In the midst of our the “strong is the new skinny” mentality, a lot of people have nixed the treadmill for the squat rack. Since cardiovascular exercise is the bane of my existence I understand the temptation to trade in cardio in for strength training altogether. But unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.

In the centre of a society that looks at exercise as a means to an end, and that end being a physically measurable ideal, we tend to forget about the importance that exercise plays in our health. And in terms of health, cardiovascular exercise is the most important type of exercise we can do. It gets our heart pumping, maintains muscle balance, and in general keeps the body in-sync and fit.

While I’m sure many of you may be nodding your head in agreement, I'm confident that you aren’t any more eager to hop on the treadmill and get that cardio in. Because unfortunately it seems to be that if you don’t LOVE running you absolutely HATE it. 

Also, let’s face it. Running isn’t just painful, it’s boring. Who wants to stare at a wall for 40 minutes while Britney Spears yells at you to WORK through your earbuds? I for one, am getting sick of it. Luckily, running isn’t the only form of cardio to get your heart pumping and fat burning. With that said, let's take a look at some more fun ways to get in your cardio:

1. Drill Exercises

I listed this one first because some of the best work outs you'll ever have will be in the drill-format. This includes Kayla Itsines' BBG, Way of Gray, and any other boot camp that involves burpees, jumping jacks, squat jumps, etc. Exercises that mix strength training with cardio using only your own body prevents muscle imbalance and is actually the most effective way to build your fitness in a holistic way. Doing full body exercises like burpees are the best way to achieve full body fitness and increased and well-rounded agility. Also, drill exercises are done in intense intervals with breaks in between, which means you won't even have time to get bored.

2. Power Yoga

A lot of people complain about not getting a good workout from yoga. I hear you. But try power yoga. It takes the essence of regular yoga but kicks it into a higher gear by making the poses dynamic and going through them at a faster pace.

3. Dance

There is nothing more fun. When the incentive is nailing a routine, you won't even pay attention to the fact that you're working out your body to achieve it. As someone who danced my whole life, I can definitely vie for exercises that are incentivized by something other than a body transformation. When you're trying to nail that split leap, you'll do it a hundred times over not simply because you know you're burning fat, but because you want to nail that damn split leap! Dance classes are not exclusively offered for people with prior training in dance, btw. Lucky for you, you live in Toronto and there are dozens of beginner dance classes all over the city where you can get a really great workout and have an amazing time no matter what your experience level is.

4. Spin Class

Spinning is one of the best cardio-endurance exercises you can get and it's apparently pretty addictive. When you do spin class you work your whole body and tone your legs like crazy. Also, the group element of spin class can build an encouraging and uplifting spirit, one that spinning advocates claim to have them walking away with a sense of clarity and euphoria.

5. Aqua Fit

It's not just for grandma anymore! The fitness industry has realized that doing zumba-like exercises in the pool is a viable exercise option for those who are injured or are just sensitive to the impact of exercising on land. Upon this realization, certain centres have begun to fine-tune the classes and offer intensified aqua fit so that you can get a real workout from them. Plus, you're in a pool listening to fun music, so it's pretty fun too!

6. Hula Hooping

The hottest new trend in fitness, everyone from Zooey Deschanel to Michelle Obama is doing it! We love Hula Hooping because it's founded on something that was created for fun. You can have fun getting cardio done at HooperSonic in Toronto!

7. Zumba

Zumba is SO. MUCH. FUN. Doing only the most fun dance moves repeatedly to high energy music is sure to get the endorphins going and a smile across your face.

8. Twerkout

Yup, you heard me right. You can now simultaneously fine-tune that booty as well as your twerking skills.

9. Kickboxing

One of the best workouts out there and so, so much fun. The warm up will kick your butt while you listen to fun pump-up music. The punching/kicking portion of the class will make you powerful AF and have you feeling like a total badass not to be messed with.

10. SkyZone Healthy

Skyzone Trampoline Park offers fitness classes. We already know jumping on a trampoline is so much fun and such amazing exercise, but you probably never thought to make jumping on a trampoline your regular exercise regime, but maybe you should! Skyzone claims that you can burn up to 1,000 calories in one 60 minute class, and it only costs 12$!

11. Pole Dancing

If you're looking for a fun alternative to your regular workout, this one is far from regular. Pole dancing caught our attention years ago because it sounded so crazy, but it maintained our attention because it really works. Pole dancing will improve your endurance, strength, and flexibility, and you'll have fun doing it.

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