

Interval training workouts, which combine a few basic exercises, are a great way to get your body moving in the comfort of your own home in a relatively short period of time. Most interval training workouts don’t even require equipment, and YouTube is a great place to find workouts that suit any fitness level. My favorite channel for high-intensity interval training is Fitness Blender, whose instructors offer stripped-down routines to get you in shape with no running involved.

Blended Yoga

yoga can provide a cardio workout

Running is a fantastic way to complete your cardio, burn calories, and get your heart pumping, but it can also be tough on your knees and hips. A low-impact way to get cardio without running is to combine dynamic yoga poses in a quick and efficient way that engages your muscles just the right amount. Local yoga studios often offer aerobic fusion classes, but BeFiT has a large collection of recorded routines available at your fingertips. Other aerobic-fusion classes, like Zumba with toning, also offer the chance to get your heart rate up and break a sweat without pounding the pavement.

Bike Around

Riding a bike is an enjoyable activity and a great way to get the entire family involved in your fitness routine. Group up for a family ride around your neighborhood or at a local nature preserve, giving your exercise routine the chance to create unforgettable memories and traditions when it’s too nice to stay indoors. If you work locally, biking to the office will guarantee you get your exercise while also reducing your carbon footprint (and eliminating some of that expensive commuting stress).

Stroller Speed Walk

women getting exercise while walking with strollers

It’s especially difficult for new moms to find time to exercise, but a speed walk around town with your new bundle of joy is one of the best cardio workouts without running. High-intensity aerobic workouts often push your heart rate out of the ideal fat-burning range, whereas more moderate exercises like speed walking will have you burning fat on top of the calories you take in every day. The easiest way to calculate your fat-burning range is to first determine your max heart rate, which is 220 minus your age. From here, your fat-burning range is 60 to 70 percent of this figure. Keep in mind there are a variety of apps available to help you find your magic number.

Back to School

Remember back in gym class when your teacher would lead you through a variety of exercises, like jumping jacks, burpees, and sit-ups? These simple cardio moves are still effective and can be completed almost anywhere. Another fun idea is to incorporate aerobics while your kids are playing at the park—which a jungle gym makes easy to do. By doing chin-ups on the monkey bars or assisted push-ups on the picnic benches, you’re sure to get your heart rate up while following your little ones around!

Cardio workouts are important for our overall well-being, especially if you have to keep up with a busy life. Find ways to make exercising fun and accessible, and you’ll find yourself on a path of health and wellness that benefits you and your family.

If you avoid running, how do you get your cardio in? Let @TomsofMaine know on Twitter!

Image sources: Flickr | Flickr | Wikimedia Commons

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Thirty minutes of cardio exercise five days a week is a cornerstone of living a healthy life. And if running is too high-impact or of no interest, you still have a myriad of cardio options available that also jibe with your schedule. Whether at home, on the go, or somewhere in between, incorporate simple cardio exercises into your routine to ensure you stay fit year after year.