Transform Your Cardio Without Running

Never succumb to boring cardio again!

By: Emily Freeman

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by running? You probably know at least one person who lives and breaths for an awesome run… and you’ve always thought they were nuts. It’s a good thing that running, or any sort of repetitive exercises like the elliptical, rowing machine, or even Stairmaster, are definitely not the only effective forms of cardio. Skeptical? We’re about to show you four cardio without running tips that will help you get fit, tone up, and burn major calories without having to step foot on a treadmill.  

RELATED: How Much Cardio? Guidelines For Health and Weight Loss 

But First: The Benefits of Cardio 

Whether you think you enjoy cardio or not, it’s a vital part of your fitness routine. Cardio is more than a means to burn calories; it also helps sculpt muscle tone and supports hypertrophysupports heart health, gives your brain a boost, and improves mood, focus, and productivity. 

However, you have to do enough to experience these benefits. This is why it’s so important to find a style of cardio that you actually enjoy (and we promise, it does exist). The CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of low to moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise per week. How you choose to split up your time is up to you! 

Studies show longer durations of exercise can be just as effective as short sessions. It’s about finding the right balance to fit your schedule, lifestyle, goals, and preferences. If you get bored or tired after 30 minutes of exercise, fitting in 90 minutes of cardio on a Saturday morning may not feel inspiring to you. 

How To Do Home Cardio Without Running

Ready to see how you can get cardio in without having to go for a run? Here are our top cardio alternatives to running that can be done at home, without equipment. 

#1 Try Kickboxing to Let Off Some Steam

You can be a lover and still get a thrill putting up a little fight. Kickboxing is a full-body workout that requires endurance, speed, and power. Full-extension punching and kicking take a lot of force, which means you’re recruiting multiple muscles at once and core stability strength with every move. This will fire up your muscles in your arms, shoulders, back, abs, butt, and legs, all while burning some major calories. Kickboxing can be modifiable for any level, whether you need to take it down a notch or want to bring on the heat. 

#2 Make It Short and Sweet With HIIT 

If you have a busy schedule or just don’t want to spend a lot of time working out, say hello to HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). You can do more in less time because HIIT workouts create an “afterburn” effect. By combining short bursts of all-out effort with brief rest periods, your body ends up burning more calories up to 48 hours after your workout is done during the recovery process. HIIT is also a super effective way to build muscle with your own body weight. HIIT workouts usually include a combination of compound and plyometric, or explosive, movements, think jump squats, burpees, mountain climbers, and jump lunges that require muscular strength. 

RELATED: Hate Burpees? Try These 7 Effective Burpee Alternatives 

#3 Turn It Into a Dance Party

Love to boogie? Turn up the volume on a dance workout video for an awesome cardio workout that will feel like a party. Dancing does more than help you break a sweat. When you listen to music you love, it can give your creativity and memory a boost, which has an anti-aging effect on your body. Letting loose without judgment reduces stress. Dancing also challenges you cognitively since you have to focus on the movement patterns. And don’t be discouraged if you’re not catching on to them right away. Muscle memory is learned by repetition, so just keep on dancing! 

#4 Get All the Results With None of the Impact

Getting your heart rate up doesn’t have to be hard on your joints. Whether you suffer from knee, hip, or back pain or just want to avoid it, low-impact cardio workouts can be an effective form of home cardio. And walking or cycling aren’t the only forms of low-impact cardio. Certain styles of interval training, Pilates, Barre, and circuit training will give you the benefits of cardio while also sculpting muscle tone.  

Get Started With These Cardio Alternatives to Running

We can’t think of anything that can make a home cardio workout more fun than doing them with the guidance of an inspiring fitness expert. That’s why the FitOn app has a library of quick, free (zero running required) cardio workouts for you to do anywhere, anytime. 

If you haven’t joined our community yet, sign up for free and get access to unlimited free workouts, including those cardio without running workouts you’ll look forward to!