“Cardio is boring.” It’s one of the most common complaints I hear as a coach. And I get it – by definition, cardio is a movement or series of movements that, when done repeatedly, gets your heart rate up. That’s great for some people. For others, doing the same thing again and again can be boring. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for something slightly more entertaining to get your cardio hit, consider:
Doing something new
Doing something new requires you to use your brain, especially if the movement is more on the complex side and you actually have to think about what you’re doing. This means that you’ll be thinking about HOW to do the thing, and not the cardio aspect itself. While you’re working to figure things out, you aren’t going to be bored. The caveat is that this new activity that you’ve chosen shouldn’t be TOO hard. If you’re getting frustrated with it (hello skipping ropes double dutch style), knock it down a notch. You’ll get more out of it if you have to think, but not too hard. These variations on standard or traditional “cardio” options will keep your brain more engaged than the standard cardio options:
- Trail running
- Swimming a new stroke
- Mountain biking, BMX, or other off-road options
- Ocean swimming, if you live near open water
- Canoeing or kayaking
Doing something that isn’t “exercise”
Whether you are playing on a jungle gym, climbing a tree or jumping on a trampoline, lots of the things we did as kids will give you the cardio workout without the “workout”. As you bounce, swing, and climb around, you use almost all of your big muscles. The more muscle you use, the more your heart has to distribute oxygen and nutrients. Heart rate goes up, cardio training effect is achieved, fun is had – wins all around.
- Trampoline park session
Doing something social
Finding a social sport or recreational league can be a great way to tick the “cardio” box without enduring hours of boring work on the treadmill (or whatever your idea of boring cardio is). And these days, there are so many rec sports leagues to choose from. You can form your own team with a group of friends, increasing the enjoyment factor. And if your friends aren’t into it, these days most rec leagues can connect you with a team that needs players. Look for a local indoor sports centre or google recreational sport near me and see what options come up for you.
One last thing to note: Some of the options listed might seem…. crazy. But most clubs will offer a “Come And Try” day, or introductory sessions to give you a taste before you commit. Starting new things as an adult can be daunting, but there is actually a lot of support available. Give it a try and you might even have some fun – the workout is just a byproduct.
PS – For Brisbane locals, here are some good spots to get started: