Cardio workouts are either loathed or loved; there doesn’t seem to be much of a middle ground. Whether you’re a lover or a loather, cardiovascular exercise is extremely good for your body. Weight loss, reduced risk of heart disease, stronger heart and lungs, better sleep, and stress relief are just a few of the many benefits of cardio. The advantages of doing cardio are no secret and seem to be well known, but traditional cardio workouts can be difficult, if not impossible, for some people to do. Running on a track or treadmill can be too high impact for some, resulting in sore knees, shins, and feet. So how can you reap the many benefits of cardio without running for hours? Read on to learn the different ways you can break a sweat with a cardiovascular exercise without the treadmill or running on a track. 

Low impact machines 

Treadmills are the popular go-to machine at the gym or even at home for cardio exercise. However, there are several other machines that provide an aerobic exercise. The elliptical works similarly to a treadmill but it takes the impact out. You can just as good of a workout on an elliptical without the painful ground stomping. A stationary bike is also a great machine for cardio. Biking is easier on the knees and will really increase your heart rate and breathing. My favorite low impact machine to hit for a good cardio workout is the stair master! The stairs are perfect to get you breathing heavy, sweating, and it’s also a good glute workout! Next time you hit the gym, give one of these low-impact machines a try for your cardiovascular exercise.

Walking or hiking 

Cardio doesn’t have to be super intense to get the job done. A walk at a brisk pace can get your heart rate where it needs to be. You can even change up the routine and try hiking. Hiking brings a different and more challenging aspect to a walk. The change in terrain and elevation will give you an even better workout while allowing you to get fresh air and nice views.


Swimming is an all around incredible workout for your body. The water takes all the strain from your joints for you to be able to complete a full body workout. Swimming a couple laps will be sure to get your heart pumping. The best part about doing cardio in the water is you don’t feel the sweat. Don’t get me wrong! You will be sweating! But the cool water feels good on the skin and your whole body is wet, so you don’t feel sticky and smelly.


Dancing is a vigorous and upbeat activity that makes cardio fun. Ballroom, ballet, hip hop, or any other type of dance is a great way to get your cardiovascular workout in. There are exercise programs and workouts designed around dance because of how well they work out your body. The constant movement keeps your heart rate up and chances are you’re working out multiple other muscles in your body as well. Heck! That means you could count a night out on the dance floor as your cardio workout!


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a very popular workout method for good reason. HIIT circuits often include workouts that build muscle as well as work your heart. HIIT focuses on keeping your heart rate up for the duration of the exercise, which means an excellent cardio workout. There are so many different circuits and ways to incorporate HIIT that it never gets boring. The variety isn’t only for your sanity. It also keeps your muscles guessing, never allowing them to get used to a workout, which keeps your muscles growing and your fat shrinking.

Jump rope

Remember all those fun times as a kid playing jump rope? Well, it’s time to revisit that wondrous activity, as it’s an awesome way to do cardio. Sports athletes of all kinds use jumping rope to do their cardiovascular workouts, especially boxers. Have you seen Rocky? It’s something you can do almost anywhere and you don’t need expensive equipment to get it done. It’s a simple way to burn tons of calories. You can even incorporate HIIT by doing as many jumps as you can for 60 seconds and then take a 30-60 second rest in-between.

Beach run or beach volleyball

Let’s be honest. We don’t need too much convincing to hit the beach. Now you have even more reason to go. The beach is the perfect place for a number of cardio exercises. There is water for swimming and loads of sand for sport and running. Running on the beach is great because the sand adds resistance and decreases impact (provided your running on the dry sand and not the shore). Sprints in dry sand will give you a killer cardio and lower body workout. You can even make cardio a group event with a good game of beach volleyball. Honestly, almost any sport done in the sand will get your heart rate going. When you’re done you can relax in the sand or take a nice dip in the water. Plan your next workout on the beach and get cardio, relaxing, and recreation all at once.

Cardio doesn’t have to be a drag. Even if you love it, it never hurts to change things up. There are so many things that can be considered cardio and you can incorporate different methods to keep from getting bored. Variety is the key to sticking to your cardiovascular workouts. Go for a swim, sign up for a dance class, jump rope, take a trip to the beach, or just try a different machine at the gym. The possibilities are endless!