Running is a cardiovascular exercise par excellence…
But, truth be told, hitting the pavement is just one cardio option, and there are other ways, more and less beneficial to some degree, to get a cardio kick. Sometimes a little bit of change can do wonders to motivation and training consistency—especially if you are injured, burned out, or just bored.
Try these fitness boosting cardio alternatives to revive your training routine and help increase your fitness like never before.
Skipping is awesome for many reasons. This amazing workout can help you build speed, power, and agility in your legs without having to leave the comfort of your home.
How it does that?
First of all, skipping builds lower body strength—especially in the calves—and improves core power and endurance—fundamental aspects of building a powerful and injury free runner.
Jumping rope on a regular basis can help you improve speed, power, balance, coordination, and endurance, all of which are essential elements when it comes to becoming the best runner you can be. Not only that, the rope also burns tons of calories.
The only downside of jump rope training that I can think of is that it’s high impact. As a result, if you have any sort of serious injury, you should go easy on the rope and stay within your fitness level the entire time.
Rowing is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise that targets the back, core, quads, hamstrings, glutes, as well as the shoulders and the arms, of course. And with the right training form, you can target your abs, chest, triceps and biceps muscles in one continuous and non-stop motion and action.
In fact, the movement of pushing and pulling on a rowing machine might be more effective than traditional strength training since it hits and targets almost all of the major muscle groups.
Rowing is also very low impact, so it’s an ideal alternative for runners recovering from an injury or looking for a low-impact cardio option.
3. The Stairs
According to research, walking up 200 steps at least twice a day, five days a week for a duration of two months can lead to an increase in VO2 max by up to 17 percent. Which is great.
Not only that, but you also have to engage more leg muscles on the stairs since you have to constantly lift up your body upward with each step you take. This boosts overall lower body strength like nothing else. What’s more? The stairs are also easier on the joints than classic sprints while also improving your range of motion and agility.
To get the most of the stairs, be sure to switch it up between running, skipping, jumping, hopping and squatting.
Cycling works the lungs and the cardiovascular system in a similar manner to running, but without the high impact often associated with the sport.
For starters, this is one of the best workouts for shedding mad calories while building up muscles and power in the core, glutes, thighs, and legs. Also, cycling is low impact, so it’s easier on the body and the perfect cardio option for anyone nursing an injury.
And it’s also the ideal calorie burner. In fact, research shows that you can burn as many calories as you would during a 45-minutes run during a typical spinning class. Not only that, cycling can also increase your stride length and speed.
If you are a running fanatic, but are suffering from joint pain or an injury, then swimming might be the exact thing the doctor ordered.
Swimming can push your body and cardiovascular system to the max without so much impact on your joints—making it the ideal cardio fitness booster for runners looking to reduce impact on their bodies and/or recovering from an injury.
In fact, hitting the pool for an hour, at least three times per week for ten weeks can increase VO2 max by up 10 percent. Not only that, swimming also target almost every muscle in the upper body, making it for an excellent resistance training option.
6. Bodyweight Training
Last but not least, you can also get a great cardio workout without reaching for the rope, hopping on the rowing machine, hitting the pool, or purchasing an expensive bike.
Enter the world of the bodyweight training.
Bodyweight training is easily scalable, convenient and mostly low impact, meaning you can do it in the comfort of your own house without paying for hefty gym fees or purchasing any expensive training equipment. All you need is your body, a bit of space, and off you go.
Some of the best bodyweight cardio exercises include high knees, power skips, butt kicks, jumping jacks, bounding, plyo push-ups, squat jumps, box jumps, and burpees. The list is almost endless.
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