If the idea of running doesn’t appeal to you, then welcome to the club. So many of us would rather do anything else than run a few laps around the track. If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are four cardio exercises that don’t involve running but can still help you burn major calories.
“Skipping is a fantastic method for training power, speed and endurance, with key benefits for ankle, pelvic and knee stability,” Corinne Naomi, an instructor at FIIT, explained to Women’s Health. But don’t just take her word for it. Research also supports skipping as an effective, calorie-blasting exercise: a study in Research Quarterly For Exercise And Sport found that skipping for 10 minutes a day for six weeks had the same benefits as jogging daily for 30 minutes. Especially if you add in intervals, varying your pace, skipping can be an excellent cardio substitute. One of the biggest reasons why this workout is so effective is because it’s a full body workout, engaging the upper half of your body just as much as your lower half.
Some key tips for skipping include:
- Staying low to the ground
- Staying light on your feet
- Keeping your arms at a 45 degree angle and pulled in tight to your ribs
- Rotating your arms from your wrists, rather than your shoulders
- Keeping your core engaged throughout the workout
“Rowing is a great calorie burner and all over body workout as it uses nine major muscles groups, including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, core, lats, shoulders, back, triceps and biceps,” personal trainer Daniel Harris explained to Cosmopolitan.
“Rowing is one of the most intense exercises you can add to your workout routine, can burn around 700 calories an hour and is great for helping with back definition,” he said.
Another great alternative to running? Swimming. According to Healthline, one hour of swimming burns almost as many calories as running, but without all the impact on your bones and joints. Similar to how skipping is a full-body workout, swimming also engages muscles throughout your body, as you push and pull yourself forward against the resistance of the water. Plus, you can vary your workout by alternating different strokes, each of which focuses on different muscle groups.
But your muscles aren’t the only parts of your body getting a workout. Swimming is also an excellent way to build up cardiovascular strength. Not only can it potentially reduce your risk of death, some studies have even shown that swimming can help lower blood pressure and control your blood sugar levels.
Cycling is also a great substitute for running. Especially if you cycle at a high intensity, cycling can help you reduce body fat, increase metabolism, build muscle, and strengthen your cardiovascular system.
“Whether it’s speed cycling or moderate intensity slow cycling, this calorie burning exercise provides a workout for your heart, lungs and blood vessels,” Harris said.
“A gentle bike ride can burn around 364 calories per hour, but if you take part in intense cycling, you’ll see the calorie burn go through the roof.”