Home Cardio

What cardio can you do instead of running?

When the Malaysian Movement Control Order 2020 (MCO) first commenced on 18 March 2020, authorities were pretty strict with the lockdown. Going out of the apartment for even a little jog in the car park led to police summons, for example.

As a preface, I really do not like long-distance running. When dinosaurs were chasing men, they weren’t chasing them over 40km in distance. Personally (and I know many disagree), I feel humans were meant for sprinting, not long-distance running.

Anyway, back to the point, we had to get creative with cardio. And so here’s what I did, and what I continue to do. Try out these options and tell me what you think in the comments!

If you live in an apartment

Apartments may give you more yield for cardio because of the stairs! There is no greater cardio when homebound than the stairs. When I had my old operation for my ruptured bicep tendon, the only exercise I could do was legs-related.

Stairs stairs stairs!

So climbing stairs was my go-to. During the lockdown, I climbed up to my apartment on the seventh floor at least once a day, if not more. When I was healing from my operation, I did about fourteen flours multiplied by four (i.e. 56 stories) in an evening. Sometimes, when I was hardworking, I would do double that.

Caution! One thing I would like to point out if you intend to go stair-climbing is to watch your knees! Make sure your toes remain loose and relaxed, no gripping toes in your shoes because that will cause the force to drive up to your knee! Practise mindfulness while climbing stairs.

  1. Make sure your toes remain loose and relaxed, no gripping toes in your shoes because that will cause the force to drive up to your knee!
  2. Practise mindfulness while climbing stairs. Check in with your feet, ankles, knees, hips, glutes and low back.
  3. Perhaps avoid going down staircases, when the force on the knee and also potential for injury and falls are greater. When I was doing 56-112 stories of stair-climbing, I took the lift down and climbed up.


During lockdown, I would switch on the TV, look for local horror (to see if any are good) and do a round of quick calisthenic cardio exercises. There are so many of these, I am not sure where to start. But here are some examples of the ones that I do:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Running on the spot
  • High knees
  • Donkey kicks
  • Mountain climbers
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Jump rope / skipping
  • Cross mountain climbers
  • Burpees and numerous burpee variations
  • Air squats and variations
  • Plank jacks
  • Frog jumps

And there are so many more of these. Do three rounds of twelve or twenty reps of three or four of these, with a one minute rest between sets, and you’re sorted for cardio!

Cardio strength

Perhaps a more efficient way of burning fat and improving your cardiovascular health is to integrate strength exercises together with your cardio sets. So, follow the protocol above, but just remove one or two cardio sets and add in the corresponding strength sets to replace.

For example, if you were doing a cardio circuit of 4 sets:

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 20 mountain climbers
  • 10 burpees
  • 10 frog jumps

You could instead do:

  • 20 jumping jacks
  • 10 push ups
  • 10 burpees
  • 20 air squats

That’s a simple example of cardio strength. A more complex one may be as below.


Sprints are great for building


Depending the facilities you have and the laws and regulations of your lockdown, swimming walking etc.

If you live in a house

Basically all of the above except stair climbing, unless you have lots of stairs!

If you hate running

There are so many other options that you have for cardio. Aside from all the above, do consider house chores as cardio. Stuff like mopping the floor, washing the car, scrubbing the bathroom, gardening or clearing up your lawn and vacuuming are all great forms of cardiovascular exercise.

The important thing is to keep at it and continue these activities. The COVID-19 pandemic affects our respiratory system, which means it’s important to keep our cardiovascular health in as good a condition as possible.

Tell me what cardio you have done / are doing now in the comments below!