Top 5 Running Alternatives

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We get it. Not everyone a born-runner. While running is an excellent way to stay in shape, it isn’t for everyone. If you have an injury, shin splints, or just don’t enjoy running, there are many alternatives that will  give you a very similar workout. These top 5 running alternatives will give you a great workout without the high impact on joints. For injured runners, they can help lead to a speedy recovery.Even if you are a loyal runner, there is nothing wrong with switching it up from time to time!


1. Cycling

Cycling truly is a nearly perfect alternative to running. It can be done inside or outside. It gives your legs a great workout while giving you a cardio element just like running does. The best thing about cycling is that it gives you the same benefits of running without the impact on your joints. So hope on your road bike or take a spin class at your local gym! You might be surprised at how similar the biker’s high is to the runner’s high.


2. Elliptical

The elliptical is a particularly effective machine for runner’s who are in the recovery stage of an injury. The elliptical helps to minimize impact on your joints through its circular motion. According to Dr. Edward Laskowski from Mayo Clinic, elliptical machines are a great alternative to running for a number of reasons. You can pedal an elliptical in reverse, which allows you to target a different group of muscles. The same holds true for the poles, which help to work out your upper body.


3. Walking

Although walking doesn’t give you intense fat-burning cardio that running does, any exercise is better than none! In order to see similar benefits of a run, you will need to walk twice the amount that you would normally run. Walking can reduce risk of heart disease, improve blood pressure, and many other things. Walking can be enjoyed in nature, which is a huge plus that the elliptical machine doesn’t offer. If you choose to run on a treadmill, walking on an incline can help you to burn calories quickly.


4. Rowing

Rowing machines have been collecting dust in the corners of gyms across the world for a number of years. But before you waste ten minutes waiting for a treadmill to open up, you may want to give the rowing machine a second thought. In fact, Brian MacKenzie, a CrossFit Endurance coach, says “Rowing is an invaluable tool for runners”. Why? Because it helps to expose weaknesses that runners are unaware of. And if torching calories is the reason you like to run, don’t fear! Rowing can burn just as many calories (if not more) than running.

Rowing Machine

5. Swimming

Swimming is an excellent full body workout that many people forget about. It is very easy on your body since there is virtually no impact on your joints. Just like the other alternatives we have listed, swimming is excellent for those who have been injured and are in the process of nursing their bodies back to health. Swimming can be done at all ages. In fact, Jack La Lanne was still swimming for an hour a day when he was 93 years old!



Running for beginners

If you have tried all the alternatives and are ready for the real thing, you may find yourself asking questions like “How fast should I run?” “How long do I go for?” “How will I know when to stop?” To start off, you don’t need to do anything intense. Try starting off by running 20 minutes a day three days a week. Run at a comfortable pace that causes you to breathe heavily, but is still doable.

If running for 20 minutes is too long, don’t hesitate to walk for a few minutes to catch your breath. Slowly increase the time you run for as well as the pace, but only by an amount you feel comfortable with. In the beginning, instead of focusing on the distance you run, focus on the amount of time you run for. Remember that your legs will be sore during the first week or so. But after that, they will get used to the movement and soreness will be minimal!

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