Hate the gym? Try these cardio exercises instead

Everyone knows that cardio exercises are a great form of workout and are beneficial if you want to burn calories. However, for many, running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike are far from enticing forms of exercise and so cardio falls by the wayside.

This can have a big impact on your exercise regime and your health, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Luckily, cardio doesn’t need to be confined to the gym, as there are a lot of different options that could be more inviting.

So while you may need to stick with the gym for your strength training, here are a few cardio exercises that help you enjoy the great outdoors and still see fab results:


Whether you do it in the sea, a lake or a pool, swimming is a great cardio exercise that is also low impact. Swimming helps to build muscle, burn fat and improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, meaning you’ve got plenty of reasons to get in the water.

One of the best things about swimming is that it delivers all of these results without putting too much pressure on your joints and while helping your muscles to relax. You can either swim laps, do interval sessions where you change the type of stroke you do and the speed you swim at or enjoy other water-based exercise like aerobics.


If you aren’t a fan of the treadmill but enjoy taking walks, why not try switching gym-based cardio for regular hikes? This is a great way to enjoy being outdoors while also burning calories, especially as you can switch things up by taking different routes.

Build up your endurance with simple treks and then increase the distance and difficulty of terrain to keep your workouts challenging as you go on. You may even want to include some hill sprinting to increase your heart rate and get your muscles burning.


Sitting on a rowing machine is very different from being out on the water. Canoeing or kayaking are great forms of exercise, burning fat and improving back and upper body strength.

As well as enjoying the calm of the water, rowing can be a fun exercise, especially if you do it with other people. You can either just head out to explore the area or create challenges to push yourself. Just be sure you have all the correct safety equipment if you’re going to try this one.


Hitting the road or trail on your bike is more exhilarating than doing a spin class. It is a great way to explore somewhere new, get from A to B without driving or dealing with public transport and can allow you to make the most of the good weather.

On top of this, cycling is a great cardio workout, especially if you start distance cycling and will help to burn calories and tone up, as well as improve leg strength. It’s also a good activity for the whole family, so you can still fit your workout in while having fun.


An hour of tennis can help you burn between 400 and 600 calories, which is a serious workout. While you need to play pretty hard to see the most benefits, even getting to grips with your racket and working your way up to fast play is beneficial.

As tennis is also played against another person or in doubles, it means you can play with others and make your exercise sessions more fun. If tennis isn’t quite for you, there is also badminton and squash to try.

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