At the end of the day, fitness really should be fun. But sometimes it isn’t. Life gets busy, and we squeeze in whatever we can, not necessarily what we love. Eventually, our go-to workouts can get stale … really, really stale. Who’s taken a run on the treadmill and wondered how a minute can suddenly feel like the slowest unit of time?
Looking for a cardio workout that isn’t running? Here are three ways to switch it up and infuse a little passion back into your routine:
1. Just dance.
For a lot of us, dancing is fun—at least when we set aside self-consciousness. In addition to being uplifting, it can also provide a thorough workout.
There are numerous ways to incorporate dance into your cardio routine. And, when it comes to cost and structure, dance workouts can be more or less free and in whatever form you want them to be all the way to paid, private lessons.
- Hit a club on the weekend or have a private dance party in your living room.
- Stream a dance workout or buy DVDs. A search for cardio dance workout or specific types of dance with the term “workout” (e.g., hip hop dance workout, Latin dance workout, ballet workout) will get you plenty of results of the free and fee-based variety.
- Take a class at a studio or a gym, or through parks and recreation.
- Find a coach or personal trainer. Work one-on-one with a certified professional who has a background in an area you are interested in.
2. Push the pedals.
Did you like riding your bike as a kid? Was it a thrill to pedal for blocks, bomb down hills or jump curbs? And, even a tough hill could be satisfying once you triumphed it. You probably didn’t think about the fact that you were getting exercise. Riding a bike as an adult can be a lot like that, too.
As with dance, there are numerous ways to infuse cycling into your lifestyle—indoors, outdoors, casual and structured, in the woods on a dirt trail, on the road or paved, urban bike path.
- Buy a bicycle and ride outside. There are numerous options—cross, road, fat tire, mountain, fixed gear and cruiser are some of the most common. Speak with other cyclists or visit your local bike shop to discuss what frame style is best for you. Looking for company? Find a local bike club to ride with.
- Buy a bicycle and ride inside. During crummy days or chilly months, you can hook your road or cross bike up to a stationery trainer. Set it up in your living room or basement. Add intervals or resistance to mix up the intensity.
- Ride at the gym. Do your entire workout on the bike—select a pre-programmed workout or make up your own—or use the bike as a warm-up before lifting or part of circuit training.
- Take an indoor cycling class. A few places to look for indoor cycling classes include gyms and rec centers, privately owned spin studios, and athletic performance centers, to name a few. Some classes use spin bikes, while others require you to bring your own road or cross bike to hook up to a stationery trainer.
3. Row, row, row your boat.
For a lot of us, rowing is completely uncharted territory, which can increase the fun factor. Trying something completely new can be a great way to get lost in the experience and forget about the fitness aspect—though, you are sure to feel it.
- DIY rowing workout. Short on time and/or money? You can search for rowing workouts online and do them on your own—at home or at the gym.
- Take an indoor rowing class. Looking for structure and camaraderie? Find a group rowing class at a gym or studio.
- Get outside and row. Locate a rowing club where you live and see what introductory classes they offer. Each June, many clubs hold Learn to Row Day.
Sure, some of these options may require more time, money or equipment than you have to spare on a regular basis. But, for the most part, they do accommodate a range of life circumstances. And, trying one or two of them doesn’t mean ditching your laps in the pool or your elliptical sessions.
Whether it’s dancing, cycling, rowing or something else that piques your interest, adding something different into your exercise routine once a week or once a month can make breaking a sweat something you look forward to again.
 Dawson, Mike. “Why Rowing Is the New Spinning.” Details. http://www.details.com/story/why-rowing-is-the-new-spinning-technique-classes-workouts-races