Fun Cardio Workouts That Aren’t Running
Health wellness

Fun Cardio Workouts That Aren’t Running


What qualifies as a cardio workout? Well, we know the usual suspects, running, walking, swimming, and bike riding. But what if you find ‘normal’ cardio... pull-your-eyes-out boring? What cardio workouts are more engaging? 


Don’t know? Then we’re glad you asked. 


Look, almost anything can be considered cardio. It counts if the heart rate is up and breathing is almost, all you can focus on for a sustained period. Because of an increase in oxygen during cardio workouts, you'll get fitter and healthier in no time. The only thing need to do cardio on the regular. But there’s a twist, 'regular cardio exercise' doesn’t need to be quote-on-quote, regular, winky face if you know what we mean. Cardio can be fun, and we’re not being sarcastic. Scouts honor.


Here are our top 12 fun cardio workouts that aren’t running!


  1. Roller Skating. Could you think of a more instagrammable cardio workout? We can’t either. Plus, about 30 minutes after you shimmy on those skates, you’ll have burned 250 calories. Oh, and did we mention how dang TikTok-friendly this little cardio workout is? No? Yeah, we didn’t think we needed to, you already know!
  2. Stilt Walking. If walking is mind-numbing to you, how about you walk on stilts? In East Flatbush Brooklyn there is actually a group of Caribbean stilt-walkers-in-training who practice in an alleyway. (Umm... sign us up!) You can watch their YouTube mini-doc and never think of stilt walking the same way, here.
  3. Gym Row Machine. Rowing totally counts as cardio. Whenever you sit down on the row machine picture yourself training to join the most exclusive rowing team in the world and the next race has a $10,000 prize. (No really there’s a legit race with a 10k prize bag.) We love good motivation. A 185-pound person roughly burns 377 calories in 30 minutes of rowing. 
  4. Dancing. A 185-pound person will burn roughly 8 calories per minute when in a dance class. Our favorite at-home dance class streamer is STEEZY Studio. They offer a 7-day trial so you can decide for yourself!
  5. Pole Classes. Want to see results in 6-8 weeks? Try pole dancing classes. One source says women who fall in the 40 to 50 pounds overweight category could see results within that 1.5- 2 month time frame. One hour of pole dancing will roughly burn 250-350 calories. You can buy a pole dancing pole for your home IN ALL GOLD, for under $300 on Amazon, we just got the chills. 
  6. Bouldering. Limit your rest periods in between climbing spurts, keeping your heart rate up, and you’ll get a great aerobic session in! You will burn roughly 8 to 10 calories per minute while climbing. (And you’re going to develop some very sleek, sexy arms and shoulders, it’s a killer, full-body workout.)
  7. Competitive tennis. Do you want results, and need them now?! Well then skip running and pick up a racquet. You’ll burn a whopping 575 - 775 calories during an hour-long match. Don’t know how to play? The average tennis lesson will run you about $25 to $90 per session. You can learn. Add $128 for this adorbs powder, pink Tory Burch tennis skirt, and a first lesson with an overly tan and muscled tennis instructor, and you get fun cardio.  
  8. Handball. No good with a racquet, even with lessons? Find your local handball team and get to calorie-burning. The average handball player will burn 751 calories per hour reports the Wall Street Journal. Sounds like an overestimation, but we get the point.
  9. Jumping Rope. An oldie but a goodie, this one will get you in ‘fighting’ shape and will improve your coordination. Pro tip: start small and work up. 15-20 minutes sessions are a good place to start. How many calories does jumping rope burn? Potentially, 300 - 450 calories could be burnt in just half an hour! If you’re short on time this may be THE most efficient workout to do on your cardio days. 
  10. Cheerleading. Need a list of every cheerleading movie ever made to follow along to? Yeah, there’s a Wikipedia page for that (click here.) And if you still have your old uniform around? Go ahead lay it out in front of you as you burn a solid 100 calories in 30 minutes.
  11. Geocaching (by bike or hiking, as long as you’re not driving, because that doesn't count as cardio). Geocaching is essentially modern-day treasure hunting. Millions of caches are hidden around the world. (Pokémon Go is actually all digital geo-caching.) So if hiking or cycling alone is not so exciting to you, then how about some treasure waiting for you at the end? Care to learn more about geocaching? Click here
  12. Pogoing. The first pogo stick patented in America was in 1919. ( And here we were thinking it was strictly a 90’s kid thing...oops.) Pogo-jumping burns a heck of a lot of calories at roughly 600 calories per hour with 6 - 8 inch jumps. But maybe put on some knee pads because we're not eight and nimble anymore.