5 cardio exercises you can add to your workout routine if you hate running

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While some people like clearing their head with a quick run in the crisp morning air, there’s an opposite camp that hates lacing up their trainers. Too sweaty, too intensive, too solitary—the reasons for not enjoying cardio workouts run the gamut. If you are looking to crunch some calories and spike your heart rate, celebrity fitness trainer Namrata Purohit has some good news in store: you don’t necessarily need to pound the ground with an unrelenting run in the park. As the founder of The Pilates and Altitude Training Studio, she’s devised an equal number of substitutes that can help you get your heart rate pumping, while also making sure you have a good time. Here, she lays out all your options for giving your heart an effective workout without ever having to come face-to-face with a treadmill.

Swimming

If you have access to a swimming pool, this is a great option for clocking in some cardio and working on your muscles. Unlike other workout forms, the risk of injury is relatively low in this one, and it has the least impact on joints too. While swimming is sufficient as an exercise on its own, it helps to warm up before hitting the water. This could be in the form of kicks or rotating arm exercises beforehand, and some easy stretches once you head out of the pool. 30 laps around a big pool should be sufficient to get your heart rate up. Another option is swimming continuously for half an hour without any breaks to truly tire out the muscles.

Trampoline

Another cardio candidate that has a low impact on the joints is the trampoline. This exercise form is most enjoyable when done in a group class, as the energy is high and the adrenalin levels are off the charts. When done consistently, it helps burn calories and increase the body’s immunity. A simple 45-minute session in a class can help you burn up to 350 calories. To keep the momentum going, it is advisable to opt for a session at least twice a week.

Jumping jacks

If your everyday schedule doesn’t allow for a long-term gym membership, jumping jacks can serve as the answer to your at-home workout needs. With no fancy equipment or prior level of expertise required, this beginner-friendly exercise can be done from the comfort of your living room. Begin by standing straight with your feet together and your hands stationary by your sides. Bend your knees and jump with your legs wide and your arms stretching above your head, before returning back to the starting position. Allow your individual fitness levels to dictate the number of jumping jacks you do in one session, but it helps to clock in continuous bursts to get your heart rate going.

Dancing

Whether your personal preferences run towards street jazz, hip hop or contemporary, there is a dance form out there for everyone. The sociable nature of this workout means that it is a great way to get moving, while also making new friends. On the fitness front, dancing helps you work your core and improve key variables such as balance, attention and coordination. If you’re looking for release after a hectic week at work, you can choose to sign up for a beginners’ dance class that is suited to your schedule. While you can learn just as easily from video tutorials online, the vibe of a group session means that you likely won’t realise where the time has gone. Make time in your schedule for your preferred dance form for a minimum of one hour, at least twice a week.

Sports

Your favourite outdoors activities from your childhood can be the number one form of cardio in adult life. And no, you don’t necessarily need access to a sprawling recreational centre—something as simple as gully cricket or a football game with your friends can help accelerate your heart rate. If you’re looking to level up, you’ll find plenty of badminton courts or common grounds for basketball, handball and volleyball in and around your residence as well. While there is no upper limit to the number of times you head out with your friends to toss the ball around, it is advisable to make time in your schedule at least twice a week for an outdoor session.

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