You know it’s good for you, but you just can’t bring yourself to lace up your shoes and go for a run. The very idea of “fun cardio” sounds like a bad joke.
A healthy cardio regimen need not feel like a chore. If just going for a run is too monotonous for you, give one of these fun cardio activities a try.
Take Your Bike Out for a Spin
While it does require an upfront investment, it won’t take long for you to start seeing dividends. Depending on your pace, an average person will burn between 450 to 750 calories per hour cycling.
Once you get into a groove with your new pastime, you can even volunteer yourself for a good cause. Most cities host charity cycling events throughout the year.
Organizations like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital organize events across the country to raise money for lifesaving medical research and financial assistance to families in need. While you’re out there shredding calories you will be helping to save lives.
Spend Some Quality Time with Man’s Best Friend
If you’re fortunate enough to have a four-legged friend in your life, then here’s something to benefit you both.
You have to walk the dog anyways, so why not spend an extra five or ten minutes with your canine companion?
Pick up the pace, while you’re at it. While everyone’s body is different, by using a calorie chart, I estimate that by increasing your walking speed from 3.5 mph to 4 mph you’ll burn between 875 and 1,200 extra calories a month just walking the dog.
You can even work your pooch into your regular workouts. “Doga”, or “dog yoga”, is becoming increasingly trendy. The idea is to use your dog as a prop in various yoga poses, making them more strenuous and helping to get your heart pumping.
Plan a Beach Day
Depending on where you live, the weather may still be mild enough for you to squeeze in a couple solid beach days before winter.
You can increase the intensity of any cardio activity just by doing it on soft sand. The sand shifts beneath your feet, forcing you to you use more energy and get your pulse pounding.
Have some fun with it while you’re at it. Stage a volleyball game with friends or rent a kayak or paddleboard and hit the waves, or just kick the soccer ball around with a couple of friends. Any of these fun cardio activities will have you forgetting that you’re working out.
Take a Hike
Whether you live in the concrete jungle or out in the ‘burbs, everyone needs an escape every now and again.
If traversing uneven terrain for miles carrying a weighted pack on your back doesn’t seem like fun, bear in mind that most offer multiple trails of variable length and difficulty. A novice is unlikely to get in over their head.
Not only is hiking a total-body workout, but it’s good for the mind too. A 2015 Stanford study found quantifiable evidence that being out in nature for as little as 90 minutes caused improved mood and a lower risk of depression.
Try Out Your Local Rock Climbing Gym
If you’re still struggling to psyche yourself up that workout, maybe something a little more adventurous will get your heart racing.
Rock climbing gyms have become common over the last couple of decades, to the point that most cities have at least one or two within a comfortable drive.
Purists might tell you that there’s nothing like the real thing, but the fact is that a climbing gym offers the same full-body workout without the risk or environmental concerns that come with scaling a real cliff out in the wilderness.
Embrace Your Inner Child at the Trampoline Gym
If you like the idea of the rock climbing gym but want something a little more spring in your step, then the trampoline gym is right up your alley.
Like the rock climbing gym, they’ve become quite common over the last few years. Odds are you live within easy reach of one.
It’s low-impact, gets the blood pumping, and we all know you can’t be in a bad mood on a trampoline.
When you’re ready to ratchet up the intensity, give urban rebounding a try. It’s a dedicated workout regimen that uses a personal-sized trampoline as its primary equipment.
It’s a variable intensity program that an increasing number of gyms offer classes in. Or if you’re willing to invest in your own trampoline, you can workout at home at your convenience.
Hit the Dance Floor
Get your pulse racing to the beat and you’ll be thinking that maybe there is such a thing as fun cardio after all.
Hitting the club is certainly an option. Or you could just throw on some music and dance about your home.
No worries if you’re not a natural dancer. There are classes out there to suit any tastes. Salsa or swing for the romantics, hip-hop or African traditional for something more vigorous.
Or for the extra adventurous, pole dancing has been gaining acceptance and popularity. Don’t smirk; it’s a ridiculous cardio, core and upper body workout, and a potent confidence booster.
Work Off Your Stress on the Heavy Bag
After a long day with your boss breathing down your neck, there’s nothing quite like lacing up your gloves to work through some issues at the boxing gym.
The martial arts, in general, are great cardio workouts, but striking-based arts like boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai are the clear winners in terms of calories burned. An average person can expect to burn around 700 calories in a one-hour training session.
Play, Dance or Fight? Get All Three-in-One with Capoeira
Why settle for just one when you can have the best of three worlds? The Brazilian art of Capoeira is an acrobatic martial art with a rich history rooted in the cultures of the West African peoples taken to Brazil.
It is thought to have been invented by slaves as a way to defend themselves with minimal use of their hands. Over the course of several centuries, it evolved into a fully realized martial art.
In modernity, it is a mix of sport and performance art. Two competitors try to score points by landing blows, much like how Olympic boxing used to be scored. Their elegant movements, complex sequences, and strategic feints give the appearance of a pair of partners engaged in a frenetic dance.
There is a learning curve to the art, but the effort is well worthwhile. Capoeira is a wonderfully fun cardio exercise that will build agility, full-body strength, physical endurance, and increased flexibility.
Spend Some Quality Time with an Intimate Partner
There’s really no coy way to put it; sex counts as a workout.
It’s hard to definitively say how many calories you’ll burn between the sheets since, the uh, variations you can get up to are only limited by your imagination. But on average, a University of Montreal study found that men burn around 100 calories in one session while women burn around 69.
Hardly anything to write home about, I know. But in terms of fun cardio activities, I think most people would agree that it can’t be beat.
Get the Most Out of Some Fun Cardio
We want you to have fun out there, but it won’t do you much good if you don’t fuel up properly. Even if your goal is to lose weight, we’ve talked before about cutting pre-workout meals will do more harm than good.
Just fixing yourself a protein smoothie before hitting the beach, Capoeira class or hiking trail can help shred off the fat.
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