Try these calorie-blasting exercises—no running involved!
Running is a high-impact exercise that works for some and just does not work for others. The constant heel-to-pavement pounding places a lot of pressure on your joints, which can create new injuries or sustain past ones. But, cardio is so good for you! How do you incorporate a low-impact version of cardio while still torching those calories? Here are four exercises to try.
Rowing is the dark horse of cardio. A lot of people don't realize how much sweat you can work up with this push-and-pull exercise. Did you know rowing involves (and kills) your whole body? When you perform the exercise correctly, the majority of your power should be coming from your legs as your core keeps you steady and your upper body squeezes together at the top to complete a full row. Many think that the calorie burn comes from rowing fast. However, you are more likely to compromise your form and power when you start pumping too quickly. You can achieve the full benefits of this workout by staying steady, holding your abs close, and keeping your feet strapped in tight.
Have you ever joined a spin class? It's pretty epic. You have a drill sergeant screaming at you from the front, music blasting in your ears, and sweat dripping from all facets of your body. It's quite the experience. But, you don't have to join the class if you can't fit the class times into your schedule. Climb on the stationary bike at your gym and blast your own motivating music. You will quickly feel the burn in your quads, hammies, and glutes, and see why it's just as intense as running. You can also practice intervals of sprinting and then slow down to a steady cycle and breathe while you enjoy the ride.
Stair climbing works wonders on your butt, quads, and calves! But, this fat-burning exercise doesn't require speed or high-impact. You can turn your stair climber to a slower setting and still feel your heart and lungs pumping as you ascend the never-ending staircase. If you don't have a gym membership, you can find a flight of stairs at a local park or parking structure and simply work in sets of descent and ascent on the staircase you do have. No matter where you climb, try adding some ankle weights for an added lower body burn!
I've written about the benefits of swimming before, but I have to mention it again in this low-impact exercise blog post—because it's the absolute best option for athletes who need a break from the pounding and grinding but still want an intense workout. No matter how much pain you are in, the water makes you feel weightless by relieving all of the pressure that gravity places on your muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones. It takes a little bit of breath work up front to figure out your stroke, but you will soon feel the leaning and toning benefits of this low-impact cardio exercise.