Cardio Alternatives to Running

by Angela Yorke | September 12th, 2011 | Cardio

Running is one of the easiest cardio exercises to do. So are hiking and speed walking. The downside is the impact that these activities have on the joints, which tends to become more obvious as a person ages – especially where running is concerned. I wouldn’t give up running entirely, but I’d certainly mix in other, lower impact activities for some variety.

If your knees feel sore, you can take up swimming. Aside from making me feel slightly lighter than I really am, the buoyancy of the water reduces a lot of impact off my joints, meaning I’ll enjoy proper knee function for many years to come. Like running, swimming works the lower body extensively. Unlike running though, it also provides a strenuous workout for the torso.

In fact, I often find myself breathing harder in the water because of the greater pressure that water exerts on a body. In addition to that, it’s easier to keep up a swimming routine when you’re on the road, because swimming pools are available at most hotels. Moreover, if you can’t swim, you can still run in the shallow end of the pool.

If swimming is too sedate for you, and aerobics is too “old-fashioned” (it’s not), you could do what my friend does, and attend kickboxing classes. The key difference between kickboxing and aerobics is the variation each lesson brings. The sport demands full-body commitment, and it’s easier to sustain your interest in something that constantly challenges you. Due the intense nature of the sport, it also delivers a big cardio punch in a shorter time than a regular session at the gym would.

Dancing is another form of exertion that provides cardiovascular benefits while ensuring you have a good time. If you’re balking at the sizzling salsa routines you see on TV, fret not, as line dancing is another form that keeps you moving without confusing newcomers. Of course, you’ll feel the burn more with the energetic tango and the aforementioned salsa, but everyone has to start somewhere, don’t they?

  1. I’m surprised biking didn’t make it onto this list. Or course, that regimen can be hard to maintain in the winter in many areas, and it does require some amount of equipment purchase.

    Speaking of equipment purchase, one easy possibility is to get a treadmill, elliptical, or stationary bike for your living room. This way, you don’t have to give up your usual TV habits (the most common impediment to exercise) for your workout. Even if you don’t go all out, using one of those machines for an hour or two each day instead of sitting and snacking would make a world of difference.

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