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I am currently doing 45 minutes of cardio (static bike) keeping my heart rate above 160bpm, 3 times a week and working my way up to 60 minutes, 3 times a week. However, it is boring as hell and that current 45 minutes seems to drag on forever.

I have tried listening to music, watching a movie, taking the bike out, but nothing i have done so far has got me into the mentality "can't wait to exercise", I am still stuck at "man, I have to exercise"...

Based on past experience, when I don't enjoy something, something seems to happen and I stop doing it because I do not enjoy it. So my question is, how do I enjoy cardio?

Unfortunately, I cannot afford to sign up with a yearly contract with a gym at the moment because of family commitments and financial situations.

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Any reason for not going outside every once in a while or pick up alternative sports, like running on the side? Anything for a little variation :) –  Ivo Flipse Mar 10 '11 at 14:06
    
I think some programs which shows your previous results and compare it should help you. –  Csabi Mar 10 '11 at 19:06
    
I've started going to work by bike. Its a 45 minutes trip and after freshening up at work I'm good to go. –  CodingBarfield Jul 28 '11 at 7:58
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9 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

To stay motivated is very useful to set short-term targets. More time, more bpm, harder..

Talk to other people who exercise like you, visit social sites fitness, helps you stay motivated.

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I'm not a big fan of LONG cardio workouts, I don't see (or heard of) any good/long term benefit to them. I would recommend trying something different like Tabata (http://gymboss.com/tabata.php) interval training. It's shorter (16 to 20 minutes), very effective (best personal improvements I've ever seen) and doesn't require any special equipment (so you can do it at home)

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From personal experience, I can say that the cardio I have been doing has increased my stamina an unbelievable amount. –  oshirowanen Mar 10 '11 at 16:38
    
+1 for interval training - I've used a form of intervals to train for long distance cycling over the past several years. In my experience it's more effective than long, slow training. And @oshirowanen - You might try intervals. You can cut your workout time in half and still achieve the same benefits. And not to say that your longer workouts are bad, but you can add variety (reducing boredom) by incorporating intervals. –  wdypdx22 Mar 10 '11 at 18:58
    
@wdypdx22 - I agree about varying the routines and the impact...exercising is a lifetime commitment, good variations help in keeping it interesting and also helps with getting the body 'off balance' for better results –  Meade Rubenstein Mar 10 '11 at 19:46
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Why did you pick a Bicycle for Cardio in the first place? This implies you enjoy riding a Bike. Take one outside. Find some scenic routes and take your camera!

Why not train for a race?

Or, pick something else (not neccessarily exclusively, since variation serves to keep you interested). The stop/start nature of Soccer leads to great doses of High Intensity Interval training.

The trick is to make the Cardio a product of something you enjoy doing...

Didn't Mary Poppins once say something similar about chores, work and fun? ;-)

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Is riding a bike outdoors an option for you?

I found that once I shifted from jogging on a treadmill indoors to jogging outside through my town I had a much easier time of it - the time went by quicker, didn't feel like such a chore, and best of all, it felt more fun. I also discovered that jogging outdoors is much much harder than jogging on a treadmill at the same speed, so the difficulty of the workout overall increased as well.

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For you, I would try to find a workout buddy. For most people, it will be much hard to stop doing something if others are relying on you. As JoaquinG stated, setting short-term goals and increasing your bpm could also help.

Listening to music or watching TV are suggestions, but you already said that has not helped you. Going out side and enjoying weather or surroundings is also a suggestion, but again, you said that has not helped.

You can try to switch it up, and start doing some running, roller blading, or using other equipment. You already stated that you cannot attend a gym, and you have financial commitments, so this may not be the best option for you, because you would need to attend a gym or maybe buy new equipment for other types of activities.

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For treadmills, stationary bikes etc, I like to use the profiles to make things more interesting. Try out all the hill profiles and see which ones you find hard / enjoyable and try to improve your times. Make it like a competition against yourself and you'll find that you push to achieve your goal.

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Edit: I goofed and didn't read that the question assumes no gym full of stuff. With that said, I still think the advice of breaking your workout up and including plyometrics in between and changing the motion and intensity of the bike ride throughout the workout is key to keeping it interesting.

For instance, one day do 10 minutes on the bike and 5 minutes off where

  • 10 minutes on the bike is at a slower, maintainable pace
  • 5 minutes off the bike is intense plyometrics

... and then the next day

  • 10 minutes on the bike doing intense riding to the point where 10 minutes exhausts you
  • 5 minutes off the bike doing brisk walking around the room and very very light plyometrics. You can even mix in some abs here too.

Original Post:

If your goal is to do cardio using machines or stationary for a substantial length of time and you find yourself getting bored while doing it, the best advice I can give is to constantly switch up which piece of equipment you use - either on a per workout basis or in-between workouts.

For instance, if you do cardio 3 times a week, get a two week rotation going where you hit all of these machines once:

  • Stairmaster
  • Elliptical
  • Stationary Bike
  • Handbike
  • Row Machine
  • Treadmill

Or, you could combine machines together within the same workout. For example, do 15 minutes each of three of the above.

For a twist on combining those cardio machines together, when you switch, spend 5 minutes doing very light plyometrics - even jumping jacks would suffice there.

On some of those machines you can even vary the style of motion you make. Some suggestions there:

  • On the treadmill, increase the incline, ortry a slower pace while side shuffling or walking backwards.
  • On the elliptical, vary the angle and try going backwards
  • On a stairmaster, turn around and do it backwards
  • Tweak the custom programs on each machine to do things like Hill Training or Interval training... or Random.

In short, the principle I'd suggest is to constantly switch it up. Doing the same motion on the same machine for 45 minutes at a time is just asking for monotony.

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Personally, I never did any sport until 4 years ago. This was because team-sports are the most common sports over here, and I just don't like them. My conclusion was that I did not like sports.

Imho, the same applies to cardio. There's not one single cardio workout! There are lot of sports to try, a lot of which (almost) free. Try to find out what sport you like. because this really differs per per person.

Personally I really like any outdoor sport which you do in nature: swimming in a lake, running in the country-side, bicycling for 100 kms a day on a holiday, hitching through the mountains, skating on natural ice...

But some friends of mine really like spinning, I also know a lot of people who like to run through the city.

My point being: try out some different (cardio) sports, and see which one suits you

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I have a pretty busy schedule. I'm also an avid listener to various podcasts. I use cardio time as an excuse to take time to listen to podcasts (and thus, under the covers, use podcasts as an excuse to do cardio).

Sure, it's roughly equivalent to music or movies. However, I've tried those too, and I have a noticeably better experience with my cardio workout when I fill them with interesting verbal material. I think it has something to do with stimulating a different part of my mind; I have to pay close attention to the words & ideas expressed, and so don't notice the time as much.

Of course, YMMV, but I suggest giving it a shot.

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