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By: Lisa Payne

Dragging yourself to the treadmill for a cardio workout can feel like a workout in itself. Not everyone looks forward to silencing their alarm for good and jumping out of bed to squeeze in a tough workout first thing in the morning. It's hard and the struggle to feel stronger and stay lean is real. 

So instead of experiencing the pre-cardio sulk, try these 5 heart-pumping workouts that don't feel like the cardio you dread but still supplies you with the health benefits your body needs to feel its best.

Dance Class

Sometimes the key to staying in shape is finding workouts that help you stay mindfully present. Dance classes are often built for amateurs, experts, and everyone in between. Dance instructors break down the choreography step by step like a puzzle. By the end of the class, you’ve successfully completed your cardio for the day and most likely had fun doing it.

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Walking

The easiest thing about walking as cardio is that you can do it anytime, anywhere  and it’s free. Try deciding on an end destination for yourself so the focus of your walk isn’t feeling like it's work. Walk to the grocery store, a friend’s house, or even the gym. Incentive is everything.

Beach Volleyball

Joining friends in a game of beach volleyball or participating in a weekly league can turn that healthy cardio workout into a social event. Plus, hitting the ball up and over the net will give your upper body and core a workout.

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Jump Rope

Did you know that in just 10 minutes you can burn 100 calories jumping rope? Make it fun by changing up the moves. Try skiing or jumping in place, front to back. Take it up a notch by going front, side, back, side. And if your foot hits the rope, keep going!

Stair Intervals

There’s more to stairs than going up and coming down. If your staircase has more than 15 stairs, try walking or running up 5, down 5, up 10, down 10, etc. If your staircase has less than 15 stairs, stay motivated by making a number goal of how many times you can go up and down. Before you know it, your cardio will be done.

Cardio doesn’t have to mean logging hours on end on the treadmill. Staying lean, strong, and excited to do cardio just requires a little creativity and workouts like these to keep your motivation up. How do you shake up your cardio?