Cardio Options for People Who Don't Want to Run
Seven Alternatives to Running
When people think of cardio exercises, running is often what comes to mind. It has a lot of advantages. You can run almost anywhere, without a lot of expensive equipment and in a wide variety of weather conditions. The downside is it can be boring. It can hurt your knees. You may have stopped seeing results from doing the same thing. Thankfully there are several running alternatives you can consider.
Jumping rope is a great way to burn calories inside, when the weather outside isn't cooperating. Because it's so lightweight and portable, it's also good on the road when you're in unfamiliar territory. You can get a great workout in a space as small as 8 square feet.
Depending on how fast you jump and your skill level, you can expect to burn as much as 10 to 15 calories every minute. Besides burning fat, it also helps improve agility, balance, coordination, endurance, power, rhythm and timing.
Rowing machines are one of the most ignored pieces of equipment in a gym. What most people don't realize is that they work almost every major muscle group in the body. They're great for people with joint problems because they're very low impact. They also help people lose weight quickly since they're targeting your whole body, not just legs like running does. A vigorous workout for a 185 pound person can burn 374 calories in 30 minutes.
Ellipticals work muscles almost the same way as a treadmill, but they remove the impact. That makes them easier on the joints and more appropriate for people who are injured or extremely overweight. Ellipticals also often have moving poles to work the arms as well. Just make sure you set the resistance high enough that it challenges you.
Swimming is good if you have access to a pool or open water. There's no impact, making it ideal if you're dealing with bone or joint injuries. It helps you learn how to breathe more efficiently and works most of the major muscles in the body. It's also one of the few cardio exercises that burn more calories if you're bad at it. The better your swimming form is, the easier your body moves through the water. Change the type of swim stroke you use to work different muscles.
Aqua jogging is like adding some resistance training to a swim. Also known as deep water running or pool running, you use a flotation device to help mimic the motions of running. The water pushes back, helping you build muscle while you're burning calories. An added benefit of exercising in the water is that it can help keep your core body temperature down, so you may be able to push yourself longer.
Cycling is a low-impact alternative to running. If you have a bike, you can choose between riding on the road (in appropriate lanes) or off-road on trails. It's important you have safety gear including a helmet and lights, while following the rules of the road to avoid potential injuries. A bicycle can be used as an alternative to driving a car for some trips and can be a great way to get cardio exercise in when you're pressed for time. In a small town like Key West, bikes can often make it from one place to another faster than a car, without the hassle of finding a parking spot.
Spinning or cycling on a stationary bike is an option if weather is bad or you don't feel comfortable riding outside. For something truly challenging, use an Airdyne stationary bike. These bikes are powered by both your legs and arms, with moving handlebars.
Riding an Airdyne stationary bike, as fast as you are able, can burn 50 to 75 calories EVERY MINUTE. Instead of worrying about constantly adjusting the resistance, Airdyne does it automatically. The harder you push, the more Airdyne pushes back.
There are too many more options to cover them all in a single article. You might also try jumping jacks, cross country skiing, stand up paddle boarding, stairs or high energy dancing. Cardio exercise is an important piece of any workout program, don't limit yourself to just one type.
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