Running Sucks! Try These Alternative Cardio Workouts

Listen, we know that running sucks. Many people think running is a MUST when working out, whether alone or in addition to strength training. Cardio is an excellent way to keep your heart rate up and burn calories, but running isn’t the only cardio workout! Read more to learn about our favorite cardio workouts.

Boxing or Kickboxing

You don’t need to go toe-to-toe with Mike Tyson or leave your home for a good boxing workout! You can incorporate a combination of jabs, crosses, and kicks to create your own workout routine, or you can follow along with an online video. For an extra challenge, try holding light dumbbells or wearing ankle weights! If you prefer to work outside your home, many gyms offer group kickboxing classes, or you can find a gym specifically designed for boxing.



Cycling is a great way to get your cardio in indoors or outdoors. Most gyms have cycling machines or cycling classes, including West Coast Strength! If you prefer to cycle alone, you can adjust the resistance levels and incorporate sitting to standing motions to challenge yourself. If you prefer to be out in nature, get a bicycle; you don’t need a fancy, expensive cycling bike either! Outdoor cycling is great because you can change intensity by changing the terrain you ride on. Be sure to plan your route ahead of time!

Rowing Machine

Try an indoor rowing machine. It is a great way to get cardio that uses your entire body, including your core, back, legs, and arms! Proper technique has a slight learning curve, but rowing at high intensity will elevate your heart rate and burn more calories. Follow the tips below to get started:

  • Don’t hunch over your waist to use your arms.
  • Most of the force behind each stroke should come from your legs. 
  • Keep your back straight and bring your shoulders together at the top of each stroke.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks require NO equipment and can be done anywhere. Jumping jacks are simple but can have variations if you’re feeling adventurous, but jumping jacks involve your entire body. Jumping jacks can be added to your current routine to keep your heart rate up throughout your workout.


Pools keep your core temperature down so you can last longer while swimming. Being in the water is easier on the joints for those who have arthritis, are overweight, or have injuries. Swimming requires your entire body and is an excellent (and fun) form of cardio.

Jumping Rope

Research indicates that 10 minutes of jumping rope can be as effective as 30 minutes of jogging. Jumping rope is an easy and low-impact workout that can be done anywhere with enough space to swing a rope. For beginners, keep your elbows and core tight to maintain balance while jumping. Once you get comfortable, add variations like hopping from side to side or alternating feet every swing to challenge yourself.


Get outdoors and hit the trails! You won’t move as fast as running, but you’ll burn plenty of calories while strengthening your ankles, knees, and hips to become more resilient as you move through unpredictable terrain. You’ll also hone your balance and coordination more than you think!


Just kidding, burpees suck too! 

Okay, if you MUST do burpees, they are an excellent (but least fun) form of cardio. Burpees are high-intensity and require using your entire body. Like jumping jacks, burpees can be added to your strength training routine to keep your heart rate up.

Join West Coast Strength Eugene!

Run (see what we did there?) to West Coast Strength and try our up-to-date cardio equipment in a supportive environment!  We also offer Group X with fun cardio-based classes like fitness dance, cycling, and functional fitness. You can find our class schedule on our website, but if you are interested in joining West Coast Strength and enjoying our facilities, stop by or call us today!

Start Your Journey To Better Health





Experience Professional Results