It’s no secret that running boasts health benefits that go beyond weight loss. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, runners enjoy a 45% drop in the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease compared to non-runners. Additionally, the exercise has been associated with mood elevation and reduced anxiety.
Still, running isn’t for everyone. If you have knee or hip problems or have recently suffered an injury, there’s a fair chance running could cause more harm than good. Moreover, some people simply don’t enjoy this form of exercise. If you’d rather skip the sweaty sprint around the neighborhood, check out these non-boring cardio alternatives:
Taking a dance class can be a great way to get your cardio fix without resorting to hours on the treadmill. Even if your sense of rhythm is lacking, you can burn calories, up your endorphins, and improve balance by hitting the dance floor or taking a dance class at your gym. According to a Women’s Health article, heart patients who danced for 20 minutes a day, three times a week, experienced a greater improvement in their conditions than those who engaged in more traditional cardio.
If you enjoy the physical demands of running but have joint problems, swimming can be a good alternative. A full-body workout, swimming enhances flexibility while improving overall muscle strength. And because the exercise involves minimal impact, you don’t have to worry about aggravating old injuries.
Individuals with foot or knee issues should consider working out with kettlebells instead of hitting the track. Less monotonous than running, KB training burns calories while boosting muscle tone. To start, set a timer for 10 minutes and do as many sets of kettlebell swings as possible, stopping each set when form begins to suffer.
A form of body conditioning, circuit training involves performing one exercise for 30 seconds to a few minutes before moving on to another. For example, you might move from burpees to dumbell squats to jumping rope. The benefit of circuits is that they keep your heart rate up while combining elements of strength training and cardio. As a result, you can work out for a shorter amount of time and see the same benefits.
If you’re bored with your typical cardio routine, you might want to consider boxing. Not only does it burn a large amount of calories in a short time, but it’s also a proven stress reliever that improves your overall health and wellness.
“In addition to boosting your strength and cardio, boxing improves a number of skill-related parameters of fitness, including balance, coordination, reactivity, and agility,” said Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise.
If you enjoy working out with other people and have a competitive spirit, sports can be a great alternative to running. Most cities offer adult recreational leagues for soccer, basketball, racquetball, and more. Find a local league and get your game on.
You don’t have to hit the road to burn calories. By getting plenty of cardio and eating a healthy and balanced diet, you can reach your weight-loss goals.