This article was republished with permission from Fitness Republic.
Long runs on the treadmill got you down? Can you think of five things you’d rather do than go for a run? But you do know that you should do cardio. If you somehow missed out on learning the benefits, know that the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition says you (adults between the ages of 18 to 64) should be getting 30 minutes of aerobic activity every, single day. It’s good for your heart, your waistline, and so much more. So don’t fret. We’ll get you motivated by making cardio more fun! Here’s how:
1. There’s an App for That
Interject a playful distraction to your treadmill seshes. Techdrive.com says that apps can beat cardio boredom. Check out BeatBurn, which analyzes which songs are better matched to your workout. That means it will create and adjust a playlist to your pace based on beats per minute. And then there’s Zombies, Run!, a game that will have you run away for dear life from Zombies. Both are very cool.
2. Treat Yo’self
When you were a kid, maybe your parents would barter treats in exchange for good behaivour. There’s no reason this should end as an adult, right? Coachcalorie.com says you’ll appreciate a prize at the end of the finish line. Make a goal (run for a certain distance, or for a certain amount of time) and reward yourself. But just make sure it’s not junk food related – you’ll ruin your healthy efforts.
3. Go Shopping!
Unlike treating yourself, this is more about prepping yourself. Fitnessmagazine.com recommends investing in workout clothes, and not using a lack of a fitness wardrobe as an excuse not to workout. (Who hasn’t said, I have nothing to wear?) And never underestimate the power of cute clothes as a motivator. It helps you create your identity as someone who workouts out, say the experts. But there’s no reason to blow an entire paycheck on pieces, so just make sure you build a wardrobe that easily mixes and matches pieces.
4. Break It Up
One of the main reasons people dislike cardio is because of its long and tedious pace, but the trendy way to sneak in your cardio is by varying the intensity and breaking up the workout into intervals. For example, 40 seconds at a high intensity and 20 seconds at an easier pace to catch your breath. Fitknitchick.com says this will not only make cardio much more tolerable, but it will also make your workout seem short and you’ll burn more calories.
5. Break It Up Even More!
So, you know that a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio daily is a must. But it doesn’t all have to be done at once! According fitnessmagazine.com, research says you can get the healthy benefits even by splitting up that 30 minutes into two or three workouts in the same day. When overweight women dropped similar amounts of body weight when they did 30-minute, two 15-minute or three 10-minute workouts.
6. Get Inspired
Sometimes you just need to be reminded why cardio is so important and that it is really self-serving (in a good way) to keep on it. So check out Pinterest for some motivation. We loved the #fitspo images of athletic bodies, as well as the inspirational quotes. This was a fave: “I plan on having such an awesome run, Morgan Freeman should narrate it.” And there are the anatomy pins, that show the body bonuses from running, including mental health, lower high blood pressure, stronger immune system, bones and muscles, better joint stability, and higher confidence.
7. What would Beyoncé Do?
You know that Queen Bey wouldn’t let life pass her by; she’d dance. So swap a running session for a Drunk In Love par-tay! Thighgaphack.com looks to the singer’s songs to bring dance cardio workouts to a whole new level – specifically working the body parts that Beyoncé is known for, including abs, oblique’s and legs.
8. Go Ahead and Jump
Remember how much fun running around the park was when you were young? Find that youthful approach to cardio with Parkour, says shape.com. A.K.A. free running, this form of cardio will have you jumping and climbing over obstacles that get in the way of your run. Bench? No problem. Fire hydrant? Bring it. In some areas classes are offered (just Google it to see if its in your hood), or you can take over the park without embarrassment.
9. Get Competitive!
Get a workout buddy, join a team or take a class. At the very least be competitive with yourself. Mensfitness.com says that this edge will give you focus and push you further in your workouts. It recommends social media, like Fitocracy, iMapMyFitness, and Gym Buddy, to track your training sessions, not only so you can see your results, but you can also compare them to others on the apps.
10. Sometimes You Just Have to Psych Yourself
Hate cardio? Get over it. Well, we shouldn’t be that harsh, but you really have to stop thinking of it as a punishment. Shape.com says to stop thinking like you did as a kid that you’re not an athlete, you’re not fit, or your body wasn’t made to be active. It was and you are. Most of the time when cardio seems like more of a task than a fun activity, it’s a mental stumble. Just grab your shoes and run. You’ll feel better for it.