Here’s the funny thing about cardio: it doesn’t have to be repetitive like running or 60 minutes like a spin class.

We have so, so much research to suggest that ANY amount of cardiovascular exercise, from as little as 1-2 minutes up to, yes, the 60-minute slow burn is effective at incrementally increasing your baseline cardiovascular health and your endurance.

Endurance to run after your littles.

Endurance to stay on your feet for a day of #momming.

Endurance to go up and down the stairs putting things away 839 times per day.

Endurance to hike and bike and swim and walk and play and live your most fun life.

So, when the weather starts to get nice, most of us want to get outdoors more. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction to the end of winter. A reflex… Like how your kid starts horsing around as soon as they realize it’s near bedtime.

Or kittens. All reflex.

Basically, this is you when spring hits. ?? #amIright

So if running is your thing, that’s cool.

?? Plus, if you’re not sure if running really SHOULD be your thing, you really oughtta catch this awesome interview we did with Chana Ross, mama of 4 and Pelvic Physiotherapist!

If you love hitting the trails on your bike every weekend, power to you mama. And kudos!

But if you, like me, enjoy strengthy things — YES, it’s a word — then you can steal some of my favourite Park Bench Exercises that combine strength training and cardio into one simple outdoor workout!

I’ll often do these exercises in my own backyard, on the porch steps. Other times, I’ll simply bust out a few minutes of pushups, stepups and high knees on a bench at the playground while my kiddos play.

Remember: it all adds up.

Try combining these 4 exercises into a circuit and doing 30 seconds of each, with as little rest as possible. That whole “as little rest as possible” thing? That’s where the cardio magic happens.

When you feel your heart pounding, your forehead breaking into a sweat and your body buzzing with happy electricity? That’s cardio, my friend! No running required.

Unless you want to. And then, while we’re on the topic, I will sometimes build a short jog between circuits to up the cardio level. #ProTip ?

Repeat for 2-3 rounds or until your kids start climbing all over you.

Enjoy, Mama!