7 cardio alternatives when you hate running

Running comes relatively easy to me. But the truth is that a lot of people don’t like running. Some may even say they hate running.

If you’re not like me, don’t worry, there are plenty of other cardio alternatives without running.

two women walking for cardio

Is cardio necessary?

Cardiovascular exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and has many benefits including supporting the immune system, improving lung capacity, aiding sleep, and boosting mental health. But running is not the be-all, end-all of cardio.

If you hate running, it’s worth the effort to find other cardio options for you. Many people think cardio exercises with weight loss or managing weight. Cardio also can help:

  • Improve heart and brain health
  • Lower stress levels
  • Reduce heart disease
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Strengthen your muscles, which can improve balance

If you aren’t running, what else is there?

Non-running cardio alternatives that can be done in and out the gym:


Spinning is without a doubt the most typical cardio alternative to running. Spinning has taken over the exercise world especially during the pandemic.

It is a fun, low-impact exercise that is known to reduce stress, promote weight loss, build strength and muscle and increase stamina.

Elliptical machine

Using an elliptical is similar to running and maybe the best alternative for those who love running but can’t do it. It lightens the impact to the knees, hips and ankles while maintaining a running-like motion and working all the same muscles.

Air bike

An air bike, also known as an assault bike, is a stationary bike that is similar to stationary bikes you see in most gyms. However, it has a fan that is driven by the speed and power of the pedals.

Air bikes do not have preset electronic programs, so it’s up to you to make your own workout and choose the resistance level with your pace.


Walking isn’t necessarily cardio by nature, but it can definitely elevate your heart rate. You can increase your heart rate to a quick pace and keep it steady for as long as you desire to walk.

Walking is a lot easier on the joints than running. You also can pass the time by talking on the phone, listening to a podcast or catching up on an audiobook.

Jump Rope

A jump rope is much more than something used in schools.

woman jumping rope outside building

It doesn’t require much space and yet promotes great aerobic exercise. You can buy a jump rope in Target or you can purchase one in Walmart.

Try this 10-minute jump rope workout or this interval workout that you can do at home, the park or at the gym.


If you’re looking for a low-impact alternative workout to running, skip the treadmill and head straight for a rowing machine. It usually sits empty unlike many other cardio machines and yet provides a full-body workout.

Rowing pumps the heart while strengthening the entire upper body and targeting part of the lower. If access to water is out of the question, the rowing machine at the gym is just as beneficial for a cardio alternative.


Not only is swimming considered a great aerobic exercise, but it also strengthens muscle groups throughout the entire body. Swimming helps to tone and build strength without the stressful impacts of weights. It’s also gentle on joints and muscles.

What is the best form of cardio?

The best workout is the one you’ll do regularly, and that is most likely to be something you look forward to rather than dread.

What is your favorite way to get in cardio?

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Similar Posts

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments