Three Cardio Exercises That Are More Fun Than Jogging


For some reason, we’ve all been led to believe that the only cardio exercise that really counts is “going for a jog.” Whether it’s on the treadmill, on the sidewalk, or on a trail in the woods, jogging isn’t actually ideal or appropriate for everyone—and you do have other options! 

It’s Okay If You Hate Jogging

Jogging is not for everyone, and for good reason. Here are a few very legit and justified reasons you might dread jogging and running:

  • It is very “high-impact” on your joints. If you have any type of joint pain or stiffness, jogging isn’t just uncomfortable, it might also be detrimental for your long-term mobility. While many studies claim that running doesn’t cause arthritis or destroy your knees, it can certainly exacerbate existing joint issues. There is agreement that it isn’t ideal for anyone who is at least 20 pounds overweight. The extra weight you might be carrying (and working to lose) adds extra pressure to your joints that they simply aren’t designed to endure. This means that your first goal would be to lose weight with low-impact exercise choices like walking, swimming and others we’ll discuss in this article!
  • It can be very uncomfortable for certain body shapes. For people carrying significant weight on your chest, jogging can be extremely uncomfortable. The more sports bras you try to layer on, the more you simply feel like you can’t breathe. The shape and size of your belly, your thighs, your butt and your calves are all aspects of your body shape that might mean jogging isn’t comfortable for you—and that’s okay! You do not have to suffer in order to get cardio exercise.
  • It’s really boring. Especially if you’re just getting started, and running 1 mile is a struggle, there isn’t much in the activity of jogging to really excite and entertain. It isn’t fun. If you’re just getting started with cardio exercise, your success in sticking with it will be much higher if you actually enjoy it, at least a little bit!

Try These Types of Cardio Instead

Riding a Kick-Scooter

Not the electric type that zooms on its own, but the kick-scooter type! Not only are they really pretty easy to use, but they’ll also get your heart pumping far more than you’d think. And scootering is FUN! Find an empty parking lot (after hours at a school or business) or a well-maintained sidewalk, put on a helmet and zip around on your scooter for 30 minutes! It’s also great for your leg muscles—the standing leg will work your quads and hamstrings while the kicking leg works quads, hams and calves! When one leg gets tired of standing, you simply switch legs and work the other side. Most standard scooters have a maximum weight limit of 220 pounds, but there are several options for body weights up to 300 and 400 pounds. Check Facebook marketplace for used scooters to get one for a deal! And wear your helmet!

Dance Workouts (at home!)

Ditch the boring and torturous jog for some dancing, baby! Even if you aren’t keen on joining a Zumba class, there are so many YouTube dance cardio workouts for FREE that you can do when and where you please. The great thing about dancing is that the movement is not repetitive in a refined position like jogging. Instead, you’re moving your whole body in a variety of ways and probably boosting your mood while you’re at it! While jogging can leave many of us frustrated with our body, dancing is bound to make most of us feel more connected and empowered by every bone, muscle and curve! Here are a few great beginner dance workouts: 

Hill Walk Intervals

If the standard power walk is too dull and boring, give “hill walks” a try! Low-impact and simple, you can get a really great cardio workout in just 30 minutes. Simply choose a hill in your neighborhood (ideally with a decent sidewalk for safety) and set yourself at the bottom. Power-walk your way up that hill, walk down to the bottom, wait a minute or two for your heart rate to come down, and repeat! Depending on your pace and the length of the hill, you may do six rounds or 10 in a 30-minute span of time. The variety of intensity created is great for losing weight because that up and down in your heart rate actually increases fat-burning while working your heart and lungs, too. 

Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated! The most important ingredient in any successful exercise routine is that you’re enjoying it and it feels good! While you may have to really convince yourself to make it a priority in the first month or two, you just might find your body craving some cardio exercise eventually. Inevitably, you’ll boost your mood and your appreciation for what your bones and muscles can do while improving your blood sugars and insulin sensitivity. Try these new types of cardio and get your heart pumping!

WRITTEN BY Ginger Vieira, POSTED 04/05/21, UPDATED 12/11/22

Ginger Vieira is an author and writer living with type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism. She’s authored a variety of books, including “When I Go Low” (for kids), “Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes,” and “Dealing with Diabetes Burnout.” Ginger’s also written for Diabetes Mine, Healthline, T1D Exchange, Diabetes Strong and more! In her free time, she is jumping rope, scootering with her daughters, or walking with her handsome fella and their dog.