Poll: How Did You Learn to Love Cardio?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/21/2012 4:00 PM   :  48 comments   :  11,922 Views

When I first set out to lose weight, I didn't know much about exercise. I had spent most of my teen years and early 20s finding ways to avoid exercise, instead choosing to control my weight by restricting calories and other, unhealthy methods. I thought sweating was gross, running made my lungs burn, and I didn't like sports.

So I walked. At first just the two miles home from work, then to work, then longer routes… it felt good to move, then time outside allowed me to clear my mind, and the weight did start to come off. Eventually I joined a gym and started integrating different cardio into my workouts, usually the elliptical. Cardio back then was just something I did to burn calories, not something I particularly enjoyed.

It wasn't until I joined SparkPeople as a member and an employee that I found my two primary forms of cardio: running and Spinning. I love challenging myself in a tough Spinning class, adding resistance until my legs burn and pushing myself to complete the sprints, jumps, and other killer moves. (That Coach Nicole is one tough Spinning teacher! She loves jumps on the bike!) And running gives me time to think, or not think. It's a moving meditation for me, and it allows me to shed stress while getting a great workout.

When we start on the path to healthy living, exercise can feel like a chore. The trick, I think, is finding something you love. Now cardio is something I eagerly anticipate. It's like adult playtime!

How about you? How did you find something you like? Did exercise become easier after finding an activity/activities that you love? Which activities do you like most?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints

NEXT ENTRY >   20 Simple Ways to Clear Home Clutter

Great Stories from around the Web


  • 48
    I started loving cardio once I noticed how AWFUL I felt on days I missed a workout. I get sluggish, achey, grumpy... Since it's winter, I've found a few machines I love at the gym. A machine called an ArchTrainer (kinda like a ski machine), and also the rowing machine. The calories burned can't be beat, and doing both machines give me a good overall burn. I turn on the music and tune out for an hour. I feel better physically AND mentally. Now that I've become more active, I can't wait for summer!! I always loved hiking and kayaking. Now I want to challenge myself with trail running (with my dog - she's excited too!) and more challenging kayaking. - 3/10/2014   3:33:59 PM
    doing zumba ..that was the first time I found out that I like exercise - 1/12/2014   8:10:44 AM
  • 46
    I've always prefered cardio over strength training. My favorites have always been swimming or taking kickboxing classes. However, I recently decided to learn to love running since it seemed like that was the easiest form of exercise to get (you don't need a pool or gym membership). After several months of hard work and determination, I now look forward to most of my runs and feel accomplished each time I set a new time or distance record. - 9/16/2012   12:45:27 AM
    For me it was setting goals and reaching them. Ive always hated running but then I also learned that there are more ways to get cardo into a workout. But since running was the reason why I hated cardio I taught my self to love it. Now I look forward to runs, not everyday, but once I get that "runners high" its great! - 9/6/2012   7:59:00 PM
    I don't like exercise except swimming which I don't get to do as much as I like. but I do like how regular exercise makes me feel so I do it for the health benefits. - 8/30/2012   4:17:36 PM
    I am the odd man out - I still hate, loathe, and despise exercise. I have done it at various times in my life, but I always hated it. Now I have severe arthritis, so running isn't possible. I do still walk, not at a fast pace, again because of the arthritis, but at least I enjoy that enough to do it. - 8/29/2012   12:37:32 AM
    I am the odd man out - I still hate, loathe, and despise exercise. I have done it at various times in my life, but I always hated it. Now I have severe arthritis, so running isn't possible. I do still walk, not at a fast pace, again because of the arthritis, but at least I enjoy that enough to do it. - 8/29/2012   12:36:56 AM
    I discovered Zumba 11 months ago and love it. I have lost 66lbs. I have tried the gym and frankly got bored. But I love to dance. so today I am going to try Salsa. - 8/28/2012   3:53:54 AM
    I got a West Highland White Terrier puppy! He was so full of energy I had to walk him a lot just to keep him happy. He needed about 3 miles a day no matter what the weather! That was in 1984 and I still go out everyday with the Whippets. It's so much fun it dosen't feel like work at all. - 8/26/2012   10:49:40 AM
  • 39
    Now that I know how to swim I love swimming but I wouldn't want to do it every day. I first got hooked on cardio by doing step classes in my college gym. Then I fell in love with cardio kickboxing-I have Turbo Fire and love the challenge and the steps and moving my body to music. I am starting like running-right now I more of a slow jogger but I am going to change that soon! - 8/24/2012   1:02:14 PM
  • 38
    I love Curves cicuit training and Zumba. Love dancing! - 8/24/2012   11:30:45 AM
  • 37
    Love Spinning too! But I'll leave running to others...just have never gotten into that groove as yet. Cycling, walking ./ Nordic walking and elliptical are my other preferred cardio outlets. ALSO I find if I do my strength training at a good clip with little / no rests I work up a good sweat too which I'm sure means there is cardio benefit along with strength benefit.

    Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals, Binghamton Area Losers and Laid Off But Staying Strong SparkTeams - 8/24/2012   8:39:03 AM
  • 36
    I heard about this idea so I pushed my bike into the living room! Now I watch my favorite TV shows while riding my recumbent bike. I remember doing this years ago at the health club. They had TV's with closed caption in front of the cardio machines. Why didn't I remember this sooner? (sigh) - 8/23/2012   8:15:26 PM
  • 35
    I love the pool, and bike riding. I have learned to walk on all of the trails around our house. I go with my husband and my dog. I feel so good, after, I do these things. They all feel like play, to me. - 8/23/2012   7:52:12 PM
  • 34
    I'm lucky in that I've always enjoyed sports, so learning to love cardio came natural to me. In recent years, I'm trying to incorporate lots of variety into my weekly workouts, including treadmill, stationary bike, bicycling, elliptical, tennis and yoga. My FAVORITE thing in the world, however, is to combine cardio with nature. I LOVE to hike! I also load my bike up and take it to nature trails. - 8/23/2012   5:02:49 PM
  • 33
    The question is how. When I was military I had to do PT every morning at 4:00 AM. - 8/23/2012   2:48:05 AM
  • 32
    Walking was always my mainstay as its the way I get around not being able to drive. I have always loved cardio, first started with water aerobics and then when I qualified for a free liesure card for my city's fitness facilities discovered a whole new world of fitness classes and fun, from Boxercise to Zumba!! - 8/23/2012   1:48:06 AM
  • 31
    Initially, I hated it! Now I absolutely can't see not doing "something". I have found many activities I enjoy and like to challenge myself. A few are water aerobics, dancing, I am a wii fit junkie, I like a walk. I have been given some nordic walking poles I am anxious to try. I am not very strong, so I stick to the basics. - 8/22/2012   11:21:32 PM
  • 30
    Love those water aerobics! Especially good for us seniors, but surely good for everyone!
    I don't watch TV as a rule, but will watch a couple of game shows while riding recumbent bike.
    I walk as a sense of duty and do enjoy it when on paved roads, not gravel like the one where we live in the summer. - 8/22/2012   9:09:49 PM
  • 29
    I've always liked walking, but couldn't get into running, no matter how many times I started C25K. Now that I'm doing intervals at my own pace, I'm actually running more, and enjoying it more. - 8/22/2012   8:02:24 PM
  • 28
    Exercise is my reward for the day. I usually schedule it to fall at the end of the day in the late afternoon. The early part of the day is usually for "mind" work and mundane things that have to be accomplished. Exercise is the release for the day--where I don't have to "think".....just "do". I used to love running and high impact step in my younger days, but now my two favorite forms of cardio are spinning class and elliptical or arc trainer. Spinning is great because of the music and the teacher telling you what to do -- oh yeah -- add more resistance! Match the beat! I do the elliptical or arc on days when a spinning class is not available but I still need the motivating music on my ipod. - 8/22/2012   7:04:48 PM
  • 27
    I enjoy the elliptical the most! My workout is not complete without it. - 8/22/2012   3:45:59 PM
  • 26
    I have been dying to try a spinning class. I think I would really enjoy it. I plan on going this Sunday! - 8/22/2012   2:19:15 PM
  • 25
    I would swim daily if I had a pool, since I love the water. - 8/22/2012   2:00:13 PM
  • 24
