If you need a change from your usual gym-centric exercise every week, revive your fitness enthusiasm by exercising close to home. You can get some of the most effective — and fun — cardio workouts right in your own neighborhood.
Cardio workouts in the city
Lace up your running shoes and join fellow runners and walkers in your local city parks. In addition to running paths, some parks also have callisthenic stations set up along the way. Contact the local cycling club and, whether you join or not, ask them where they ride to find out the best (and safest) biking routes.
Another way to get in some quick cardio is to take public transportation, get out a few stops early, and power walk to your destination. When you have a choice between elevators and stairs, take the stairs, two at a time, when possible, to boost your cardio fitness and tone your lower body.
In the city, the people-watching alone will keep your outdoor fitness treks interesting and make your quick workouts go by even more quickly.
Read more: Using your city to get fit >>
Cardio workouts in the suburbs
With lots less traffic than the city, the ‘burbs are ideal for running, walking, biking and rollerblading. Recruit a friend or neighbor to take a power stroll to start your day or break up your afternoon and ditch your car for your bike when running errands. If there is a football stadium nearby, hit the bleachers and the track to do a mixed cardio workout. Check the local listings for boot-camp classes in your neighborhood and drop in a day or two a week.
Read more: Ways to motivate yourself to get fit >>
Cardio workouts in the country
Rural locales lend themselves to seemingly endless country roads and small town streets for walking, running or biking. Best yet, rural areas are brimming with hiking trails, open fields and, for winter workouts, ski and snowshoe trails. Even your own backyard can become a prime fitness location to do a circuit workout that includes calisthenics, running steps, jump-roping, pull-ups on a tree branch and push-ups or dips on a bench.
There’s no reason to feel trapped by your gym membership. Simply look out your front door for fun, fresh-air cardio opportunities.
Read more: Winter workout essentials >>
Watch: How to exercise with a playground swing
Swing set fitness is a form of resistance training that is perfect for weight loss or strength training. Watch this video for examples of swing set exercises for the legs, chest, shoulders, arms, butt, core and other muscles.