If you thought that cardio had to be boring, exhausting or an elaborate form of torture, think again. You don't have to slog through a long run or sweat it out on a machine at your gym to get in a good workout; in fact, the more variety and fun you can bring to the process, the more likely you are to stick to it. Try a few different fitness options to bring some fun into your cardio routine.
Dance Your Booty Off
It started with Jazzercise back in the '70s -- but dance fitness classes go way beyond that. Check out Zumba, the Latin dance-inspired class that involves lots of booty shakin' and steps that include samba, salsa, cumbia, dancehall and Indian and African dancing. Not only is it fun, but the average person can burn hundreds of calories per hour, according to the Zumba website. If you're looking to learn a specific style of dance, don't overlook the dance studios in your area, which might offer tango, ballet, salsa or other fun classes geared toward beginner adults.
Old School Skating
Rollerblading might have been a fad that peaked in the '90s, but it's not totally out of the question these days, either. Rollerblading is a rigorous cardio workout, helping a 155-pound person to burn roughly 510 calories per hour, according to Harvard Medical School. Pick up a used pair of blades, discarded from someone else's fitness dream of the '90s, for next to nothing at a used sporting goods or thrift store. Skating rinks, another relic from days gone by, will also rent you a pair of blades -- or a pair of quad skates -- so you can try out this fun form of fitness in an indoor rink before trying it outdoors.
Play in the Snow
Cold weather outdoors doesn't have to mean you're stuck inside the house with your treadmill. Get outside for some fresh air and try out any number of winter sports, all of which pack a big punch in terms of calorie burn. A 155-pound person will burn roughly 446 calories per hour downhill skiing, 596 calories per hour snowshoeing or Nordic skiing, or 510 calories per hour sledding. What better way to get in a valuable cardio workout than careening down a hill on a sled, as you did when you were a kid?
A Little Competition
Those ball fields and sporting facilities at your local parks are not limited to the kids' sports teams -- and they can be a great resource for a pickup game of your favorite sport. Get a soccer ball and engage in a pickup game with a few friends; that will burn roughly 510 calories per hour for a 155-pound person. Sand volleyball, another sport that requires only the inexpensive investment of a ball, will burn about 594 calories for that same person. When your party is of a more limited size, try throwing and catching a Frisbee, which will burn about 224 calories per hour.