Had a good time on your summer vacay? One too many apps (and glasses of wine) at your girls’ night out? Stress-ate through the latest sporting game? Well … what are you waiting for? Time to get your heart pumping to burn off those calories. The best way to do that? Cardio.
Even if you don’t love the workouts, cardio is pretty crucial; it gets your blood pumping, reduces your risk of heart disease, and even helps you breathe better. (The Mayo Clinic actually says you should get in about 30 mins of cardio a day … but we think any little bit helps.)
So here are a few cardio workouts that don’t totally suck … or at least will get you moving.
If you’ve never tried a HIIT workout, you’re really missing out. Short for high-intensity interval training, HIIT is fast-paced and just plain fun. Plus, it gets your heart rate up, and you can do it anywhere. Check out some of the HIIT workouts on the Nike Training Club or SWEAT apps.
2. Tae Bo
If you never did Tae Bo in the late ’90s, then you haven’t lived. Led by fitness guru Billy Blanks, Tae Bo combined martial arts moves with aerobics for a high-energy and seriously fun workout. You can still find some full Tae Bo videos on YouTube , and there’s even a Tae Bo workout app (because, of course there is). But sign us up for any type of exercise that involves punching and kicking moves. You can’t go wrong, whether you’re doing a workout at home or heading to a kickboxing class at your gym.
3. Walking & Jogging
Yep, plain old walking and jogging — the vanilla of exercises. They’re super-easy ways to get fresh air and get your body moving. You need two things — your feet and preferably some shoes — and you can walk or run literally anywhere. Head to a local park, make a few laps around the track, walk around your backyard (that won’t look weird at all), power-walk through a mall or indoor shopping center, or make a loop around your neighborhood. Flat surfaces are fine; anywhere you can walk or run at an incline is even better. If you’re a cardio newbie, start off with walking; add in a minute or two of intermittent jogging, and you’ll begin to build up stamina for longer jogs.
4. Kayaking or Canoeing
Look, rowing machines give you an amazing cardio workout, but even if you’re in shape, rowing on a machine kinda sucks. Head outdoors instead, rent a canoe or kayak, and paddle your heart out.
5. Jump Rope
You don’t have to sing “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around” while you do it, but jumping rope burns tons of calories and gives your whole body a great cardio workout. And, hey, if you want to hopscotch after you finish jumping rope, that’s actually pretty good exercise, too.
6. Move It
And, if you’re feeling lazy AF and just need to phone it in for a bit, just get moving. Climb the stairs at the office instead of hopping on the elevator. Headed to an appointment? Park far and walk at a good pace. Make a few extra loops around Target (then you can find some of the cute things you might have missed the first or second time around the store). Turn on some music and do an hour of chores that have you moving around — make beds, mop, vacuum, sweep, weed beds. Multitasking at its finest.
So whether you’re going to the gym or just climbing stairs at home, get moving. You might sweat (a lot), but you also might not die. And, really, that’s the goal here.