Cardio. Some people LOVE it, and some people HATE it. Let's start off by first just explaining that all cardiovascular exercise is, is any exercise that raises your heart rate. So while some people automatically think you have to go running to get any "cardio", that is completely false. You can get great cardiovascular benefits from doing all kinds of exercise other than just jumping on a treadmill or elliptical machine. Even lifting weights provides some raise in heart rate, making it somewhat cardio in nature. A good kettlebell workout can get your heart rate racing without ever doing any of the classic cardio exercises most people think of. So there honestly is no reason to ever go running if you hate it, just for the sake of getting in your cardio. However, there are many people out there that like that typical feeling of a "runner's high" after a good long cardio session, or people who just prefer a lot more jumping around and sustained high heart rate without using weights or any other type of equipment. I actually love to use certain cardio drills in my own workouts simply for the enjoyment of mixing things up. I like to do a lot of different things in any given workout so I do not get bored, and my enjoyment level stays high. Mixing in different cardio drills does that for me. But that's just me. You need to do what works best for you and will keep your workouts enjoyable for you.
So let's talk about a few of my favorite options! Burpees are a great drill that will no doubt get your heart rate up there. There are many ways to modify a burpee as well. You can always leave out the pushup part and just go back up after kicking your feet out into a plank. Not only is this great cardio, but your getting upper body strength and core work as well. Some of my other favorites I use regularly: high knees, mountain climbers, speed skaters, jump squats, box jumps, jumping jacks, jump rope, jumping lunges, and sprints. These are great ways to get your heart rate up, and also add some fun variety to your workouts.
Terri Wentzell is a registered nurse with more than 20 years of experience. She is also a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, fitness nutrition coach, and sport yoga instructor.