Get Your Heart Pumping: 6 Alternate Forms of Cardio That Are Perfect for Dancers


As a dancer you’re likely getting all the cardio you need in addition to your training schedule. But sometimes rehearsals and auditions are light or you want to mix it up. And let’s face it, dancing shouldn’t be our only form of cardio. That’s why it’s important to find alternate forms of cardio you enjoy!  

Now, dancers can be cardio junkies. We love the instant gratification of the post cardio exhaustion.  

You know what I mean, you just *feel* like you’ve worked HARD. And that feels good!

But we need to remember that as active dancers and humans, we need to balance how much stress we put our bodies under. 

So, this list of alternate forms of cardio is not meant to challenge you to do it all.

Rather, it’s meant to give you other options of cardio when dancing may not be at the forefront of your schedule.

Let’s dive in shall we? 



Okay, I know what you’re thinking. 

“I thought running was bad for dancers.”

Well, surprise surprise! Running is actually a great form of cardio for dancers. 

Running improves aerobic capacity and endurance, increases bone density which prevents injury, and it’s completely *free*. 

They key is to start slow and be intentional about your form. Ensure that you’re not just pushing off of your rear/mid-foot, and your knees are tracking over your middle toes. 

Now, if you’re thinking, “I hate running.” Never fear, we have many more alternate forms of cardio on the docket!



Rowing is, an excellent alternate form of cardio shown to significantly increase heart health. 

The best part about rowing is it not only gives you all the benefits of typical cardiovascular exercise, but it is a full-body workout with anaerobic benefits as well! 

Rowing is the perfect blend of strength training and cardio. Bonus? It’s a nice break for your joints too!


Shadow boxing: 

Did you know that shadow boxing is so effective at improving cardio health that it can be used to help people who suffer from pulmonary disease? Studies have shown that  shadowboxing can increase metabolic rate, decrease resting heart rate, and even build muscle!

It might seem silly at first, but let me tell you, punching the air is FUN! 

Get out your aggression and live out your Rocky Balboa dreams while also getting an excellent cardio blast. 



Studies have shown that getting around 7,000 steps per day lower the risk of death by 50-70% when compared to those who took fewer steps. They’ve also shown that people who walk often gain less weight over their lifetime!

Now, we know that weight is not the only marker of health. However, if walking can aid your body composition goals without adding additional stress to the body? Well, WAHOO! 

Unlike any of the other alternate forms of cardio listed here, walking is an excelled tool for stress management  and supporting mental health.

We love to see our dancers going on daily walks, getting their vitamin D, connecting with nature,  and clearing their minds. The cardiovasculare benefit? That’s just the cherry on top! 


Circuit training: 

Where are my HIIT junkies? 

Yes, circuit training is an excellent form of cardio! Like rowing there is often a strength training component in circuit training. 

While bodyweight circuits are an excellent and safe form of cardio and strength training, be careful if you start to add any resistance. Because you’re moving quickly, it’s important to make sure that your form is correct to prevent and injuries. 

Additionally, be intentional about making sure the exercises you’re doing in your circuit are varied in comparison to your weight lifting exercises.

Variety is the body’s best friend when it comes to a balanced workout regimen!

Stair Stepping:

Like walking this might sound boring at the jump. But be warned, stair stepping is NOT for the feint of heart. 

This study showed that, stair climbing is actually a suitable alternative to running! Showing just a 4% difference in aerobic capacity between runners and stair climbers. 

What’s more, stair climbing is a great way to strengthen your legs and glutes!

Which Will You Choose?

Any of these cardio workouts are an excellent supplement to your routine. 

And by no means are these the ONLY forms of cardio suitable for dancers. They just happen to be a few of our favorites!

So which one will you be trying today? Are you a classic runner, or will you be fighting your enemies while shadowboxing?

Let us know! Or even better, call a friend and invite them to try it with you!

No matter what, get out there a move your body. I promise you won’t regret it. 



Want more inspiration to move your body? Check out these blogs: Leaping For Joy: A Dancer’s Guide on How to Jump Higher, Six Steps to Perfect Push-ups!, Ready to Turn Heads?: Here’s How to Do a Pirouette


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