Could your cardio routine use a change of scenery? Cardiovascular exercise is essential for overall health, but getting motivated can be challenging when you’re confined to such mundane machines as the treadmill or elliptical. Two minutes can feel like two hours when your view is a digital clock sluggishly ticking the seconds away.

A simple solution to enhance your exercise experience is to switch up your workout setting. And with autumn in full swing, there is no better place to crank up the cardio than the great outdoors. It’s easy to forget you are exercising when surrounded by dramatic fall colors and cool, crisp air. When you aren’t counting the minutes until your workout is complete, you’re likely to exercise longer and enjoy it more.

The following cardio circuit is broken into two options. Routine A is ideal for beginners, or those with stiff joints. Routine B is designed for intermediate to advanced level exercisers. The goal of each cardio course is to engage the heart, lungs, and major muscle groups. This will encourage a greater caloric burn, a stronger body, and a healthier mind. You will need a stopwatch for these 30 minute workouts.

Tips for improving your form when running or walking:

  • Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and gaze forward to allow for proper joint alignment.
  • Both arms should be bent at about a 90-degree angle, with elbows tucked close to your body.
  • Keep your hands relaxed. Sometimes your hands subconsciously ball into fists, which can fatigue the upper-body muscles.
  • For runners, keep your feet close to the ground with each step to preserve energy and avoid unnecessary impact on your knees. When pushing off the ground, try to make contact with the ball of your foot.
Routine A
  • 5 minutes: Walk at a comfortable pace
  • 1 minute: Walking lunges. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a step forward with your right foot and lower your body into a lunge, keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. All body weight should be in your front heel. Now push through your right heel to stand up and step forward with the left foot. Repeat.
  • 10 minutes: Walk at a brisk pace, pumping your arms
  • 1 minute: Side steps. For 30 seconds move in a lateral direction by stepping out with your left foot then bringing your right foot in to meet it. Keep your knees slightly bent, shoulders back, and gaze forward. Then face the opposite direction and repeat the same movement for 30 seconds.
  • 10 minutes: Walk at a brisk pace, pumping your arms
  • 3 minutes: Cool down with some deep breathing
Ashley demonstrates a side step.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Ashley demonstrates a side step.
Routine B
  • 2 minutes: Walk at a comfortable pace.
  • 1 minute: Walking lunges.
  • 5 minutes: Walk at a brisk pace, pumping your arms.
  • 2 minutes: Skipping. In an explosive burst, use your arms for momentum as you push off your right foot to jump into the air and simultaneously drive your left knee up toward the chest. Land softly on your right foot, then jump off your left foot. Repeat.
  • 15 minutes: Run at a steady pace.
  • 5 minutes: Cool down with some deep breathing.
Skipping is a great way to engage the heart, lungs, and major muscle groups.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Skipping is a great way to engage the heart, lungs, and major muscle groups.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more about her virtual training program, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.