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7 Cardio Workouts That Burn Fat Faster Than Running

Hate running? No problem.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Running is a highly effective form of cardio exercise, but it's not for everyone. "If I'm looking at a gym and looking at what can I get the most bang for my buck from, it's whatever I can use that moves and works for the most muscle groups at the same time," Dr. William Roberts, a University of Minnesota physician and former president of the American College of Sports Medicine, tells USA Today. "If you can build strength and build muscle mass, you're going to burn more calories. Even if you're idling." If running doesn't appeal but you want to continue with a decent cardio option for workouts, here are 7 workouts that burn fat faster than running.

Take a Walk

Walking or running legs sport shoes, fitness and exercising in autumn or winter nature. Cross country or trail runner outdoors.

Running burns more calories overall, but walking burns more fat for fuel. "When it comes to weight loss, moving and burning calories are what matters," Dr Daniel O'Connor, professor of health and human performance at the University of Houston, tells Runner's World. "If you like sprints, which have a higher rate of calories burned per minute, then go for it. But, if you prefer walking or slower jogging, you'll just need to spend more time doing this to burn those calories."

HIIT Training

Beautiful women doing a cardio HIIT routine and squatting. Three fit women in sportswear working out and doing squats in the gym

HIIT is a great fat-burning exercise. "Interval training seems to change your metabolism, and higher intensity exercise seems to promote many physiological changes that might favor long-term weight loss," Paulo Gentil, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Physical Education and Dance at the Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil, told Runner's World. "In other words, it makes your body more efficient in burning fat."

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Professional man in swimming pool. View underwater

Swimming burns fat faster than running, but there is a caveat. "Swimming burns the most calories over short periods of time," says Timothy Miller, MD, director of The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Sports Medicine Endurance Medicine Program. "Over longer periods, running is most likely to win out for most calories burned because few people can swim for a long time, but a lot of people can run for a long time."

Spin Class

people biking in spinning class at modern gym, exercising on stationary bike. group of caucasian people athletes training on exercise bike

Cycling is a low-impact exercise, which means it may be kept up for longer than running. "Cycling is one of the best options, alongside swimming," Alex Parren, personal trainer and running coach for Sundried, tells Runner's World. "Cycling is low-impact, meaning the joints that usually take a pounding during running will be able to rest and recover while you continue to improve your aerobic base."

Trampoline Workouts

Portrait of two young active girls in fitness clothes doing exercises for squatting with trampoline during training in gym.

Studies show that rebounding is 68% more efficient than running. "In just a short time, you can burn a lot of calories and get a good cardiovascular and strength-building workout,"  Dr. Melissa Leber, MD, director of emergency department sports medicine at Mount Sinai Health System, tells Vogue. "[It's also a] great way to change up your workout routine to avoid overuse injuries from the sport or workout you love."

Jump Rope

Guy with girl warming up on a skipping rope before the competition. Jumping on the a skipping rope outdoors. Sport workout outdoors. Athletics.

One of the benefits of jumping rope is the small amount of space you need to do it. Depending on the intensity, you can burn 100 calories in 10 minutes. "Jumping rope is great cardiovascular exercise," exercise physiologist Katie Lawton, MEd, tells the Cleveland Clinic. "It can get your heart rate up. You can use it to complement a strength training program."

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Indoor Rowing

Side view of man and woman doing exercises with rowing machine at gym.

Indoor rowing builds muscle, which means you continue to burn calories even at rest. "In general, rowing builds muscle mass faster than running," Reda Elmardi, R.D., C.S.C.S., tells Nike. "Rowing is lower impact, so you can have the advantages of getting exercise and getting muscle recruitment without the drawback of stressing the joints."

💪🔥Body Booster: You don't have to run to burn fat—being active, no matter what the exercise, is what counts.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more