Running is a great way to promote full-body strength, respiratory endurance,
and cardiovascular health. Regular running can lower blood pressure, prevent
heart disease, develop stronger bones, and lead to a higher quality of
life. However, as beneficial as it is, it simply isn’t for everyone.
For those with joint paint, running may impact the knees or hips in a
way that they cannot sustain—for others, running is simply not fun.
For a workout routine to really stick, it matters that you
enjoy what you’re doing!
If running isn’t for you, here are 3 great alternatives that will
allow you to benefit from cardiovascular exercise in different ways.
always consult your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.
If you have joint pain or any issues with the impact of running, swimming
might be the perfect exercise for you. Swimming is a full-body exercise
that puts minimal impact stress on your joints while providing the benefits
of running. Swimming, for example, trains the body to process oxygen more
efficiently, utilizes all the major muscle groups, and builds muscle effectively
without risking joint strain.
In addition, swimming can take the load off of stressed or stiff muscles.
Thanks to the physics of water, people only bear about 10% of their weight
when fully submerged in the pool. When suburban athletes need to take
it easier without completely abandoning their routine, doing some laps
in the pool is a great way to do it.
For those who simply don’t have the space or time to run, burpees
are a powerful and effective way to get in a workout in less time and
higher intensity. It works all the major muscle groups, and it trains
your muscles to respond explosively on command. This will also lead to
“afterburn,” or what researchers call EPOC (excess post-exercise
oxygen consumption). Afterburn period is a small window of time when your
body continues to burn calories after your workout is finished.
Here’s how to do burpees. Watch this video from Fitness Magazine:
- Begin from a “four-point” position—feet together, hands
slightly wider than shoulder-width like a fully-extended pushup.
- From here, jump both feet forward to your hands so you’re in a squatting position.
- Leap explosively into the air, bringing your hands together behind your
head, straightening your body and pushing your chest out.
- When you land, return to the squatting position.
- Shoot your legs out behind you to return to your original position.
For extra difficulty, add a pushup at the end to complete the repetition.
Do these until you’re comfortable with the movement, then begin
increasing in both speed and repetitions. Burpees will build your chest,
back, glutes, and leg muscles as effectively as (if not more than) running.
Working out doesn’t have to be a chore. Dancing, thanks to the stepping,
the fast movements, and the long duration of the activity, can provide
as much cardio burn as running—perhaps with a lot more enjoyment!
The internet offers a wide variety of dance workouts (for instance,
here are 8 dance workout videos just from Healthline). In addition, streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music curate playlists
based on high beats per minute, perfect for high intensity dancing. Even
if you don’t consider yourself a gifted dancer, simply moving with
intensity and enthusiasm will raise your heart rate and strengthen your
While a good run is still healthy for you, sometimes it pays to switch
up your routine. If you don’t like running or prefer to work out
apart from “traditional” gym exercises, then these 3 activities
are perfect replacements—whether you want something with less stress
on your joints, more intense movement, or something more “fun”
to pass away the time (and the calories)!