It is important to get cardio exercise in with strength training. I try to run 1-3 miles 1-3 times a week, but sometimes it is hard to run. Often I am tired from a previous run or I just don’t feel like running. One of my big barriers to running is that it can be pretty boring, especially when running on a treadmill.
Circuit training is an excellent cardio exercise alternative to running. This training is basically a bunch of full body exercises, using body weight or some sort of added resistance, that are done in high-intensity. You do a lot of different exercises at high repetition with little pause time between the exercises. There are a lot of classes and fads that fall into this category, like boot camps, p90x, insanity, etc… It is considered high intensity interval training.
There are a lot of great reasons to do circuit training. Since you are mixing up various exercises together, it is not boring or monotonous like other cardio exercise routines. You can strengthen various muscle groups while getting your cardio in. To me it feels more effective/tiring than typical exercises like running, cycling, etc… I am not sure if it actually is any better than typical cardio, but I’ve been told that since it uses multiple muscle groups it burns more calories.
Creating a circuit routine is pretty simple. You can take a bootcamp class at your local gym and recreate the steps, or google for a routine. Typically a circuit routine it is 3-7 exercises that work different muscle groups where you do high reps of each exercise (something like 12-20). Usually you do a circuit and then rest. You repeat this twice (so do the circuit 3 times total) and then move onto the next circuit. I typically do about 3 circuit groups. Make sure you are doing an intensity that actually causes your heart rate to go up and for you to get a burn.