We all know that cardiovascular exercise, or simply cardio, is one of the most effective ways to keep your heart healthy. Cardio exercises increase your heart rate and allow the muscle to pump blood more quickly through the body. The common practice of this heightened rate leads to an overall improvement in heart health and a decreased risk of heart attack.

It can be tough to ensure that you’re getting the recommended 30 minutes of cardio per day and, if you are fitting it in, we bet you aren’t having too much fun doing it. So we came up with some creative ways to get your heart rate up. The best part is, most of them don’t even feel like exercise.

Sky Zone

Creative Cardio

Location: 2834 Route 73 North, Maple Shade
Details: If you haven’t visited Sky Zone yet, you’re missing out! This activity center features wall-to-wall trampolines for children and adults to enjoy (and exercise on). Whether you’re just looking for a light jumping session or something more strenuous – trampoline dodgeball, anyone? – you’re sure to have a great time while getting that heart rate up at Sky Zone.
More info: Visit www.skyzone.com or call 856-230-7090.


Starlight Dance Center

Creative Cardio

Location: 7 High Street, Nutley
Details: Starlight Dance Studio offers classes of all types for kids, teens, adults and seniors. Their adult classes include ballroom, Latin, salsa and hustle lessons, all of which are sure to get your heart rate up without the stress of worrying about cardio exercise. So grab your significant other, or a few of your friends, and learn something new while giving your heart the workout that it needs!
More info: Visit starlightdanceusa.com or call 973-235-9835.


The Center Circle

Creative Cardio

Location: 1255 Main Street, Rahway
Details: Speaking of childhood games that have grown up alongside us, I give you Ultimate Frisbee. At The Center Circle, youths and adults of all skill levels are welcome to play on their coed Ultimate Frisbee teams. Players will get the cardio they need while running around like children and having a blast!
More info: Visit www.thecentercircle.com or call 732-396-9100.


Sharon Fit Belly Dance & Group Fitness Studio

Creative Cardio

Location: 29 Alden Street, Cranford
Details: One uncommon and generally awesome way to keep your body moving is hula hooping. Though we’ve all had childhood experiences with hula-hoops at one point or another, it takes on a whole new meaning at Sharon Fit. You’ll use a heavier hula-hoop to follow your instructor’s movements to experience one of the most fun cardio workouts around.
More info: Visit www.sharonfit.com or call 908-370-8882.


Mountain Creek

Creative Cardio

Location: 200 State Route 94, Vernon
Details: Skiing and snowboarding are two great ways to break a sweat without going anywhere near a gym. It’s no easy task carrying all of that equipment around in your snow gear! Mountain Creek offers different terrains to accommodate all skill levels and even has fun options such as night skiing. Passes can be purchased on their website.
More info: Visit www.mountaincreek.com or call 973-827-2000.


Jersey Shore Arena

Creative Cardio

Location: 1215 Wyckoff Road, Wall
Details: Ice-skating is one of the most fun ways of getting your cardio in and it just so happens to be the perfect time of year to take advantage of New Jersey’s many indoor skating rinks. At Jersey Shore Arena, those interested have the option of attending “DJ Skate” on Friday and Saturday nights. This public skating session features a live DJ and light show, which makes this workout feel like a party!
More info: Visit www.jerseyshorearena.com or call 732-919-7070.


Princeton Pong

Creative Cardio

Location: 745 Alexander Road, Princeton
Details: Anyone who’s ever spent time at the ping-pong table at an arcade knows that it can be a competitive and intense experience. Depending on your skill level, and that of your partner, you can easily find yourself racking up those cardio miles in no time just chasing after the ball. Princeton Pong welcomes walk-ins and also offers a membership program with plenty of perks.
More info: Visit www.princetonpong.com or call 609-987-8500.


Garden State Plaza

Creative Cardio

Location: 1 Garden State Plaza, Paramus
Details: Believe it or not, the mall is the perfect place to go for a walk in the winter. You can even get some shopping in while you get your heart rate up. There’s plenty of open space to walk around and, if you’re able to go during off hours, the crowds are minimal. There are a number of shopping centers throughout New Jersey, but none as appropriately titled as Garden State Plaza. So grab a coffee — and a friend — and head to the mall today!
More info: Visit www.westfield.com or call 201-843-2121.