    I started out with running, but I really had to push myself to go for a run. Then I discovered that I could walk briskly almost as fast as I could run and I enjoyed it a whole lot more. - 8/22/2012   12:53:47 PM
  • 23
    I found dancing to be my cardio of choice. If I can just move along with music and not feel like I am stuck doing the same ol' calisthenics then the work out goes by much faster as is more fun for me. - 8/22/2012   12:05:41 PM
    Before kids, my husband and I loved long brisk bike rides. I loved being outside and watching the world go by. We even did some club century rides. Now I try to carve out time on the stationary trainer while watching Netflix instant video reruns of "Lost" along with an occasional trip to the greenway with the kiddos. - 8/22/2012   11:56:13 AM
  • 21
    I love to walk but haven't found anything else yet that I love. - 8/22/2012   10:46:32 AM
    I'm still looking. - 8/22/2012   10:02:49 AM
  • 19
    yeah! exercise has changed my life. - 8/22/2012   8:49:58 AM
  • 18
    I became addicted to the stress relief of exercise in college and have been exercising pretty consistently for the last 30 years as a result. Unfortunately, I'm still fat! - 8/22/2012   7:56:03 AM
    I was very luck to have a wise mom : ) I was 13 when she signed us both up for our first gym mememership, this was in 1972 and I have been hooked tp excercise ever since. Back then it was all cardio for women and then came cardio dancing : ) I have learn so much more with SP :D - 8/22/2012   7:31:48 AM
  • 16
    When I couldn't afford to keep my car I learned that I love walking. But my favourite is salsa dancing. - 8/22/2012   7:24:00 AM
  • 15
    Found my way to exercise via walking, then aerobics, then SP videos. Now I'm totally into Jillian Michaels' dvds. LOVE circuit training (used to hate weights), cardio dvds, elliptical, and walking. Can't live w/o exercise now...largely in part to SP! - 8/22/2012   7:06:12 AM
  • 14
    One year ago today I flatlined in recovery after a simple outpatient procedure. After 4 EKGs, a multitude of blood tests, and an echocardiogram, the cardiologist told me that the cardiac arrest was "chemical"...just the right cocktail of hormones and meds to make my heart say "Okay, I quit"...however, competent RNs and CPR still has me here, and the doc said my heart is as fit as an athlete's. Thanks to Chalene Johnson, TurboFire and the HIIT workouts :) - 8/22/2012   6:12:06 AM
  • 13
    I was the one who never got picked for team sports. There was a high school class called "Body Mechanics", Jack LaLanne was an early inspiration for yoga - as a child that is how I learned forward folds and the shoulder stand series. I still do the long walks that were part of getting from here to there with public transit; when water aerobics is available, I love it, too. Favorite solo cardio is rails-to-trails cycling. Favorite outside cardio is group walking - Volksmarch. - 8/22/2012   4:00:32 AM
    A few years ago I decided to work towards completing a half marathon. I had never been a big fan of running and if someone had said I would be one five years ago I would've said they were crazy! I guess the idea started forming in my mind when I was in orientation leader training at the university I went to for undergrad. Someone came in and talked to us about goals and bucket lists. She completed a marathon and basically said we could do anything we set our minds to. When I decided to do a half-marathon I wanted to raise funds for a good cause. So I joined Team in Training and after months of 5 a.m. practice in the heat of a Phoenix summer, I completed the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I have since completed 2 more half-marathons and a number of 5 and 10K events. Currently I am training for another half in October.

