5 Cardio Exercises Other Than Running

You want to shed some holiday weight, but you aren’t fond of the idea of running. No problem. There are countless other exercises that you can do with little or no equipment that can give you the same cardio effects as running. Some may even be better for you because they challenge your entire body. Here are the top 5 cardio exercises other than running.

  1. Burpees: Burpees are a popular exercise because they not only provide a strenuous workout, but they incorporate a basic life skill, which is getting up off of the floor! With this motion, you’ll strengthen every part of your body. To do this exercise, start standing, and drop your hands to a plank position. Immediately lay your entire body on the floor, letting your chest make contact with the floor. The biggest mistake people make is trying to turn this into a push up. It is not a push up! Push your hands against the floor, and extend your elbows, raising the torso off of the ground. Your hips, knees, and toes should still be on the floor. Pop your hips up, and spring your feet in one motion up to your hands. Stand, and bring your feet back together in a jump. Some people find it helpful to jump up to a 6 inch target to remain consistent.
  2. Jumping Squats: This is a quick movement, but highly effective. If you’re looking to gain strength in your feet, calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes, this is the movement for you. Your heart will thank you, too. Stand with your feet slightly outside your hips. Send your hips back as if you are about to sit on a chair that is pulled out from you. While keeping this position, lower yourself as far as possible. When you reach your maximum depth, explode out of the bottom and finish with a jump. Immediately return back into the squat position. Repeat. It doesn’t take many repetitions to see why it’s a cardio exercise. If you want an extra challenge, then hold a weight close to your chest while doing the jumping squats.
  3. Mountain Climbers: There are several different variations of this movement. That basic principle is that you are in a plank position, bringing your feet up and back as quickly as possible. You want to get the highest amount of motion in this position as possible. Start with your hands and toes on the floor. You want your backside to remain parallel to the floor at all times. Kick your right foot up to the outside of your right hand. When one foot is up, the other is back. Switch your feet as fast as you can. If you want to add even more challenge to this movement, tuck both of your feet back and forth at the same time. Remain in that plank, and bring your feet as close to your chest as possible. Repeat as many times as possible.
  4. Step Ups: This movement is best used with a sturdy box, bench, or platform that is slightly elevated from the floor. Place your right foot solidly on the box, and press with the entire foot to bring up the left foot. Alternate your feet stepping up and down to remain consistent in your training. For an added cardio and glute exercise, push with the foot on the box, and bring the knee to the chest. If this becomes easy, hold a weight while stepping.
  5. Jumping Rope: When we think of jump rope, we think of young kids. That doesn’t mean that it still isn’t a great cardio exercise. Find a rope that fits you well. Stand on the rope with one foot, and raise the handles. The place where the rope meets the handles should be at your armpits. A rope that is too long or too short will get your tangled up in a mess. Start off by seeing how many jumps you can string together. Then try one foot at a time, jumping rope backwards, seeing if you can get the rope under you twice, etc.

Start off with a conservative number of repetitions, and gradually increase the number every day as you exercise. Start off with 20 reps of each exercise, then increase to 25, 30, etc. You’ll see your cardio and strength grow in leaps and bounds.

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