Running is a great form of exercise. It promotes, cardiovascular efficiency, burn calories and it stimulates the release of those feel good endorphins that promote a happy mood.
Yet, many people also find running boring, while others have joint issues that restrict their running ability. Running is also a weather dependent activity. In this article, we provide you with 5 running alternatives that will actually burn more calories in less time, while keeping your mind stimulated and your joints safe.
Running Alternative #1: Kettlebell Swings
The kettlebell swing is a deceptively simple exercise that can be quickly picked up by the majority of people. This is a great exercise for developing the posterior chain, which is the whole back side of your body. Plus, they burn a whole lot of calories.
In a study that was sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) study, participants calorie burn literally went off the charts when doing High Intensity Interval Training using the Kettlebell Swing. The average caloric burn was 20.2 calories per minute, which is the equivalent of running at a 6 mile per hour pace (1).
The beauty of the kettlebell swing is that it combines both aerobic and anaerobic training in one fluid motion.
Perform the two handed kettlebell swing by standing with a kettle held in front of your body and palms facing out. Your feet should be a little wider than shoulder width apart and your toes pointing slightly out. Now, with a slight knee bend drive the hips back and drop down slightly. Next, drive the hops forward to bring the kettlebell up to shoulder level.
Running Alternative #2: Jumping Rope
Jumping rope is a simple exercise that scorches calories like few other movements. 60 seconds of jumping rope will torch as many calories as a hard out game of basketball or a run at 6 mph – that’s between 13-16 calories depending on how hard you skip.
Jumping rope is also a great exercise to bring on the excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect. That means that, even after you hang up your jump rope, you will still be burning calories at an extended rate for the next 48 hours.
Of course, jumping rope is the ultimate in portable exercise. All you need is a rope and a couple feet of space and you’re set to go. Plus, it is an extremely time efficient form of working out. Ten minutes of skipping will give you the same level of calorie burn as an 8-mile jog.
Running Alternative #3: Rowing
Rowing is a great combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise that blasts through a whole lot of calories. If you are rowing vigorously (try to maintain 200 watts), you will get through about 816 calories in an hour. At the same time, you will be giving a strenuous workout to your lats, your thighs, glutes, shoulders and biceps.
Rowing is an exercise that allows you to keep tabs on how you are doing every second. That allows you to adjust your speed or tempo to stay on track. The rowing machine is also a safe piece of low impact equipment, so you can go all out without injury.
Proper technique is vital on the rowing machine. Begin each strike by pushing from the thighs rather than pulling with the biceps. You want the pulley to stay parallel to the ground throughout the movement, so be sure to keep your wrists lined up with the handles. Never round your back when on the rowing machine, but maintain neutral spine at all times.
Running Alternative #4: Spin Cycling
A spin cycle workout is a fun group activity that will get the sweat pouring off your body as it churns through the calories. A three quarter of an hour session will go through about 500 calories. Spinning is a more low impact workout than running, which will also build a greater level of cardiovascular endurance.
Spinning allows you to build muscle tone. When you cycle on a stationary position, you are also maximally stimulating the muscles of your core area. As bonus, a spin class is an engaging, social and challenging way to get your workout in.