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5 Cardio Workouts That Are Better Than Running

There are a handful of other workouts that may reap you even more benefits.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

When you hear the term "cardio," running is probably the first workout that comes to mind. After all, the only thing you need to take advantage of the benefits of pounding pavement is a pair of sneakers. However, according to experts, it isn't the only cardio workout that can help you get into shape – and may not even be the best. "When you think of cardio running usually comes to mind, but if you have injuries, bad weather or just find it boring, here are my top 5 cardio alternatives to running, trainer Nikolai Puchlov, owner and head coach at Pro Kettlebell, tells The Body Network. 


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

The first workout he recommends is running. "You'll be hard pressed to find someone in better cardiovascular shape than a person who rows at a high level, but you don't need to be one of the boy's in the boat to gain the benefit of rowing," he says. "A concept2 rowing machine can be the perfect addition to your garage gym and they have a lot of training resources on their website." 

Related: 3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Weightlifting, According to Fitness Coach

Jump Roping

man skipping with jump rope in the park.

Jump roping is another efficient and free cardio workout you can do anytime, anyplace. "Boxers have been skipping rope for ages, keeping them light on their feet and able to endure long challenging bouts," Puchlov points out. He recommends investing in a Crossrope, "the highest quality ropes I have come across and they have training resources as well," he says. 

Versa Climber


While "not for the faint of heart," Puchlov is a big fan of the Versa Climber. "I can only describe the versa climber as mimicking running up a sand dune using your arms and legs as fast as you can," he says. "I have never met a more feared machine in all my life and I love it and that's why I have one in my gym." 

Assault Airbike

Shot of athlete woman exercising on assault air bike.

Next on his list, the Assault airbike. "A staple in crossfit gyms, air bikes can be used for steady state cardio as well as HIIT training."

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Pro Kettlebells

Pro Kettlebell/Facebook


And last, but certainly not least, Nikolai recommends his own Pro Kettlebells. "No other piece of fitness equipment is more versatile, compact, and transportable than a kettlebell," he says. "Kettlebells are used in military, law enforcement,  first responders and just about anywhere a strength/cardio workout is needed. Aside from being the highest quality kettlebells in the world, Pro Kettlebell also has hundreds of workouts that range five minutes to one hour as well as low, med and high intensity."

💪🔥Body Booster: Try mixing up your cardio workout with some kettlebells, which will also add the benefit of strength training to your workout. 

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more
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