Cardio exercise is incredibly important for improving heart strength, helping you become more athletic and ensuring your overall health. For great heart health and a longer life, doctors recommend that you get cardio exercise several times a week.
Most people will run for their cardio exercise, but that’s not always the best option. If the weather is poor, running may simply be out of the question. It could be risky to go running in the rain or snow or in the bitter cold. Not everyone lives in an area of the world where running is a safe option. So, what kind of cardio can you do if you can’t run? We’re going to show you how to do cardio without running and give you a few options you can do instead.
It’s important that you still get your heart rate up and keep it up for at least 5 minutes a day for good heart health. That way, your heart will last longer, and you should live longer as well. That’s how important cardio exercises are, so if running is out of the question, or you prefer to do something other than run, here are some alternatives for you.
Best Cardio Exercises that Don’t Include Running
Maybe you can’t ride your bike for the same reason you can’t run, but if you’re looking for something to do other than running, biking is a great option. It’s an excellent cardio exercise that is more relaxed than running. A lot of people will bike rather than run because it’s more restful and not as demanding for them. It may also be safer in some areas because of busy city streets. You may be less likely to get knocked down by a car if you’re bicycling as opposed to walking just because of where you live.
Bicycling is a cardio exercise that you can easily control the pace of. You can get your heart rate up for a while and then coast, giving yourself rest periods. Biking is also a great way to reduce your environmental impact and cut down your carbon footprint. If you bike instead of taking a car, you can help contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and do your part to save the earth. This way, you’ll be getting a great workout and be able to get to work, school, or wherever else you need to go.
2. Jump Rope
How to do cardio at home without running? If you’re trying to avoid the bad weather or you just have very limited space to work with, then jumping rope is a great alternative to running. It gets your heart rate up fast and keeps it up for as long as you can manage. You won’t need much room at all, and you can get a great workout in a short period of time. Some people find jump rope too challenging and too hard on their knees, but you can take this as slow and easy as you need to.
If you haven’t jumped roped in a while, you may find it strenuous. Make sure you ease into it and give yourself plenty of time to rest. A good cardio workout to start out with is to try to keep your heart rate up for five minutes at a time. This doesn’t mean you need to be jumping rope the entire time. You can jump rope for about 30 seconds and then take 20 seconds of rest. During that rest time, your heart rate can still be elevated, but your body will get a chance to recuperate. Then come and go back and do another 30 seconds of jumping rope, and keep this cycle going for five minutes, if possible. Just doing 5 minutes of cardio exercise of day and keeping your heart rate elevated during that time even with rest breaks will be a great way to strengthen your heart and ensure longer life.
Are you looking for a good cardio workout you can do with a partner? Strap on a pair of boxing gloves and go at it. The intensity of this workout will help you get that heart rate up quickly and keep it up. When boxing, you should constantly be moving, watching your opponent and keeping your distance until you’re ready to land a punch. This way, you will keep your heart rate high and get a great workout in a short period of time.
Another great way to get your heart rate up is to do burpees. This can be tough for someone who isn’t in shape or who isn’t used to working out often. However, the challenge of burpees and their intensity is a great way to get in cardio exercise that is very effective.
Burpees work your entire body and really challenge you, which is why we recommend them to anyone who can handle them. You probably don’t want to start with this, if you haven’t worked out in a while. You can really only get the full benefits from burpees if you keep your form while doing them, which is going to be a challenge for someone who’s not used to working out. Consider holding off on burpees if you’re just getting back into exercising and use them as a way to change up your workout sessions and make them more interesting and challenging once you start to get back into shape.
For a cardio exercise that you can do at your own pace, swimming is a great choice and an excellent alternative to running. If the weather is bad outside or too cold for running, it may be perfect weather for indoor pool activities. Swimming works your entire body, focusing primarily on your upper body, specifically your arms and shoulders, but it definitely includes the whole body.
This is why it’s such a great cardio activity, and you won’t burn as much fat and calories in the same amount of time as you would with running, but it’s still a very effective exercise. In fact, if you can just do one exercise and only one, swimming is probably the best thing you can do because of how it works your entire body.
6. Treadmills and Ellipticals
Maybe you can’t run for whatever reason, but perhaps you have an opportunity to use a treadmill or an elliptical machine. These can be excellent alternatives, giving you many of the same benefits as running outdoors and running on a track but in a more confined space. Whether you have a machine at home or you go to the gym, getting your workout on a treadmill or elliptical is excellent cardio exercise.
If you haven’t worked out in a while and you feel out of shape, you should start at a low speed on the treadmill or low resistance on the elliptical. Take your time and ease into it, warming up before you get into more of a high intensity exercise. The aim is to get your heart rate up and to keep it up for effective cardio exercise. Once you’re comfortable with it, you can do a high intensity workout on these machines that’ll really get the heart pumping, the blood flowing, and the calories burning.
There are any number of exercises for cardio we could list here that you can do at home or at the gym in a small space. We want to highlight squats, though, because of how they work a lot of your body and get your heart rate up quickly. For most people, it won’t take many squats to start getting the heart pumping. They engage a lot of your body, and you can make them even more effective by adding weights to your squats.
Maybe running isn’t an option right now, but there are tons of other cardio exercises you can do. We’ve just given you a short list of options, and we hope this inspires you to keep working out and keep your cardio sessions going even when you don’t feel like running or running isn’t something you can do at the moment.
My name is Ellis Francis and I have been a personal fitness trainer, sports nutritionalist and health and fitness advisor for over 25 years. I am the lead health and fitness advisor at https://ahumanbody.com.