10 Best Cardio Tips for People Who Hate Cardio

10 Best Cardio Tips for People Who Hate Cardio

Making It Fun: Best Cardio Tips Around

Just talking about cardio can send many of us cringing about almost passing out during the last treadmill session… “Must have oxygen!”… Many people simply dread cardio. What happens when we dread something? We usually avoid it altogether.

That’s why we reached out to a few experts to understand how we can make cardio fun (aka fun, simple, good cardio workouts) and therefore get us back out there improving our cardiovascular health, exercise capacity, and just being healthier! So basically, what are the best cardio tips for people who hate cardio?

For the people who hate cardio

1. Bust Out a HIIT Session

One of the common problems people have with cardiovascular activity is that it can be somewhat boring and monotonous.

One way to combat this is to try a form of HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training. HIIT can accomplish many of the benefits of traditional cardio in a fraction of the time. HIIT involves short but intense bouts of exercise mixed with short recovery periods.

It can be done anywhere and can be more dynamic than traditional cardio in that one can include any number of exercises.

– Ryan George, fitness professional, and host of The GymWits podcast

10 Best Cardio Tips for People Who Hate Cardio Fun
Keep It Fun!

2. Do Something Fun

The best advice is 2 things…workout with a friend and does something fun that gets your heart rate up (anything from playing tag, boxing, to hiking). The motivation isn’t the cardio…the motivation is the activity which by its nature will get your heart rate up.

In class we often use soccer balls, jump ropes, and rubber bands; but in non-traditional ways. For example, we’ll do lunges, but each time you do a lunge you pass the ball to your partner.

An interesting thing happens, participants focus on catching the ball, even though their heart rates are elevated, blood is pumping, and their breathing hard.

With sandbag training it’s simple. Jog, pick it up and throw it as far as you can. Do it again and again. The focus is on tossing the bag.

With the bands, each partner holds an end of the band and then runs away from each other (stretching the band) and hops back towards each other. The band ads resistance and working with a friend takes the focus away from the cardio.

– Leonard Scriven, owner of PushPointe Indoor Cycle and Fitness in Fort Mill, SC

3. Grab a Friend

Want one of the best cardio tips? Like the above tip, do the cardio workout with a friend so you can chit-chat and be distracted. Take side-by-side spots on the treadmill, or elliptical at the gym and chat about work. Speed walk around the neighborhood and discuss the curb appeal of each home.

Climb stairs at work for 15 minutes with a co-worker and yack away about your kids. You’ll get your cardio work in before you know it.

– Jacqueline Kelly, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and licensed therapist

4. Fitness Classes

Try fitness classes! You don’t have to be on a treadmill to get in a good cardio workout.

There are so many different classes to choose from – yoga, barre, boot camp, cross-fit, Pilates, cycling, and the list continues. Fitness classes provide a structured workout, with an instructor who corrects form and holds students accountable. You will push yourself harder in a class and have the ability to introduce a lot of variety into your workout routine.

The workout you get from a barre class is different from the workout you get at my hip-hop spin class.

With muscle memory, it is important to keep variety in our exercises so that our body never knows what to expect so that you can constantly see improvements. Fitness classes are perfect if you are just getting started or a veteran, just make sure you find one that is on your level. Being in a class that is too easy or too difficult is torture, so try to find a good fit.

– Dr. Kristian Henderson, fitness instructor, and blogger

5. Digital Books

10 Best Cardio Tips for People Who Hate Cardio BooksI have had quite a number of patients benefit from listening to recorded books while exercising.

A good mystery, for example, will keep you jogging the treadmill or peddling the bike into the next chapter and then the next.

The key is to listen to the book only while exercising.

– Jill Weisenberger, Virginia-based MS, RDN, CDE, author The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition

6. Tabata Training

This is definitely one of the best cardio tips. Doing classic Tabata training of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest for eight rounds is the cardiovascular equivalent to doing 30 min on a treadmill but it only takes 4 minutes.

