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I hate running! What else is a good cardio workout?

The question: I hate to say it, but I really hate running. I know it is a great workout, but are there other great cardio workouts that I can do in 40 minutes that are as just as good a workout?

The answer: I think it is fantastic that you are seeking alternatives to running instead of using your hatred of running as an excuse not to exercise. Running may be a good workout, but if you hate it the benefits are somewhat irrelevant. Your distaste for the activity makes it more likely you will skip the workout. So, you would not reap the benefits anyway.

Try the interval workouts below. Both workouts can be done on any cardio machine, outside on a bike or even in a pool. Pick machines you enjoy (or at least don't hate). Choosing activities that you enjoy will help ensure you don't skip the workout. Try to alternate the machines you use. The variety will keep you from getting bored. Aside from the treadmill – which you probably loathe!  –  I personally like the rowing machine. It provides a great full-body workout and makes me feel athletic (whereas the elliptical makes me feel like a hamster in a cage).

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Version 1

  • Warm-up for 10 minutes at an easy to moderate intensity.
  • 20 sets of 15 seconds of hard work followed by 45 seconds of moderate work.
  • Cool down with 10 minutes at a moderate intensity.

Version 2

  • 5 minutes warm-up. 1 minute hard work. 1 minute moderate work. 2 minutes hard work. 2 minutes moderate work. 3 minutes hard work. 3 minutes moderate work. 4 minutes hard work. 4 minutes moderate work. 5 minutes hard work. 5 minutes moderate work. 5 minutes cool down at an easy intensity.

Trainer's Tip: I suggest you try jogging again in a few months. One's exercise tastes can change. Sometimes we dislike activities we are not good at. Ten years ago I despised running, and now it just may be my favourite activity. Once you're fitter, you might enjoy the intensity jogging provides.

I am also a triathlete, and traditionally cycling has been my weakest of the three sports. I didn't enjoy it, and because of that, I never really focused on cycling, and never really got any better. Last year I was unable to run due to an injury, so I prioritized cycling. After two months of solid cycling, I was better at it. Now that I am a better cyclist, I enjoy it more. You may still hate running, but it is worth a try.

Kathleen Trotter has been a personal trainer and Pilates equipment specialist for 10 years. Her website is www.kathleentrotter.com.

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