Fitness Articles

Are You in a Cardio Rut? Break Free!

6 Easy Ways to Bust Boredom

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Are you bored with your cardio workout? Do you yawn when thinking of getting on the stationary bike again? Are you already dreading the stair stepper workout that you have scheduled for tomorrow morning? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you're quite likely in a rut, and when you're in a rut, it's easy to fall off the fitness wagon because motivation and excitement are G-O-N-E.

So how do you get your aerobic mojo back? You shake things up! You try new activities and refocus your workouts so that they're more exciting and motivating than ever. We all know how important cardiovascular exercise is for health and weight loss (plus it just makes you feel good), so read on for six surefire ways to break out of the cardio rut now and forever!

Change Your Sound of Music
New tunes: Investing in a couple of new CDs or MP3s is an easy way to bust out of your cardio rut and get you happily moving. When you have your headphones on, no one else knows what tunes you're playing (unless you're listening too loudly, in which case turn it down some so that you don't harm your hearing!), so play whatever you want! Guilty pleasure songs (think Britney Spears, Journey or Kenny G) work great here, but, really, go with any songs that get you going and make you feel good. Studies have shown that music is motivating, but if you're bored at the gym, it may be time to shake that playlist up! For ideas, read Coach Nicole's music blogs at for ideas.


No tunes: If new music isn't doing it for you, try doing your workout sans tunes. Especially when walking or running outside, listening to your own breathing and the sounds and sights around you can be an incredibly meditative experience that can turn your cardio from boring to darn near spiritual. And if quiet isn't your thing, try downloading a podcast or an audio book. You can get through your to-read list and get in shape. Now that's multitasking.
Change Your Equipment
Try a new piece of equipment: If you and the stair stepper are in a serious relationship, but you're bored out of your gourd, it may be time to see other machines. Date around some. Check out the treadmill, recumbent bike or elliptical you've had your eyes on. All of the different pieces of cardio equipment help train the most important muscle of your body—your heart—but they each do it in a slightly different way. To check them all out yet not get too bored, do 10 minutes on each type of cardio equipment that your health club offers. If you're working out at home, jump off your machine after a few minutes and do some jumping jacks or lunges to mix things up.


Try a new brand of equipment: You may think that all ellipticals and stationary bikes are the same, but different brands do have different feels and features. If your health club offers varieties of equipment, trade your normal treadmill for another one and discover what new programs and features you've been missing. You just might find a new love (or, even better, a new challenge). Continued ›
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About The Author

Jennipher Walters Jennipher Walters
Jenn is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites, and A certified personal trainer, health coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and is the author of The Fit Bottomed Girls Anti-Diet book (Random House, 2014).

See all of Jenn's articles.

Member Comments

    I can't afford new exercise equipment or a gym, I got a exercise bike I try to get on 3 times a week. - 2/10/2016 8:43:22 PM
  • I must get up to Health Point and see what Silver Sneakers will get me involved in

    ! - 2/5/2016 10:38:01 PM
    Try taking a week off, and treat yourself to doing something else, not exercising. Then you can return with some gusto!! - 5/14/2015 7:35:21 AM
  • It's very true about changing equipment. At the gym where I go, there are 3 different brands of elliptical machines. Each one of them has a different range of motion, and different programming. I can only use one of them, because another one hurts my hip, and the 3rd one doesn't have the range of motion of the first one.

    There are also several types of weight machines and treadmills. Some of the treadmills have inclines, some don't. Some have a long platform, and a couple have a shorter platform.

    So, it's worth trying out different types of equipment if one doesn't feel right. - 4/27/2015 9:11:01 PM
  • JNJ300
    I've always been into bicycling - road trips of 20 to 60 miles. Lately I've become a little bored with this, so I got back into hiking and am having a great time exploring new parks and trails. 5 hours hiking a new trail goes by a lot quicker than 2 hours or road riding on my bike. I still ride the bike, but adding some hiking in has really helped to keep things interesting and fun. - 10/30/2014 9:10:42 AM
  • good ideas! - 8/8/2014 5:25:10 AM
  • I have a herniated disk in my lower back and arthritis has set in. The herniated disk causes problems with my hips and knees. My cardio workout is limited on what my back can handle. The elliptical is the #1 equipment I can do but after 2 years of it I'm getting so bored with it even using the different workout programs on it. I walk and have tried running on the treadmill using various programs but after a week or 2 because of the herniated disk, my hips, knees, and feet hurt. I even do warmup stretches before and after and they don't seem to help. I have tried a couple of classes and with the fast pace moves, my back goes out. I'm in a rut and so bored with the elliptical I'm finding myself losing motivation. Any ideas? - 4/2/2014 10:08:46 AM
  • I love to change my workout. It's so much better and fun. You get to really keep going at it. It keep you pushing for that goal. - 8/5/2013 9:45:19 AM
  • I thoroughly agree about running outside with no music.

    I only run outside and would never dream of wearing headphones - I need to be able to hear what's going on around me.

    I get into a rhythm with my breathing, matching my pace, and find that hearing my breath keeps me going.

    Also, what could be better than listening to the wind in the trees and the birds singing? - 3/3/2013 2:41:19 AM
  • New classes are a great way to mix it up. If you're rhythm and coordination challenged like me, go in knowing you are going to look crazy the first time. - 10/14/2012 9:47:54 PM
  • I enjoy the gym so much that I haven't considered trying a new gym. My membership allows me to go to about half a dozen and I might try that. - 9/15/2012 10:02:44 AM
  • JMB369
    This was one of the most useful articles I've read in a while -- or maybe I just needed to hear it today! I know from past experience that I need variety, and this was a well-timed reminder. I am going to try to find a zumba class (been on my To Do list for a month) and incorporate intervals into my lap swimming 3x a week. - 5/22/2012 7:06:20 AM
    These ideas are easy and obvious...I guess sometimes I just forget that routine gets old and I can easily change it. My tunes will change today. - 4/19/2010 1:27:59 PM

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