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Hate Running? 7 Cardio Exercises That Are Super Fun!

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - May 9, 20246 min read

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A piece of fitness advice I was bombarded with once I decided to start working out, was to focus on cardio. Every time I brought up my ideal weight loss goals in a conversation, the suggestion to engage in heavy cardio would always come floating by. Which makes sense considering the number of calories you can burn with the right kind of cardio workout. So really, when you look at the facts and figures, you begin to realise that cardio truly is crucial for keeping your heart in shape, controlling blood pressure, reducing body fat, and realising your trimmed waistline dreams


Too bad cardio can also be mind-numbingly boring, right? I mean, if you love to run and actually have fun while doing it, great for you. But I certainly can't count myself in that category of folks. I've always enjoyed exercises like crunches and squats a lot more than jogging on the treadmill. For the longest time, I considered cardio to be a painful period of 20 minutes that I had to get through somehow. Until someone did me the favour of pointing out the fun ways I can get my heart rate up. 

If you too are struggling with including cardio in your regular workouts without making them unbearably dull, I'd like to extend the same favour to you. Here's a round-up of fun cardio activities you can take a shot at, if running is not your jam! 


1. Jump Rope 

Jumping rope is a simple, straightforward solution to including a burst of fun high-intensity cardio in your workout regime. It's a wonderful exercise not just for elevating your heart rate, but also for improving coordination, boosting metabolism and removing all traces of fatigue from your body. This fantastic calorie burner is also loads of fun to engage in, and a jump rope is so easily portable, you can keep switching your exercise venue to keep things even more interesting! 


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2. Have A Dance Off

Dancing has always been one of my most preferred workout activities, one that lets you enjoy to your heart's content, while you continue to burn calories. Dancing as an activity makes use of different muscle groups, helps in toning those muscles and shedding excess body fat, thereby leading to the overall strengthening of your body. It also improves posture, coordination and rhythm. Not to mention, it helps in breaking through some of the monotony induced by following the same exercise routine every day. 


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Also Read: 5 Things You Can Do To Workout When You Hate Exercising


3. Cycle Around The Block 

Hopping on your bicycle and going for a ride around the neighbourhood, can be an immensely effective cardio workout. Biking is an activity that helps you burn up to 400 calories per hour, and thus an exercise you can fall back on to shed those extra kilos. It particularly helps in strengthening your lower body, including your legs, hips and glutes. So, if you want an interesting hack to boosting cardiovascular health and decreasing body fat levels, cycling is a refreshing activity you should consider taking up. 


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4. Play A Competitive Sport 

For folks who don't enjoy working out in a corner of the gym by themselves, playing competitive sports is an excellent alternative for sneaking in heavy cardio exercise without even realising it. Playing a sport like basketball or football will get your aerobic fitness levels up, while also boosting your stamina and mobility. Depending on the sport you choose, different muscle groups can be toned along with overarching physical strengthening. Besides, the thrill of winning a game may just be the push you need to exercise more regularly! 


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Also Read: 10 Things You Can Do For A Healthier Heart


5. Box Your Way Out 

Take my word for it, if you're someone who struggles with quick spikes of irritation and anger issues on the daily, an exercise like boxing can be a fantastic channel for your frustration. Along with boosting and improving your mood states, boxing is a high-impact cardio workout offering remarkable calorie burning, posture improvement, as well as strengthening of your upper body and core muscles. If you want to get your dose of cardio at home, there are a bunch of boxing drills you can practice without any equipment. Or if you'd like, a heavy punching bag is a highly helpful tool worth investing in! 


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6. Do The Hula-Hoop

Hooping is a powerful workout activity that exercises your whole body and helps you tone your midsection. Hula hooping as an exercise form has been recognised for helping people tone the core of their body, shed fat and burn calories, all while having a total ball. On top of its undeniable cardio workout merits, hooping also aids you in improving flexibility, posture and balance. All you need to spend on is a good quality hoop, preferably one weighted to your comfort. Next step? Blast some music and get hooping!


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7. Go Roller Skating 

What was practically considered to be clubbing in the 80s, has long been recognised as a high octane exercise activity that provides you with a complete aerobic workout by involving all the muscles in your body. Just as potent as running when it comes to weight loss, roller skating is a non-drab way to burning excess calories, reducing body fat and enhancing the strength of your legs. As a matter of fact, roller skating is actually less harmful to your joints, than running or jogging is! 


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As it turns out, all you needed for regular cardio exercise, was an activity you could put your heart into. Pun totally intended!