Get the Benefits of Cardio with these Workouts that Don't Involve Running

Let’s face it: Running is fun, but sometimes you want to do something different but still get the calorie burn and sweat therapy.

Get in a heart-pounding cardio workout, no matter how much equipment you have. Many of these workouts can be done anywhere, while traveling, in the park and even with friends.

You’re in luck: It’s never been easier to get in a heart-pounding cardio workout, no matter how much equipment you have (or don’t have) access to. And many of these fun indoor cardio workouts can be done anywhere — while traveling, in the park and even with friends.

Jump Rope

Remember when you used to jump rope in gym class as a child? It’s not just a kid’s activity anymore. Jumping rope can be an intense workout that increases your heart rate to your target zone while building muscle and bone strength at the same time.

Research shows that jumping rope can burn upwards of 1,300 calories per hou, but you don’t have to go that long to get a good cardio workout — 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to running an eight-minute mile.

Ready to get started? Here’s a jump rope workout to help ease you in — and don’t worry, it’s like riding a bike. You never forget how to jump rope.

  • Do basic jumps for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Basic jumps for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Basic jumps for 40 seconds
  • Rest for 20 seconds
  • Rest for two minutes
  • Repeat four times

As you find your footing you can add in more advanced footwork to your jump rope workouts, including alternating foot jumps, jumping jack jumps and more.


Circuit workouts are the perfect way to combine strength and cardio in the same workout for a calorie burn that rivals that of your favorite long run. Basically, circuits work like this: You complete a series of moves — say a plank, then bodyweight squats, goblet squats and push-ups — for a set number of reps or seconds. Once you’re all the way through with one circuit, rest then repeat an additional two or three times for a complete workout.

The beauty of circuits is that you can make them in any combination or length you want; there are no rules. You can make them as difficult or as easy as you want and do the workout with or without equipment.

Not sure where to start? Try this circuit:

  • 15 body weight
  • 10 forward lunges
  • 10 burpees
  • 30-second forearm plank

Rest for 30 seconds to one minute, repeat. Do this three times for a workout that won’t take much time, but will challenge your full body.

Indoor Cycling

Cycling is one of the most popular ways to get in an indoor cardio workout, thanks to popularity of fitness companies like SoulCycle and Flywheel. The reason why this indoor cardio workout is popular is simple: It’s a low-impact way to work out that increases your endurance, burns calories and strengthens your muscles (especially your leg muscles).

The number of calories you burn during an indoor cycling class vary due to a number of factors, including your age, weight and fitness level, but you’re guaranteed to break a sweat.

Another benefit to joining an indoor spinning class? The atmosphere. Today’s indoor spinning classes are really focused on togetherness and personal enlightenment that you don’t often get in other workout classes.

You can try an indoor cycling workout class by checking the schedule at your local gym, or by finding a boutique indoor cycling class near you. Can’t find one? Companies like Peloton make it easy to get the indoor cycling class environment in the comfort of your home.

: Cardio without running


Rowing might look simple, but it’s actually an intense exercise that uses both your upper- and lower-body muscles as you pull away and return home. Proper form takes a little while to get down (learn how to row properly here), but once you get that down it can vastly increase cardiovascular conditioning and endurance.

Just getting started with the rower? Try this workout on for size:

  • Row 250 meters with as much resistance as possible
  • Rest one minute
  • Repeat for a total of 20 minutes

This interval is meant to be a 1:1 workout, meaning you’ll row 250 meters within one minute before you rest. That’s not always possible for complete beginners, so do your best and over time you’ll build to that 1:1 ratio.


Don’t think just jumping up and down is enough of an indoor cardio workout? Think again! Plyometrics — or “plyo” — is meant to help increase your power or explosiveness while giving your heart and lungs a challenge at the same time.

According to Men’s Journal, plyometrics is defined as an eccentric action (muscle lengthening), followed by an action that’s concentric, or muscle shortening. Done repeatedly, it helps build muscle strength which can translate to all other areas of your training, including running and sprinting. Moves that are considered plyometric include:

  • Box jumps — front, lateral and weighted
  • Broad jumps
  • Skater jumps
  • Lateral shuffles
  • Dot drills

This plyometrics workout by Fitness Blender is only 12 minutes, but we guarantee you’ll be out of breath.

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