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50 Ways To Get Your Cardio On!

by Courtney on August 14, 2012

Hey friends! How’s your Tuesday treating you so far?

Things have actually been pretty busy up in here today, so I’m quickly taking a break to chat and share a little something with all of you because I love ya so much.

The other day, I got an email from a reader who was telling me about how much she is totally hating on cardio right now. She said that she tends to go through phases (don’t we all?) and that right now, the thought of her jumping on a treadmill is probably right up with going to get a root canal.

Reading her email, I realized that I could definitely relate. Although I’m not doing a ton on the cardio front right now besides walking, I’ve definitely been at that point where the treadmill turns into the “dreadmill,” and I just can’t be bothered.

But the thing is…cardio doesn’t have to just be on the treadmill. Or running/walking for that matter! I think a lot of people tend to get to a place where they think that their cardio activities either have to be long or high-impact…so not true.

So I compiled a little list of 50 ways you can squeeze in some cardio today!

50 ways to get your cardio on

When it comes to making an activity “cardio,” there are two things to keep in mind:

1st – Intensity

An activity counts as cardio when you elevate your heart rate into an aerobic zone, which is 55% to 85% of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your target heart rate, start by doing 220 – your age.

  • For example, I would do 220 – 28 = 192.
  • 55% of that would be 105 (192 x .55 = 105)
  • 85% of that would be 163 (192 x .85 = 163)

So my target heart rate is between 105-163.

Simply check your pulse or wear a heart rate monitor so you can be sure of which heart rate zone you’re working out in.

2nd – Time

Shoot for a minimum of 10-20 minutes per session, building up to a full hour over time. Also remember that your workouts can be spaced out throughout the day. 10 minutes in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening, and you’re good to go!

So now…what are some of your favorite ways to get your cardio on? Winking smile

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers August 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I’m a fan of walking with the hubs, jogging in the wee hours before work, and circuit training. I’ve been getting into the circuits lately.

Krav Maga is new to me. Gonna go look that up…
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2 Alex @ Brain, Body, Because August 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I had to look up Krav Maga, too. Looks a little intense for me!
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3 Charlie August 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Circuit weight training (just did it before lunch! :)) and I also love doing interval training on the elliptical.
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4 Lisa August 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Great list of cardio options! My favourite way to get my cardio in is spin class (even though I can’t do them as intense right now…boo), walking, swimming, jump rope, and plyo!
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5 Ellie@Fit for the Soul August 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Very good breakdown of the calculations! I always always get confused and forget those kinds of formulas. :P I love to do cardio through several ways too: HIIT bodyweight+weight circuits, stepmaster (start with level 8 and turn sides every 40 seconds and after level 8-9, crank it up to level 20, then back down to 10-11, then 20, and so forth), running outside+treadmill (hehe), and SOMETIMES elliptical.
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6 Janae @ Bring-Joy August 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

After years of teaching intense cardio classes, I’m a bit burned out from insane cardio sessions. I’m a fan of walking, swimming, & power yoga.
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7 Julie August 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Awesome post! Love all these ideas, and I love mixing it up. Since I’m training for a half marathon, I’m super tired of running and ready to try out some new stuff once the race is over!
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8 Annette@FitnessPerks August 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Fun list!!

I teach ZUmba–so that is DEF a way I love my cardio. I looooovveee to dance. I also enjoy HIIT running & going for longer runs (IF I feel like it). Jumping jacks & ploy stuff is fun during circuits too.
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9 Courtney August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I really need to give Zumba another try…


10 Annette@FitnessPerks August 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm

It just TOTALLY depends on the teacher! That’s the problem with Zumba…..if you’ve got a bad instructor (and there are a lot of ‘em, unfortunately), it’s gonna be crappy.
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11 Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom August 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I get bored with cardio really easily which I why I really enjoy group exercise classes!! Body Pump, Zumba and Turbo Kick are some of my favorite!! I also enjoy fitting cardio exercise into my everyday life by playing with my kids. We love to take family walks, bike rides, jump on the trampoline and jumping rope!!
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12 Laura August 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Lately I have been loving running and hip hop class for cardio. Both are fun for me so the time goes so quickly! If I am really unmotivated to do traditional cardio I just hop on my bike and ride around town :)
Great list!
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13 Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee August 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Thank you for the info on target hear rates! I recently got a heart rate monitor but then realized I had no idea what my heart rate should be!!
Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee recently posted..A Family Tradition & Trail Running


14 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance August 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I’ve been really enjoying the tabata-style workouts. It’s quick and fun, plus it really gets your heart pumping.
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15 Courtney August 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

That they do! :)


16 Michelle@Peachy Palate August 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Spinning and running and then the elliptical comes in after. I love a good hike too. Looking at your list I could go for a little trampoline-ing…! :) Also love circuit training and HIIT. What’s your favourite?
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17 Courtney August 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Oh gosh…do I have to choose? ;)
Right now, since I’m pretty limited, I’ll have to say power yoga!


18 Michelle@Peachy Palate August 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Your obviously a cardio queen!!! :)
Michelle@Peachy Palate recently posted..Enlightened


19 Alysha @Shesontherun August 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

My favorite is playing with your dog :) I know firsthand how tiring that can get, but in a good way!
Alysha @Shesontherun recently posted..Corn and Scallion Sourdough Pancakes


20 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List August 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Great tips, Court!! For my (one and only) exercise today, I tried a Zumba Toning class! It was so much fun and I got a great workout.