    While training for the first half I heard about a bootcamp from a friend and thought I would check it out. Needless to say I LOVED it and was instantly hooked! Took a break after two 4-week sessions in a row and recently started another bootcamp. Now it is the perfect way for me to release stress from my career as a first-year teacher! Other activities I enjoy are Zumba, the elliptical, and Wii Fit! - 8/22/2012   1:09:00 AM
  • 11
    walking/jogging for me As long as it's outside. Hate the dreadmill!! - 8/22/2012   12:37:36 AM
  • 10
    Trail running! I now refuse to use the treadmill or most road running (except races). I love running through the forest, and we have a lot of great forest trails in Portland. I love exploring new trails, and the smell and sound of the water, trees and birds. - 8/21/2012   11:43:46 PM
    I've never been a big fan of cardio, preferring weight training to the heart-pumping stuff. I find I can stay on a cardio machine only if I can read a good book. But since I started Zumba in January, I look forward to some booty-shaking cardio (Just Dance on the Wii works for me too). Also I recently started running and have found the right tunes help a bunch. Knowing how much a run diffuses my stress and ignites my creativity (I'm an artist) really inspires me to get running, too. - 8/21/2012   7:04:15 PM
  • 8
    I love water aerobics and pool exercise classes! For those of you who think these are easy, you should have been in my class today! We got our tushes kicked! It was fun, full of laughter, and lots of continuous hard work! I also like the elliptical. Working my way up on this. I started at 5 minutes, and thought I was going to die! I'm up to 15, so I still have a long way to go, but I'm doing it! - 8/21/2012   7:02:18 PM
    I fell in love with cardio all over again after I started Zumba in October of last year!!! So much so that I became licensed to teach it :) - 8/21/2012   6:03:24 PM
    I found the recumbent (stationary) bicycle! So worth the money! I went from couch potato to riding every day. As Sparkguy says, do 10 minutes, so I did and do, at least. - 8/21/2012   6:02:32 PM
    I love cardio! If I don't do it, I feel awful. And I do it everyday, unless I have a fever! - 8/21/2012   5:13:03 PM
  • 4
    I guess my faves would be an hour on the treadmill at the gym or using a stationary bike. If it's just for fun and not actually counted as a workout, I love to take my dog for a walk. Sometimes I don't even count everything I do for cardio, cuz sometimes I just enjoy it and feeling better is my reward. - 8/21/2012   5:01:31 PM
  • 3
    When I started my weight loss journey I did cardio because that's just what you have to do. I hated it. But then I had the courage to finally try zumba, And it was love at first crump!!! Zumba combines fitness with something I love...dancing. It was difficult at first but with each class it gets easier. I even find myself wanting to workout on my non zumba days so that I will do better in my next zumba class. If you haven't found something you love to do for a workout I encourage you to keep trying. things until you do find something. Think of something you already like and see if you can use it as a workout. There is something out there for everyone. If you love your workout it takes the work out of it...and then it's just a lot of fun!! - 8/21/2012   4:36:18 PM
  • 2
    Honestly, it was anger that drove me. I could get pissed at myself for what I let myself become, and use that drive to push myself past that evil 2nd mile. Heavy metal on the iPod really helped with this. Then as I lost weight, I could be happy with the results, but still finding a similar drive to keep me going on runs. Now I'm so much lighter, running is easy. 6 miles is a nice, easy Saturday run that I just do becuase its part of my weekly routine. I even have the motivation to get up twice a week before work and run 3 miles to kill some calories. I enjoy running as much as lifting now which is awesome. - 8/21/2012   4:27:59 PM
  • 1
    What I like is always changing up my routine. When I was younger it was bike riding and basketball. Then as I got older I joined the swim team. Then for a while it was body step. Now my favorite cardio is running and bodycombat. I like how you put it, it kind of is like play time for me. I really do enjoy doing cardio. - 8/21/2012   4:16:16 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›

Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by March 12! Get a FREE Personalized Plan