In the spirit of “The Total Self”, as this philosophy often entails questioning “the status quo” to make a workout routine that is totally yours- and more importantly, that this unique routine gets results. This article is one such article that will help you think and help you develop a workout routine that is second-to-none.
NOTE: This article (and this site) does not purport itself to be a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider for all health and wellness regimens.
You’re reading this, and you’re asking yourself, “This looks promising but where do I begin?” “I certainly do not want to work out like anyone else” or any number of questions and declarations. The point of this article is to get your mind percolating with ideas. Now, the list.
- Jump Rope. Yes, just like back in the day when you saw your sister/cousin/aunt skip rope, they were having a good time (and being healthy while doing it). Also, why do you think that using jump ropes (or skipping as some call it) is and has been a staple for many athletes for so long? It gets the blood racing, you get a great sweat and it can be fun and quite challenging. Also skipping is great for overall lower-body development (especially the calf muscles). The only drawbacks to this exercise is the impact it will have on the joints (ankles, knees).
- This great exercise has been a storied collegiate and Olympic sport for generations. This exercise targets the core, quads, hamstrings, glutes and obviously the shoulders, biceps and triceps. A recent study from Duke University gave the push-pull effect of rowing a higher rating than traditional strength training.
- Biking/Cycling. The benefits are obvious, all without the high impact and the wear and tear running will inflict on the body. Quite possibly, this may very well be the perfect cardiovascular option for those who hate running or for those on the mend. Biking can also strengthen your legs while lengthening your stride. Recent research has shown that you will burn as many calories cycling as you would in a 45-minute spin class. Only drawbacks are: Expensive bikes, PPE (personal protective equipment), a good helmet and expensive clothing for biking.
- This exercise is alternately known as the “squat thrust”. It’s a full-body exercise also used in strength and conditioning programs and also for military training as well. It is a four-count exercise, but can be modified (e.g. push-ups) to a six-count exercise. Benefits: Full-body workout, adds strength, can be done anywhere, builds endurance and builds definition (cuts)
- Mountain Climber Exercise. This overlooked exercise has also been used in many strength and conditioning programs over the years as well as the military. It has traditionally been used to whip recruits (or rookies) into shape . This will get your heart rate up fast! It also fires up every muscle group in the body- delts, triceps, biceps, chest, core and legs. How-to video: https://youtu.be/BERlhtzQ1s
- With the popularity of variety shows like “Dancing with the Stars”, dance has had a revival in recent years. Other popular forms of dance for exercise are Zumba, hip-hop, and ballroom. Studies show that dance is a great calorie burner (over 240 calories per hour). Obviously, stay within the limits of your body. Have fun and lose weight with dance.
- Jumping Jacks. Long a staple of many strength and conditioning, jumping jacks (alternately called “the side-straddle hop”) can be done anywhere and provides great cardio as well as tones muscles and trimming the body. This exercise is a proven fat-burner (e.g. 130-lb person doing vigorous calisthenics/jumping jacks will burn 472 calories per hour) as well.
- Elliptical Machines. These machines are a great low-impact alternative to running. Plus they are very popular, as they are in a lot of gyms. What’s not to like? Select a program on the machine that suits you and away you go. You will most likely get more miles in less time on an elliptical than on the treadmill.
- Step Machines. Offers the same cardio benefits as running- plus strengthens, tones and slims down the glutes, thighs and legs.
- For those who like “the scenic route”, this is for you. Combining nature, nice trails and friends, hiking can be a refreshing and empowering experience that is also a viable alternative to running that will literally take you places (a great way to get your cardio in).
In closing, with these ten alternatives to running, you can have fun and get yourself in shape at the same time. Being flexible and using critical thinking (in this case, studying alternatives to running for weight loss) is a part of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.