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Alternative Forms of Cardio for People Who Hate Running

Cardio should be an important part of your weekly routine; it helps with weight loss, reduction of stress, temporary relief from depression and anxiety, improvement of heart health, an increase of energy, and even your sleep schedule. But even though you know cardio is great for you, running can get pretty monotonous (shout out to all the runners out there). Have no fear! There are plenty of fun ways to get in a healthy dose of cardio that don’t include running, so next time you’re looking to get that heart rate up, try out one of these:


It’s just as beneficial as running, but way more fun! Dancing is a great way to relieve stress and you can play whatever music you want while moving anyway you see fit. If you dance for cardio, you can either go to a class with friends at Strom or Blatt, or just dance in your apartment by yourself. Either way you’re moving, pumping your blood and burning those calories!

Intramural Sports

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to be on a sports team. There are tons of intramural teams at USC, all ranging in competitiveness. Join an intramural team and make it a friendly competition. There are so many options and they’re so fun, you’ll question why you didn’t sign up earlier!


Boxing is one of the newest trends in exercise, and it’s a great way to get in some killer cardio. Elise, a senior at the University of South Carolina, says, “I’ve never really ran or joined anything before I joined Title [boxing]. It is really fun and the trainers are very encouraging. It’s a well-rounded workout because each class is something different since the trainers all have their own style.” There are tons of different boxing places to try around Columbia, from Title to 9Round. University of South Carolina graduate, Kendra says, “I like going to 9Round because they are fun and interactive. They make me actually want to work out because it’s not as boring and mundane as doing something like running.” Boxing can even help you learn some real world skills, like self-defense. What a win-win, you get your cardio in while kicking a** and taking names!


Swimming is a great alternative to running. Not only is it low-impact on your joints to prepare you and your body for the future, but it’s also especially great for those who experience running injuries, like shin splints. “Compared to other sports, you’re less prone to injuries while working all the muscles in your body,” says Makenzie, a University of South Carolina senior. If you’re not a super confident swimmer, a kick board is always a good place to start (Bonus: it gives your abs an intense workout!).


If you love nature, the fresh air and walking, then hiking is for you. Adventure is just around the corner when you head out for a hike. You can travel to the top of the mountain and see the most amazing views, which is such a great achievement after raising your heart rate and getting in your cardio for the day.


Cycling is great because you can either go on a trail, a road, or even a stationary bike. Classes are also perfect for any collegiette who could use a little extra motivation. Because the instructors push you and guide you throughout the workout, you’ll always leave feeling like you got in a killer sesh. Check out the Strom schedule for classes.

As long as you’re out there moving, you’re putting in work and that’s the best that you can do! Live while you’re young and take care of your body in the most fun ways possible. Let us know what your favorite type of cardio is is the comments section!

Cooper Crews

South Carolina

Cooper is a senior at the University of South Carolina studying public relations. Some of her favorite things are Harry Potter, adrenaline filled adventures, being outdoors, loving on her rescue pup Charlie and binge watching Netflix. After graduation, she hopes to travel the world and find her dream job in public relations. 
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