5 Ways to Keep Cardio Workouts Interesting

Do you thrive in the cardio lane? You don’t have to become a soccer player if you hate team sports and running. I am absolutely a believer in finding activities that you enjoy—or at least activities you don’t despise. The benefits of any workout are moot if you can’t actually make yourself do the activity.…BUT, once you have found something you can actually make yourself do consistently, you have to intentionally challenge yourself and mix things up.

Remember, you won’t thrive if you are dying of boredom!!

The body and brain are always adapting. To continue to see physical results and stay mentally stimulated, you can’t do the same workout day after day.

Boredom is the kiss of workout death!

Here’s a few tried and true options to keep you, and your clients, fired up for cardio:

OPTION 1. TRY SOMETHING NEW …

The easiest way to mix things up is to simply try a new activity. If you run, try tennis. If you love the elliptical, try rowing. If you walk, try trail hiking. Or, try a new online workout. My current favourite is dance workouts by EMK and The Fitness Marshall, and yoga by Yoga by Adriene.

Like a challenge? Create a family or work fitness challenge or train for something specific—a certain number of push-ups, a charity challenge, etc. Like “peppering” in your activity throughout your day? Buy a mini-trampoline for your living room or office. Between meetings or as you watch TV, jump all of your troubles away. I get my steps in by doing 300 trampoline jumps between training sessions. Or, make your workout a hybrid. Instead of just going for a run or bike ride, go crazy and try a few activities back to back with no rest. Run and then bike. Run and then stop in a park and do jumping jacks or use a picnic bench to do step-ups. Then run again. If it is safe, go to a gym and use the rower, followed by the treadmill.

OPTION 2. GET YOURSELF A DRILL SERGEANT

Put yourself through a boot camp. Go walking or running with a stronger walker or runner. For at least part of the workout, allow them to dictate the pace or route. For example, ask them to pick intervals. You start by walking or jogging and then have them pick random landmarks where you must pick up the pace and “race” there. Once you arrive, you—as the less experienced athlete—get to dictate the recovery pace. Repeat.

OPTION 3. WORD CUES

First, pick a song. Second, pick a word that repeats in the song. For example, in Britney’s Hit Me Baby One More Time, I might pick “baby.” Third, pick a motion—think high knees, butt kicks, or a different swim stroke. Start walking, running, swimming, etc. When you hear your word, do your motion.

If you don’t train with music, try using landmarks. For example, change your swim stroke every time you pass a certain line in the pool, or do your high knees when you see a stop sign or a certain breed of dog. (I am partial to Corgis and Australian Shepherds.)

OPTION 4. PYRAMIDS

Pick two exercises—think stairs and burpees, or a specific running distance and jumping jacks. Then alternate the two exercises in fun ways. You can pick one as a base exercise and the second as a pyramid exercise—or pyramid both.

Here are some examples…

Base exercise + pyramid:

-Run your household stairs five times. Do two burpees. Repeat the same number of stairs. Then do four burpees. Each round the burpees increase by two until you get to 10.

Both pyramid:

-Run half a mile. Stop and do 10 jumping jacks. Increase the run by a tenth of a mile. Increase the jumping jacks by 10. Each round the jumping jacks increase by 10 until you get to 50 and the run increases until you get to one mile.

OPTION 5. CHORUS PICKUPS

This is fairly straightforward. Pick a song. When you hear the chorus, increase your intensity. If you are walking, move into a speed walk or a jog. If you are running, sprint. If you are on an elliptical, speed up your legs.

MAIN TAKE-AWAY

Whether your cardio of choice is the low-impact smoothness of the elliptical, dancing up a storm in your living room, or basking in nature as you walk, run, or snowshoe, make sure you are consciously mixing things up. The world is your fitness oyster … go have some fun!!