If you are looking to build your leg strength and get a good cardio workout, you have almost endless options. Many great cardio exercises focus on building up leg strength so much that there is a risk you neglect the rest of your body. As a runner, I often forget to work my upper body, leaving me with a toned lower body and core, but a rather weak upper body.
While running, biking and using the elliptical trainer are all common ways of building leg strength while doing cardio, there are also a few other alternatives that might make your workout a little more exciting. Here are some of my favorite leg strength boosting cardio builders that don’t always fall on the radar.
1) Rollerblading – Those are not your mother’s roller skates. Rollerblades require good balance and control, so are good at isolating different leg muscles and helping you get a good workout. The good news is that you can cover a lot more ground than when you are out on a run. The tough part is you require good sidewalks or else you need to be on the street. Where I live I have access to some amazing bike trails that I can use to rollerblade as well. I can easily get in a few miles of good skating without risking life and limb. Get a good helmet, some knee pads and a good pair of rollerblades and you are ready to go.
2) Skateboarding – Feeling brave? Skateboarding can be a great strength building cardio workout. For one, you need really good balance, which focuses your leg muscles in a unique way. Then you can cover a lot of ground, which will also get up your heart rate. Even if you aren’t a confident skateboarder yet, you can get a good workout from all that falling down and standing on up again. If you think you lack the skills, try a long board, they are easier to stay balanced on and can take you further.
3) Trampoline – I still love to jump on a trampoline any chance I get. In the summer we have a giant trampoline in our backyard. Year round we keep a mini-trampoline in the house. Both are great for toning your legs and boosting your cardio workout. You can do all sorts of jumps, jumping jacks and gymnastics without worrying about causing your knees too much damage. Make sure you take proper safety precautions if you are using a large trampoline. Put on some good, up-beat tunes and get to jumping!