Has a recent injury kept you from your regular running schedule? Or are you someone who prefers to run only when you're being chased? Either way, we've got you covered. Read on to learn more about these three excellent exercise alternatives—all quick calorie-burners that will help you shed pounds just as effectively as running.
As exercise routines go, kickboxing is a powerhouse. In addition to engaging your arms, torso, legs, back, and shoulders all at once, it's one of the best cardio workouts you can do. There's no need for special equipment; all you need are some comfortable, form-fitting clothes and enough space to move around. If you aren't sure where to begin, try the simple speedbag shuffle. Get into position with your feet hip-width apart. Clench your fists and raise your arms in front of your chest with elbows bowed out to either side. Next, move quickly from side to side and move your fists in a revolving circle as if hitting an invisible speed bag as quickly as you can for thirty seconds.
If you miss the activity of running but are hoping for a lower-impact way to reap that same benefit, consider taking it to the pool or the lake. Water bears more resistance than air, so you can burn about seventeen calories per minute by water jogging. You can also alternate the activity with regular swimming. The butterfly stroke is a particularly great way to torch calories, and it helps define the muscles in your arms and abs, too.
Cycling is another activity that's easier on the hips and knee joints than jogging, and it lets you achieve your optimum heart rate in no time. You'll also build muscle in your quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes—and the higher the percentage of muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn, even on rest days. Best of all, you don't need to wait for good weather. Stationary cycling can be just as effective as the outdoor type as long as you set the controls to the appropriate difficulty level.
Whether you're an exercise junkie seeking new ways to get that daily fix of endorphins or a couch surfer hoping to shed some extra pounds, these simple, low-impact workouts are bound to make a positive difference in your routine. Even hard-core distance runners won't miss the miles once they've given one of these workouts a try.
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