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8 Ways to Have Fun With Cardio

Updated on April 6, 2015
Image: Andy Newson /
Image: Andy Newson /

1. Find music that makes you MOVE

Forget the generic workout tunes...if they haven't worked yet, they won't work ever. Find music you really like that gets your heart going. Anything! It doesn't even have to sound like workout music, whatever that is. If it gets you pumped and wanting to dance, you can channel that energy into cardio fuel and use it to get your feet moving. In the past I have even used soundtracks from action movies. It could be country, EDM, swing, or death metal. It could be light and upbeat or heavy and intense, pounding bass or swinging jazz... anything that works for you. Just find the music you really love, and get moving.

2. Find a buddy

Cardio with someone else around is usually more effective. Most people are a little bit competitive, or at least self conscious, so you might find your lungs lasting longer and you pushing yourself harder so you don't look like a slacker. You can even place bets or compete to see who can run/bike/elliptical longer. There are also many apps out there that make running into a social thing without having to deal with the logistics of finding a time and place to meet in person.

3. Add variety

If you don't like running, just walk. Walk up a hill or in rough terrain to get an extra boost from it. If you don't like walking, get a bike. If you don't like biking, get a boat and try your hand at rowing (or use the rowing machine at the gym... it's not as hard as it looks.) If you don't want to go outside, use cardio workout videos or one of the many apps like Nike Training Club. The internet and app stores are packed with free workouts you can follow. Dance around your room if that'll get you moving. It's good for your body to add variety to your workouts, since different muscle groups are involved in different activities, and your body will naturally become more efficient and less challenged (and thus benefit less) if you do the same activity all the time.

4. Join a class

People will not stare at you, they will not point and laugh, and more likely than not you will be in better shape than half of the class anyway. Group exercise classes are actually a lot of fun, especially if you can get a friend or family member to come with you. You might find that you're forced by peer pressure to work out a lot harder than you expected or thought you could. This doesn't work for everyone, but for some people it's the key to a consistent cardio habit.

Image: Tom Curtis /
Image: Tom Curtis /

5. Explore

Try walking, cycling, or jogging somewhere you've never been before. Is there a nature park nearby? Does your city have a nice waterfront or downtown area? Chances are you haven't actually seen much of your own neighbourhood, beyond the immediate surroundings. Take a walk a little farther or in a different direction than you normally would and just explore for the sake of exploring. Learning about new shops or checking out the houses in an area you haven't seen might keep your mind occupied as your heart and lungs do their work.

6. Find motivators

Cardio is awesome! It will free up endorphins and make you feel good, but if that's not enough, give yourself some other incentives to keep going. Plan a prize of some kind after you finish your workout, like a relaxing bubble bath or or a small treat (don't stress over calories, just enjoy life). If you can't think of any physical rewards that would do the trick, try one of the running apps that make it into a game, like Zombies, Run! Nothing motivates like a horde of zombies chasing you.

7. Entertainment

Listening to news, comedy or an audiobook can keep you entertained if you go for long cardio workouts like walks or bike rides, at a slower pace. Listening to someone talk won't keep your enthusiasm up for heavier cardio, but if you prefer to take it slow and go for a long time, it will definitely keep you from getting bored.

If you do like heavier cardio, but you're tired of your own music library, try finding some music podcasts that work for your music taste. Many are over an hour long, so you don't have to worry about switching songs or spending time putting together a playlist yourself.

8. Little steps

If all else fails, and it turns out that doing cardio workouts just isn't your thing, try to sneak it into your day like your parents used to sneak broccoli into your dinner. Take the stairs every time. Park your car at the far end of the lot. If you work in a job where you sit all day, take stretching and walking breaks as often as possible. Use a grocery basket instead of a cart (obviously within reason). Walk everywhere you can. Double your walks with the dog, or walk with your neighbour if they have a dog and you don't. Small amounts of cardio more often is better than one long session once per day, so if you can squeeze in every little bit that you can, you will already feel better without having to endure an actual workout.

Just do something

Once you start to enjoy the feel-good effects of keeping your body active the workouts will become much more enjoyable, and it will be easier to make a habit of it. All you need to do is figure out what it is that will make you want to get moving.


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    • Caitlin Pyle profile image

      Caitlin Pyle 5 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I love cardio and especially group exercise!

    • profile image

      Hiit 6 years ago

      Thank you for a comprehensive hub with lots of information.

    • profile image

      shapesandpounds-review 6 years ago

      I just wanna thank you for sharing your information and your site. I’ve learned something today. Thanks!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      It's also part of our voice training LOL If we are able to sing while walking then our voices will be more solid. But anyway, I enjoy the singing so helps me to last longer on the treadmill. Hehehe Yes, you could put the link on your page but not on the forums. But you can blog it, facebook it or email it to your friends. :)

    • bengriston profile image

      bengriston 8 years ago

      I find either music or a friend very helpful. My dog also keeps me on my running schedule.

    • Katelyn Weel profile image

      Katelyn Weel 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks, Ripplemaker! hey if you can sing on the treadmill, maybe you're not working hard enough? :P

      Thanks for reading and posting the link to the vote page lol I wasn't sure if I could do that or not

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Katelyn, I find that I enjoy exercising with someone than alone heheh but now I'm learning. With the ipod and all, I just sing if I need to work out on the treadmill all by myself. Great hub on heath and fitness. Congrats for your Hubnuggets Nomination. Check it out: Yooohooo! Keep enjoying life by exercising and the Hubnuggets!

    • Katelyn Weel profile image

      Katelyn Weel 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks, Duchess!

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Congratulations Katelyn on you HubNugget Nomination. Great Hub.

    • Katelyn Weel profile image

      Katelyn Weel 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Ten Thousand Fists is a good idea, personally I use Rammstein for weight training and progressive house for cardio. The right music really gets the adrenaline going.

      Thanks for the feedback!

    • hublim profile image

      hublim 8 years ago from Scotland

      Nice article. I love going to the gym feel I have really achieved something when I finish my workout.

      I get a great lift after training, and I get to listen to some great music too.

      I train to the Prodigy “Invaders Must Die” and Disturbed “Ten Thousand Fists”

    • Eleanor Candy profile image

      Eleanor Candy 8 years ago from Australia

      Great informative hub Katelyn. I personally walk 3-4 times a week and also go on my exercise bike. Begin to exercise as little as 30 minutes a day is a great way to start.

    • profile image

      krystineee 8 years ago

      love youuuuuuuuuu!!! and your wonderful fitnessy hubs:D