Whether it's because of its monotonous and solitary nature causing boredom or local weather conditions that aren’t optimal for running, there are many who avoid the activity.
And if you fall into that camp, we want to give you some other sporting ideas to stay on top of your cardio.
Because regardless of if you like running or not, you need to take care of your cardiovascular health for long-term wellness and fitness.
Why You Need Cardiovascular TrainingFor long-term optimal health, you need to perform some type of cardiovascular training.
The good news is that even if you hate running, there are many other fun and more socially engaging ways to get an amazing cardio workout.
But first, let’s explore why it is absolutely crucial that you do some sort of cardio:
Improve cardiovascular health: Keep your heart, lungs, and blood vessels in the best shape allowing them to work more efficiently.
This is not only good for fitness and athletic performance, but will also reduce the risk of heart-related diseases later in life.
Improve endurance: When it comes to fitness, whether playing a sport or in a real life situation that requires stamina, your cardiovascular endurance becomes key.
Doing cardio training improves your body's ability to use oxygen efficiently, allowing you to perform physical activity for longer periods without getting tired.
Weight management: There’s no two ways about it, cardio is one of the most effective ways to burn the maximum number of calories.
When combined with proper nutrition and resistance training, cardiovascular exercises can exponentially improve your metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories throughout the day and reach your weight goals faster.
Manage stress: Cardio training makes everything better. It releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers that help to manage stress and maintain a balanced mood.
Improve sleep quality: Regular cardio will also improve sleep quality, which means better recovery. When you recover well, you can get back to training quicker and make faster progress toward your fitness goals.
Plus sleep is crucial for almost every major aspect of health, whether its hormonal balance, skin health, energy levels, appetite regulation, or any number of other functions.
5 Sports that Are Great for CardioSo, we’ve established that cardio is vital.
But if you hate running, then you have to get a bit creative to get your cardio workouts in.
The number one reason that people hate running is that it’s boring. Some people can get over that hurdle with music, but for others, a playlist pumping upbeat music just isn’t enough.
If that sounds familiar, try out one of these sports.
Not only are these sports incredible for cardio, but they’re also super fun and they include a social aspect to them, killing the issue of boredom.
1. TennisEver seen a professional tennis player that’s not in amazing shape?
Yeah, us neither.
Not only is tennis amazing high-intensity cardio, but you will also develop full body endurance, stamina, and functional fitness.
It can take a bit to get the hang of the game, but a few weeks of training with an instructor should help you get a pretty decent grip on the basics.
If you find running to be boring, tennis is the exact opposite.
It’s mentally engaging and competitive, and once you start hitting balls with confidence, it’s an enthralling feeling.
And best of all, you can get some vitamin D while you get your cardio in, if you play outside.
But remember to rehydrate with a high-quality, clean lemonade electrolytes powder, such as the refreshing Nakedade from Naked Nutrition.
2. SoccerArguably a more convenient option than tennis.
Because it’s typically much easier to find a soccer league in your area than tennis partners whose skill level and schedule line up with yours.
Just like tennis players, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone that plays soccer regularly and is also massively out of shape.
That’s because soccer challenges your cardiovascular system from every angle.
You’ll be sprinting, jogging, running, and fighting off opposing players as they try to steal the ball from your feet.
Not only will you get in great shape, but it is also an opportunity to make connections with wellness-minded people in your community.
3. CrossFitIf you’re looking to seriously level up your fitness, both strength and cardio, then there is probably nothing better than CrossFit.
Yes, there are some risks associated with these workouts. The main thing is the relative lack of instruction and the incredibly complex movements that often increase the risk of injury.
So, if you do decide to go this route, make sure you consult with a physio to make sure you do not have any issues when it comes to posture and mobility.
It might even be a good idea to hire a personal trainer on the side who can take the time to coach you on Olympic lift movements. And of course, be extra careful when choosing a “Box”.
Go to a CrossFit box that prioritizes safety over bravado.
All that being said, if you can find one that fits your vibe, then you’ll immediately plug into an uber-supportive community of cheerleaders who will push you to limits that you didn’t even exist.
4. BasketballYou need no introduction to why basketball is good for cardio.
Sprinting, jumping, and running nonstop for four quarters will give your heart and lungs plenty to handle.
You might have hesitations because you perceive to lack the skills or height to be great at basketball.
Sure, you’re not going to be trying out for the Knicks anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great cardio workout for you in a fun, social, environment.
Similar to soccer, just take a bit of time to learn the basics, and then practice makes perfect.
5. BoxingA different type of challenge that’s another amazing cardio booster and extremely efficient.
You’ll be covering multiple bases with your boxing training.
You’ll improve cardio health, brain function, thinking on your feet (literally), and improve your self-defense skills.
While we would never promote any sort of violence, it is never a bad idea to have the ability (which, hopefully, you will never need) to defend yourself, or your loved ones, if push really comes to shove.
In fact, people that train in boxing or martial arts will often say that because their training gives them an increased level of confidence, they are often calmer in sticky situations, and that calmness actually decreases their likelihood of getting into actual altercations.
So, in a way, learning self-defense can in itself decrease the chances of having to defend yourself. Kind of interesting.
And yes, it’s an incredible cardio workout as well.