Do bodyweight moves such as squats, lunges, high knees, skipping, or running on the spot. It’s hard work but the results are worth it.

– Shane “The Balance Guy” McLean, is Personal Trainer at Just Fitness, Mesquite, TX

7. Think Back to Your Childhood

Remember what it was like to be a kid at recess, when running around was fun?

Find your inner child and go to a playground. Jump rope, or just pretend to. Swing on the monkey bars. Skip from one end of a basketball court to the other.

Bounce a ball while hopping on one foot. Hoola hoop. In other words, forget that it’s exercise and get your mindset to that of a child and just run around for the fun of it.

– Jacqueline Kelly, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and licensed therapist

8. Accountability Partners

When you are trying to create new habits, you need accountability. Like-minded friends are the best people to hold you accountable. We all slip up. We all have bad days. It is nothing like going to the gym with a friend or have them check in on you from time to time to see if you are actually exercising!

It’s a proven fact, that running or walking with a friend goes by much faster than when you are running by yourself.

– Dr. Kristian Henderson, fitness instructor, and blogger

10 Best Cardio Tips for People Who Hate Cardio Color Run
Color Run 5K, Anyone?

9. Train for a 5k

If you are goal-oriented, use to be a college athlete, or just like competition training for a 5k may be a way to add some assignment to your cardio routine.

Having a goal that you are working towards, might make it easier for you to lace up your running shoes and hit the pavement.

Have fun and win a medal!

– Dr. Kristian Henderson, fitness instructor, and blogger

10. The Fit In 30 Workout

Many of my clients struggle with traditional cardio because it can be so tedious and boring so I have a workout I created called “The Fit in 30 Workout”.

By performing a 30-minute circuit training workout, one has the capability of burning up to 500 calories per session.

People are short on time and looking for a solution to achieve effective results with minimal cardio.

By performing circuit training intervals, you can get creative and combine cardio with strength training, plyometrics, kickboxing to get a full-body workout in less time. You can also use a variety of portable exercise equipment and bodyweight exercises.

As you know, Circuit training is the fusion of cardiovascular and strength training exercises and can include dumbbell and resistance equipment for the strength portion and fun cardio intervals for the cardio portion. Your heart rate remains elevated throughout the entire workout and it focuses on every aspect of physical fitness: strength, balance, coordination, agility, etc.

Here is a sample 30 minute circuit training workout that can be done anywhere with a pair of dumbbells and a mat:

  • Fit in 30 Workout
  • Warm-Up (45 Sec)

10 Best Cardio Tips for People Who Hate CardioCircuit 1 (Repeat 2X)

  • Running in Place (45 Sec)
  • Dumbbell Squats (45 Sec)
  • Jump Squats (45 Sec)
  • Dumbbell Lunges (45 Sec)
  • Basic Crunches (45 Sec)
  • Break (1 Min)

Circuit 2 (repeat 2X)

  • Jumping Jacks (45 Sec)
  • Pushups (45 Sec)
  • Hoverjacks (45 Sec)
  • Shoulder Press (45 Sec)
  • Bicycle Abs (45 Sec)
  • Break (1 Min)

Circuit 3 (repeat 2X)

  • Butt Blaster Exercises (45 Sec)
  • Butt Blaster Exercises (45 Sec)
  • Lateral Leg Lifts (45 Sec)
  • Inner Thigh Leg Lifts (45 Sec)
  • Oblique Crunches (45 Sec)
  • Plank (45 Sec)

Cooldown/Stretch (3 Min)

– Angelique Millis, Fitness Professional & Journalist, @PhysiquebyAngelique


When it comes to the best cardio tips for people who hate cardio, we can all learn a lesson from these great experts.

It’s not about running 5 miles each day or having the cardio system of Steve Prefontaine, it’s about getting out there and just getting started.

Use these best cardio tips to start overcoming your fear of cardio and start living a healthier life!

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Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
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10 Best Cardio Tips for People Who Hate Cardio