Cardio for People that Hate CardioLadies, to burn fat and keep your heart healthy, you need to do cardio. I don’t care if you hate it, you need it, so let’s learn to love it. It absolutely sucks when you’re out of shape and you feel like you can’t breathe and you’re super hot, but what if I told you those feelings disappear faster than you think? I was there too. Dreading that burning in my chest and that feeling of overheating. I hated to sweat. Cardio literally made me feel like I was dying. So I avoided it, until I realized that I couldn’t. Would you believe that a bulk of my weight came off just from walking and eventually hiking? Cardio doesn’t mean running at 8mph. You just need to raise your heart rate and when you’re body isn’t used to movement of any kind, it’s easy to accomplish.

Walking is a great way to get your heart rate up without impact. Use some sort of tracking app so you can track your speed and mileage. Typically, I aim for a 15-minute mile on flat terrain. Start flat. Let your body get used to moving. It’s hard to over do it with walking which is why it’s been my #1 advice for others who are trying to get in shape. If you’re really a beginner and need to ease into it, start with walking 15 minutes a day and then increase your time. Don’t worry about how far you’ve gone, just walk. Eventually, integrate hills into your route. Hills will elevate your heart rate more and will make you faster on flat ground. You’ll be surprised how quickly your body starts to adapt and change just from following these steps. If you can turn it into jogging or running, great! But, it’s not necessary to get a good cardio workout, plus, nature is good for the soul. It’s a win-win.

Another cardio workout that never seemed to make me feel like death was near, is dancing. Even in my husky teen year, I took dance and when I went to college I took a semester of dance and I was a cheerleader. Shaking your tush gets the heart rate up and I don’t know many people that don’t like to dance. If you don’t have stage fright, find a group that does Zumba or any other danced based workout. I definitely think the ‘fun’ factor takes your mind off the fact that you’re working out. Dance is a great way to condition your brain into thinking that working out is fun and from there, you can build your exercise routine. If you don’t want to be around a group of people, close the shades in your living room, pop in a DVD and shake what your mama gave you in the privacy of your home. Hip Hop Abs is one of my favorite “I don’t feel like working out” DVDs.

You have so many options when it comes to fitness, but don’t let your hatred of cardio stop you. Find that niche that helps you get cardio in without making you dread it, or even worse, just simply not do it. Like I said, you need it.