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5 Best Cardio Exercises To Keep Your Heart Young as You Age

No running required!
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

We all know cardiovascular exercise is important for heart health, yet so many of us neglect it as we age. If you've skipped out on cardio because you hate running, you aren't alone. The truth is, the vast majority of people hate running as much as you do. However, I do have some good news. You don't have to run in order to stay in good health; we've rounded up five of the best cardio exercises to keep your heart young as you age.

At some point, doing cardio does require some "sucking it up" and getting your workout done, but you can make it much more interesting than going for a jog or slogging out miles on the treadmill. Now, let's get into these effective cardio exercises to keep your heart young as you age. And next up, don't miss The Best Indoor Cardio Workouts To Increase Stamina as You Age.

Water Aerobics

women doing water aerobics exercises

Water aerobics is a great alternative to running that provides a full-body cardio workout with much lower impact on the joints. You generally need to do water aerobics as part of a group class, but you can do basic water aerobics by simply walking laps in the pool or performing exercises on your own. If you don't mind walking in the pool but skip running because of joint issues, then walking laps in the pool or doing water aerobics is a great choice.


illustration of man doing burpees

The burpee is a full-body explosive exercise that can form an entire workout in itself. Perform 10 to 15 burpees, then rest for 15 seconds, and repeat for three to five cycles. Take a one-minute break, and perform up to three rounds.

To perform burpees, begin standing with your feet hip-width distance apart. Quickly lower your base, kick your feet back, and drop down into a plank position. Immediately explode back up to standing. Then, quickly jump up and reach your arms overhead. Absorb the landing by lowering into the next repetition. Repeat for target reps.

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Jumping Rope

fitness man jumping rope outdoors, demonstrating how to regain muscle mass

Jumping rope is not just for kids. In fact, skipping rope is an excellent combined lower and upper body workout—especially if you use a weighted rope. You can do double-leg hops, alternating jumps, or a number of jumping variations. Work to skip rope for three to five minutes straight skipping rope, rest for one minute, and repeat three to five rounds for a full workout.

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Rowing Machine

older man working out on rowing machine, demonstrating cardio exercises to keep your heart young as you age

The rowing machine is a great alternative to running if you still prefer to complete your workout indoors in a gym setting on a piece of cardio equipment, which is absolutely an excellent way to do it.

Work to perform 30 minutes of rowing at a moderate pace. You can also do interval training using 30:30 work:rest periods. Work up to five rounds of five cycles per round.

Kettlebell Swings

man doing kettlebell swing cardio exercises to keep your heart young

Kettlebell swings using light to moderate weight are a great way to combine cardio with strength and mobility. Swinging a kettlebell has many benefits, including core and lower back strength, glute and hamstring strength, and better hip mobility.

To perform kettlebell swings, begin standing with a kettlebell slightly in front of you. Grip the kettlebell with both hands, and hike it backward between your legs, hinging at the waist. As your torso nears parallel to the floor, drive through your hips and knees to swing the kettlebell forward. As the kettlebell and your arms become horizontal, hike the bell backward, and go into the next repetition. Repeat for the target repetitions.

Tyler Read
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 15 years. Read more about Tyler
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