Cardio Exercise That is NOT Running On the Treadmill

If you’re anything like me, hopping on a treadmill or elliptical does NOT sound pleasing.  In fact, it mostly sounds dreadful and does not motivate me to want to workout.  What if I told you, there are SO many other activities to do that provide a nice cardio workout?!

What is Cardio exercise?

First, knowing what cardio exercise is, can help.  Cardio exercise (also called aerobic exercise) is when the heart rate increases to a place that is comfortable to maintain for 10-30 minutes.  Recommendations state that cardio should be done 30 minutes a day, or for three, 10 minute sessions. (For those that hate cardio, this is good news!).  So next time you think “ugh, I don’t like to workout for an hour.”  Well, you don’t have to! So leave that excuse at the back door fella.

Seriously, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as the heart rate stays up for that 10-30 minute duration.  I will give you a list of fun fitness classes to do outside (or inside) the home as well as SIMPLE activities to increase the heart rate and provide an aerobic (cardio) workout right at home.

Group Fitness Classes: At the Gym or At Home

Going to a group fitness class is a great way to have fun, meet new people, enjoy with a friend, and get in a cardio workout. While workouts typically last an hour, they are usually fun, and you can choose the intensity of your workout!  A good instructor will give you options through-out the class to perform at your own discretion.

“But I don’t know the moves,”  “I am embarrassed if I mess up,” “I feel like people are staring at me or making fun of me.”  Ugh-EM…NO THEY ARE NOT.  #1, they are probably feeling and thinking the same thing, #2, if they aren’t, they have been where you are, #3, it does not MATTER what everyone else thinks, because you are there for YOU!


Here are a few group fit classes to add to the list:


Most have heard of Zumba by now.  It is a super fun, dance workout inspired by various styles of Latin American dance. Directed mostly for an aerobic workout.  Zumba would be a great addition 2-3x/week to get in your cardio exercise. It’s fun, you get out of it what you put into it.  It is so much better than doing a boring treadmill or elliptical (in my opinion).  It is, I will tell you, a little tricky at first to get the hang of it, but once you do, it’s so fun and getting creative with your own body is invigorating!


This is a new, upcoming, group fitness workout that is the world’s first cardio jam session inspired by the infectious, energizing and sweat-dripping fun of playing the drums.

855a3093546f675665234127a8953bc4.jpgIf you like to hit things or just need a good outlet–this is the class for you! Using green drum stick look-a-likes, called Ripstix®, finding the beat and pounding out frustrations has never been more stress relieving!

What I love about POUND® is that the longest “Jam Session” is only 45 minutes!  Check your area, there are sessions that last 15-30 minutes.


If you haven’t tried Jazzercise® yet, you should!  It is really fun, similar to Zumba® as there is no equipment involved and you are dancing to music!

“Jazzercise is the original dance party workout. Blending dance with Pilates, yoga, kickboxing and strength training, one 55-minute session can burn up to 800 calories. The results? Long, lean muscles and an undeniable mood boost.”

This DVD system called Burlesque Jazzercise looks super fun!

Of course there are MANY other group fitness classes to attend, these are just three that are so much fun, you don’t even know you’re working out.  Plus, all can typically be purchased online (Amazon) and done right at home!

Not only do you get a cardio workout, but the brain is working to move the body to the beat, challenge coordination, balance, and overall movement.

At Home Workouts:

If dancing isn’t your thing, that’s okay.  Just moving, like I mentioned before, getting the heart rate up for 10-30 minutes will give you an aerobic workout.  Here are a few ideas for home:

1.) Stairs: Walking up and down the stairs several times will surely get the heart rate up; depending on your fitness level, running/jogging up and down is great too.

2.) Speed walking around the house: Set a timer, and speed walk around the house.  Shoot, add a laundry basket and carry it around the house to add some resistance and enhance the aerobic workout.

3.) Sit to stand: standing up and sitting down several times in a row increases the heart rate (and gives the legs a workout).

4.) Jumping Jacks: Do jumping jacks to increase the heart rate quickly; if jumping is difficult just a side tap of the foot will do while raising the arms overhead.

5.) Walking lunges: This is a little bit more intense, but a few times up and down the hall-way will FOR SURE get the blood pumping and the heart pounding.

6.) Walking outside: Go for a 10-30 minute walk.  While running does burn more calories than walking, studies show that walking is just as beneficial as running for an aerobic workout (plus it’s less demanding on the joints of the lower extremities).

While doing jumping jacks for 30 minutes is most likely not going to happen, combining ANY of these together for a 30 minute workout would be perfect!  Remember, I said, THREE, 10 minute sessions are just as beneficial for the heart as a straight 30 minutes.

In Laymen’s Terms:

  • Aerobic and Cardio mean the same thing
  • Cardio does not have to be so difficult you can’t breathe
  • Just increasing the heart rate and sustaining it THREE x 10 minutes/day or 1×30 minutes/day is considered a cardio workout.
  • No treadmill or elliptical necessary
  • Doing 60 minutes of aerobic exercise vs 30 has not proven to be any MORE beneficial (you’ll burn more calories, but it’s not necessary for an aerobic workout).

So what do you say? Get up and get moving!

Tell me, what activities do you partake in that gets your heart pumping? Let me know in the comments!

As Always,

Be Good. Feel Good. Look Good!

-mamaletsdoit, In Laymen’s Terms

Clean Eating Made Easy
*This post may contain affiliate links that I earn from, at no cost to you, I would never recommend something I haven’t tried and/or think would be beneficial to my readers*

Disclaimer: you should always consult a physician before beginning a new exercise program

Mamaletsdoit, In Laymen's Terms

I recently quit my full time, well paid, Physical Therapy Assistant job to become a stay-at-home mom and raise my own FOUR children! I couldn't be happier about my decision. Now I want to still be able to provide others with my knowledge and help people understand basic ideas and gain exercise knowledge for a better, healthier, and physical lifestyle, this is why I have created "mamaletsdoit, In Laymen's Terms." Here you will find information about proper exercise techniques, theories behind exercises, stretching, etc. plus much more including strengthening your mind. Disclaimer: I am a licensed & certified professional and do have knowledgeable information to provide to you; HOWEVER, you should never apply or take this information in supplementation of your own physician, PT, or medical professional. Consult your physician before starting ANY type of exercise routine; never perform exercise that causes you pain.

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