21 Courtney August 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm

I was *just* reading about Zumba Toning last night in a pamphlet that came in the mail. I’m thinking about trying it out…it’s not super high impact or anything, right? Just basically dancing with a stick? lol


22 Jill August 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Zumba Toning is great! Generally, the Zumba Toning dances/routines aren’t as fast moving as some of the regular dances as you don’t want to be flailing your arms around with weights in them, but it’s a lot of fun & you can certainly feel it the next day! I was reading comments up above & it seems like you want to give Zumba another try. My suggestion for new Zumba’ers is to give it 3 classes before making up your mind. Also – a HUGE factor here… the instructor. They are all SO different! Some are more cardio, some work more on the core, some are better at toning, the list goes on… They also have AquaZumba… Zumba in the pool! I haven’t tried this yet, but would really like to!


23 Rachel August 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm

I love running, but when I’m not in the mood (or if it’s an off day) I like to jump rope :) it’s fun… especially when watching Boy Meets World :p
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24 Erica @ For the Sake of Cake August 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

This is a great list! My favorite way to get in some cardio is by taking a spin class.
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25 kim@hungryhealthygirl August 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Great list! I’m a fan of running, but I go through phases too. This will be a great reference.
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26 Danica @ It's Progression August 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I love the list! It’s a great reminder that “working out” can be so many (fun) things!
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27 Brandi August 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Thank you SO much for breaking this down! I think we do go through phases….cardio is such a love/hate kind of thing, but it is my favorite. Right now, I am into running, but I also (don’t laugh) love to push mow the lawn for a good cardio workout. It takes me like two days!!
Thanks for the list!


28 Courtney August 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Oh my gosh, TOTALLY not laughing! That was the only reason I would ever even offer to push mow the lawn – house chores + an outdoor workout? WIN! :)


29 Alex @ Healthy Life Happy Wife August 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Running, for sure! But I do always love a nice spinning class :)
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30 Tina @ Best Body Fitness August 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm

AWESOME!!! Great post!


31 Khushboo August 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Lately I’ve been loving tabatas- efficient way to fit in cardio!
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32 Yellow Haired Girl August 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I’m a Zumba girl! I am certified to teach … but haven’t found a place yet. Hopefully soon :)
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33 Jodi @ I Run for Food and Wine August 14, 2012 at 5:26 pm

love this. thanks girl!!
Jodi @ I Run for Food and Wine recently posted..Made in Nashville. Anheuser Busch Event


34 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed August 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I am LOVING urban rebounding. I also loathe/love washing baseboards and hunting hidden sippy cups and snack traps.

I find them everywhere. It’s terrifying.

Though, I found a GI Joe head on my pillow….I should question the boy about that.

I’m glad I went wayyyy off track there.
Cat @ Breakfast to Bed recently posted..Today, “Toddlers and Tiaras”; Tomorrow “Dr Drew”


35 Sarah B. August 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Lately it’s been running, but I love taking bootcamp classes (it’s been a while!) and leisurely walks. Sometimes that’s just what my body needs.

I went surfing when I vacationed in Top Sail Island this summer and it was so much more of a workout than I’d ever expect!


36 Lauren August 15, 2012 at 12:35 am

This is a great list, even though I’m not sure what everything is… ;) I love that you have ‘playing tag’ on it! Vacuuming, mopping, and cleaning make for some good cardio when I can’t get to the gym. I’ve recently been running as well, but it’s no where near what some can do! Circuits are also great!


37 Candice August 15, 2012 at 12:39 am

this morning i did stadiums! Phew! I was huffin and puffin by the end!
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38 Janine August 15, 2012 at 6:05 am

Your list is fantastic and I try to include a lot of these activities into my week. One of my faves is to get on my ab cruncher during ad breaks when watching TV, the time really mounts up over a week and I am doing something positive during these down times.


39 Joy August 15, 2012 at 6:48 am

Hiking in the woods with the poodle is #1, #2 is jumping on my trampoline, #3 is my Jillian michaels fitness ultimatum for the wii
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40 Alysia @ Slim Sanity August 15, 2012 at 7:51 am

I really love going on walks. I go on a 20-30 minute walk after lunch every day, on top of my other workouts!
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41 Lauren @ Chocolate, Cheese and Wine August 15, 2012 at 9:15 am

I have found that just by taking the stairs (3 flights) in my apartment, I have been getting a decent amount of activity without actually exercising.
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42 Alyssa August 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Insanity has got to be my favorite cardio – torches a ton of calories in 40 minutes! Great quick alternative to something like running. Insanity gets you awesome definition but you can still usually eat alot and not feel guilty when you’re doing it daily :) hah yup – that’s what I do!
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43 Kristen August 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Just stumbled across this incredibly inspiring blog. All the comments and participation from everyone is amazing. I love seeing women get together and discuss real health issues.

A real big thing in our Sacramento Dentist office is TurboKick. We close the office down early and go to the gym together as a team. It is a great way to stay fit, build team moral and take our frustrations out! You should give it a try.
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44 Bek @ Crave August 16, 2012 at 1:12 am

My absolute favourite way is through Group Fitness classes and in particular- Body Step!
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45 Emily August 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

This is SUCH a great post. I think people often forget that exercise can come in many forms, and it doesn’t have to be one that you feel like you are slaving away at. I also love that you mentioned you can break up your cardio into multiple sessions during the day. I am a nurse and when I teach patients about increasing their exercise, they are always shocked to know they don’t have to do all 30 minutes of exercise at one full time during the day. Thanks for this Courtney!


46 pink trampoline July 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm

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I say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t seem to get nearly anything done.
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48 trampoline exercise August 1, 2013 at 3:56 am

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