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Something I come across often as a personal trainer is people having a hard sticking to a cardio routine. Mostly because they mainly do machines at the gym which for a lot of people can be pretty miserable. I have a good road bicycle that I ride quite often. When I go on a ride I can be out for a few hours before I think about ending it and heading home. I enjoy riding my bike and lose track of time. When I’m at the gym and hop on the treadmill or stationary bike I can maybe be on either for 15 minutes before I’m pulling my hair and have to get off. I just can’t force myself to be on one of those things for that long. If you want to be successful in cardio you have to find something you enjoy. So in this piece, I want to go over different ways to get your heart rate up and have fun!

Running, Biking and ROLLERBLADING!!!-

I figured I would throw running and biking in right off the bat. They are probably the most popular cardio exercises. They are both effective and if done properly both pretty safe. Biking is easy on your knees but in a city, you have to worry about getting hit by a car. Running can be hard on your knees but there is a much less chance of getting hit by a car. So take your pick. Now after getting those two options out of the way let’s talk about rollerblading. Rollerblading is a lost exercise. Why? I DON’T KNOW!! I don’t get it. Whenever I’m out rollerblading I always think to myself “Why aren’t there more people who rollerblade?”. It’s not the best thing in the world but I see more people in Portland riding unicycles then rollerblading which is ridiculous. It’s fun, easy on the knees, a great cardio exercise, a great leg and butt workout and they are cheap.  If you are stuck between getting into biking, running or rollerblading… get a bike, cause biking is the best, BUT rollerblading is a close second! Great alternative!


Swimming or Kayaking-

Swimming is probably one of the better cardio exercises that exist. It works the entire body while burning a ton of calories and is extremely easy on the body. Unless you have shoulder problems there’s not much to worry about joint wise. The water gives you constant resistance along with a cooling effect which prevents overheating. But if you love the water but don’t particularly like swimming, like me, you could kayak! When most people think about kayaking they think paddling down rapids or a waterfall in some intense river. If that’s what you want to do go for it, but you can get an amazing workout from kayaking in a very mellow body of water. I live in Portland OR. The Willamette runs right though the middle of the city and although the river is NOT fit to swim in because of pollution it’s calm and totally cool to kayak in!! I go out kayaking and get an awesome workout. It gets the heart rate up and really works the upper body.  Cardio exercises that work the upper body are kind of special to me. They seem rarer. And they can be very useful for people who may have some king of lower body injury that prevents them from using their legs. Kayaking is peaceful and exiting. If you live in Portland or a place with a good body of water close by kayaking may be your new thing. Check it out!


Trail Running/ Hiking-

If you live in Portland you are blessed with a lot of amazing trails located not far from the city and even some in the city. Last week I hiked a trail with my dog located up in the west hills just above downtown. I used to live in the West Hills about 4 years ago and used to run these trails. It was around noon on a Monday and in the hour and a half I was hiking around I saw 3 people. If you’re looking for an exercise that you can do alone in nature this may be perfect for you. Running on concrete can be hard on your knees so a great alternative is running on a trail with a much softer ground. Going up and down hills also adds in an interval effect. I think people can get disconnected from themselves spiritually with all the hustle a bustle from living in a city and spending time in the outdoors can really turn that around.


Running/Sprinting Stairs-

Running stairs is something I’ve talked about before. It’s been an amazing tool for me in that it’s a cardio exercise I can enjoy with my dog, it’s more effective than just running and less impact on my knees. If you’re looking to build endurance fast you want to look into high-intensity interval training and running stairs is just that. There are a set of stairs at Mt. Tabor that I run a few times a week and its done wonders for building endurance and lowering my resting heart rate. It also builds muscle in your legs unlike running which tends to slim your legs. The stair set I run is pretty large, I’ve counted them and I think there are something like 94 stairs. For me they are perfect, but anyone could make them work. You may have to just have to walk a portion of them. Whats worked for me is running the set of stairs, walking back down them and taking a two-minute break until I run them again. I repeat this 6-8 times and when I am done I’m so wiped out! It also gets my legs really sore. I would have thought I had been at the gym squatting for half the day. Its really amazing what a great workout it is.


Volleyball, Soccer and Dodgeball Teams-

If you live in Portland it’s a great place to start a team sport. It’s amazing how many people are involved in a wide array of team sports here. Portland is filled with people who recently moved here looking to meet new people and be active. I had a client who was on a soccer team and dodgeball team. I went to play dodgeball with him a few times and it was so much fun. I left dripping in sweat. Their team played a different team every Sunday. I would have never thought there were as many people involved in it as there were. You may be thinking “Ahhh but I’m not that good at stuff like that, I probably wouldn’t fit in.” You would be wrong. There were people of all skill levels participating in both his soccer and dodgeball teams. I would have to imagine it would be the same with Volleyball teams and anything you can think of. Portland’s a creative place and if you can think of a sport you might enjoy, I’m sure there teams out there looking for some new players!! Think about it. Maybe you’re single. Maybe you don’t enjoy going downtown to bars to meet people. MAYBE you meet your future wife or husband at a pickup volleyball game. Who knows. You never will if you don’t check it out!

Some Other Ideas-

• Skiing
• Rock climbing (in a rock gym or in the outdoors)
• Tennis
• Boxing
• Get and dog and walk it!!
• Get a trampoline and jump on it!!
• Start digging out that pool you’ve always wanted in the backyard!!

There are a million different things you can do to get your heart rate up and burn calories. The trick is finding things that you actually like doing! How long can you stick it out running on a treadmill at the gym? I’ve been successful in fitness thus far but could never have kept it up for long if I didn’t enjoy doing it. Maybe you like running on the treadmill if so keep doing it. If not, start looking for something new you enjoy!

To learn more about me and what I do you can visit my website at fitinmotionpersonaltraining.com.  If you want to hear what other people have to say you can check out my latest reviews on my Google+ page or on my Yelp page.

Evan Zener

Fit-InMotion Personal Training 

Northeast Portland OR, 97212

(971) 285-0847 – [email protected]