Not all of us like to go for a run!

We hear about it all the time: cardio, cardio, cardio. When we talk about burning calories, a lot of times we're talking about going for a run, hopping on your bike, or hitting up that dusty elliptical. But a lot of people hate cardio. To be honest, that's a scenario that's hard for me to imagine. I love to keep my body moving for as fast and as long as possible. On the other hand, there are also some people that just can't do cardio for health reasons. I can understand this. Forced into periods of rest with broken bones or other injuries, I've had to get creative.

So how do you get your heart rate up without your standard cardio exercises? Here are a few suggestions that might help you rethink your workout routine:

1. Power yoga


Fast flow yoga is a great way to increase your heart rate! Courtesy of

I used to think of yoga as a slow, meditative workout that focused on strengthening your body through various types of balance and stretching exercises. And while that's true for a lot of yoga routines, there's a thing called power yoga or fast flow. You do your yoga routine once at a steady, even pace before picking up the speed a little bit. You cycle through each exercise like it's one smooth motion. You'll get your heart rate up in no time. Throw several levels into your routine, standing to downward dog, and then back up to warrior, and your heart rate will be up in no time at all.

2. Lift more weight

Is weight training more your thing? Throw a little extra weight on your bar or try out the next level of dumbbells. If your last couple reps are causing you to catch your breath, then that's some cardio you just snuck into your strengthening routine! Just make sure you don't increase your weight too much—you don't want to strain or lose form. You'll risk injury which defeats the purpose of all kinds of exercise!

3. Take the stairs


Take the stairs! Courtesy of

I'm sure you've seen those signs in hospitals or maybe even malls. Take the stairs and strengthen your heart! But it's true. A few flights of stairs is one of the easiest ways to level up your cardio. Try going up and down the stairs in your house a few times and you'll have to take some deep breaths. No running necessary!

4. Find a distraction

If all else fails and you're healthy, pick a good distraction to get you through your cardio routine. Make a good playlist and listen to some of your favorite music while you're running. Turn on a funny TV show or movie while you're on the elliptical. Find a friend to sweat with you on your bike ride. It helps the time go by and eases the struggle of getting that heart rate up. And who knows? Maybe you'll learn to like it!

How do you get your heart rate up? Share in the comments!

The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness. Author Caitlin Bean lives in Annapolis, MD.