When most people think of cardiovascular (cardio) exercise, the first activities that come to mind are running, cycling, or swimming. Yes, these are great ways to get your heart rate up, but not everyone enjoys them. Cardio should be a key part of your healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

If you want to incorporate more cardio into your exercise routine, don’t be intimidated by the seasoned marathon runners you see in your neighborhood. Heart-healthy workouts don’t have to involve spending hours on the treadmill. There are many fun and creative ways to do cardio while having fun.

Why do you need cardio exercises in the first place?

Cardio is defined as any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and keeps it at a high level for an extended period of time. Your respiratory system starts to work harder as you begin to breathe faster and deeper. Your blood vessels expand to bring more oxygen to your muscles, and your body releases natural painkillers (endorphins).

The physical and mental benefits of this type of exercise are seemingly endless.

Manage your weight: There’s plenty of scientific evidence that 150 to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio a week will help you maintain your weight over time.


Prevent heart disease: Research has shown that increasing heart rate through regular cardio exercises helps prevent heart disease.

Mood Enhancement: It probably comes as no surprise to you, but research supports the role cardio exercise plays in improving your mood and increasing your happiness. Cardio increases the production of those feel-good painkillers called endorphins.

You will live longer: People who do regular cardio exercises live longer.

14 fun cardio exercise options

Think outside the box and try something new with these fun cardio options. The key to any successful workout program is finding an activity that you enjoy. Once you find an exercise you love, you’ll have so much fun, you’ll have to remember that you’re also improving your health!

1. Skipping

Chances are you haven’t jumped rope since fourth grade recess. If so, go get yourself a jump rope today! This form of cardio can be done just about anywhere. Put on your favorite playlist and jump to the beat. By slipping your jump rope into your backpack, suitcase or purse, you can do your 150 minutes of exercise per week as soon as you have some free time.

2. Dancing

Whether or not you think you have two left feet, dancing is a great way to let off steam while getting some physical exercise. You may think dancing is limited to Zumba classes, but what’s stopping you from just dancing in your bedroom? Turn up the music and dance like crazy.

3. Organized sports

You may not think of yourself as a “sportsman,” but there are tons of adult sports leagues out there that are filled with people just like you, people who want to have fun and be healthy. Sign up for football, basketball or any other sport that interests you. Running around a field or court is guaranteed to get your heart rate up. Search your municipality for non-competitive sports leagues. You might even make a new friend while you’re there!

4. Brisk walking

You don’t have to look like one of those walkers to experience the benefits of this type of cardio. Get out (or stay on the treadmill if the weather is bad) and pick up the pace.

5. Swim

This low-impact form of cardio is a great way to get your heart rate up while protecting your joints. If you’re not confident in your swimming abilities, grab a kickboard and swim a few lengths. This will not only work your legs, but also your abs.

6. Boxing

We can’t all be Rocky Balboa, but everyone can use boxing to get healthy. 30 minutes of boxing can help you burn around 400 calories.

7. Take a trampoline

If you have a huge, bouncy trampoline in your backyard, great. Jumping and playing isn’t just good for your health, it’s also fun! If you don’t have a huge trampoline, don’t deprive yourself of this possibility. You can get a compact trampoline to keep in your apartment. Putting on your favorite songs and running or bouncing in place can be just as effective.

8. The bike

There are many ways to incorporate this type of cardio into your day. Replace your car with a bike on your next grocery run. Replace the treadmill with an exercise bike the next time you visit the gym. Bite into the action and try out the indoor cycling studio you’ve been eyeing for six months, or buy a training bike so you can ride a road bike in your home or garage.

9. Hiking

Do you like the outdoors? Hiking may be the perfect way to boost your heart health. Getting active outdoors will not only increase your cardiovascular capacity, but also your emotional well-being.

10. Rower

Think rowing is for those who want pumped up biceps? Think again ! Incorporating the rowing machine into your gym routine can give you an extra cardiovascular boost, while strengthening your abs and back muscles. If you’ve never tried it, challenge yourself.

11. Hula Hooping

Sure, you probably haven’t since the last kids’ birthday party you went to, but why not? By swaying, you will increase your heart rate and improve your core strength. And don’t worry, they come in adult sizes.

12. Walking

You might be wondering if walking counts as cardiovascular exercise. Of course ! This is a great starting point for people who have never exercised before. Even a 10-minute walk can put you on the path to better heart health. Experienced people also benefit from it.

13. Bungee Jumps

If you haven’t done it since high school gym class, you’re missing out! This equipment-free activity can get your heart rate up in no time. Plus, it’s easy to do, wherever you are. Start skipping first thing in the morning, when you need a break from your desk, or while you’re waiting for your dinner to finish cooking.

14. Stairs

Climbing stairs is a fantastic way to get your heart pumping and your body sweating. Find a park with a long set of stairs, or just a stairwell in a nearby building. Any climb will do.

To remember

There’s no denying that cardiovascular exercise is a key part of a long and healthy life. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make cardiovascular exercise a regular routine. Just remember that if you keep an open mind and get creative, there are plenty of ways to get your heart pumping. You don’t have to feel confined to the treadmill.
The most important part of any fitness program is finding what appeals to you. You’ll be much more likely to follow a program if you really like it. So experiment, try new things, and find ways to treat yourself to a sweat.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.