Running consistently can reduce blood pressure and resting heart rate, improve blood sugar control, lower cholesterol and triglycerides, and decrease waist circumference and body fat percentage. Improving these health indicators can lower your disease risk and feel healthier overall.
But running daily increases your risk of overuse injuries like stress fractures, shin splints, and muscle tears. So instead, give your body enough time to rest and repair by running three to five days a week.
So, for those days when you take a break from running, you can try these exercises that burn more calories than running.
1. Battle ropes
Battle ropes provide a full-body workout, improve cardiorespiratory fitness, enhance athletic performance, and can be performed sitting down. Swinging a rope may seem easy at first. Still, you will be surprised at the difficulty of lifting and moving those heavy ropes, especially for prolonged periods .
How to do battle rope exercise:
- Keeping one rope in each hand, place your feet hip-width apart.
- Bring your shoulders back, bend your knees slightly, and engage your core.
- Swing both ropes simultaneously to just below shoulder height, and then lowering them again will appear as a wave along the ropes.
- Bring the ropes back up as soon as possible.
- Continue the motion without stopping.
- For 30 seconds, continue to perform this movement.
- Afterwards, take a 30-second break and repeat the exercise for 3 to 4 repetitions.
2. Walking lunges
The walking lunge is a variation of the stationary lunge exercise. In place of standing upright after performing a static bodyweight lunge, you walk forward by lunging out with the other leg. The movement is repeated for a specified number of repetitions. In addition to strengthening the leg muscles, walking lunges also strengthen the core, hips, and glutes .
- Place your hands on your hips or side as you stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Step forward with your right leg, placing your weight on your heel.
- As you lower your right knee, ensure it is parallel to the floor in a lunge position. Take a moment to pause.
- Repeat the movement on your left leg without moving your right leg. In a lunge position, pause as your left leg is parallel to the floor.
- As you lunge, repeat this movement while walking forward with alternate legs.
- Repeat the exercise on each leg ten to twelve times – and perform 2 to 3 sets.
Swimming is one of the most effective methods of burning calories. Swimming can burn more than 200 calories in just half an hour, which is more than double the amount burned by walking. It helps strengthen your upper body and tones your chest, stomach, arms (particularly your triceps) and your back. In addition to improving flexibility and suppleness, it improves posture by stretching the body out .
4. Indoor rock climbing
As a full-body workout, indoor climbing benefits cardio and strength. This exercise works your shoulders, especially your deltoids, and your biceps and triceps; complex climbing movements use both your arms and legs, which triggers your core. It strengthens your muscles while being low impact, improves your flexibility, strengthens your heart and lungs, and helps improve coordination .
5. Agility ladder
Agility ladder training has improved your speed, agility and quickness by strengthening your ligaments, joints and tendons . In addition, studies have also shown that doing agility ladder workouts can positively impact one’s brain health .
How to do agility ladder workout:
You don’t need an agility ladder to do these drills. You can draw one on your driveway with sidewalk chalk, use floor tiles, or simply imagine the squares on your floor as you do the workout .
For warm-up: Warm up by walking on the treadmill or around your neighbourhood for five minutes; this will get your heart pumping and muscles ready.
- Take one step at a time.
- Step each foot into the square, making your way to the other end.
- Turn around and go back to where you started.
6. Kettlebell swings
The benefits of kettlebell swings include improved cardiovascular fitness, strength, and power. A high-intensity yet low-impact workout, these workouts can burn a substantial number of calories quickly, making them convenient for people with busy schedules .
How to do kettlebell swings:
- Hold a kettlebell with both hands, palms facing you, and arms straight down while standing with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- As you inhale, push your hips back and bend your knees slightly to bring the kettlebell between your legs. Maintain a straight back and engage your core throughout the exercise.
- As you exhale, contract your glutes and push your hips forward to lift your body into a standing position.
- Swing the kettlebell as far as it will naturally go with your arms.
- As you raise the kettlebell, you should aim to have it at shoulder height or parallel to the ground, but you should not use your arm strength.
- Finding your rhythm and optimizing the lift may take a few swings.
- As you inhale, lower the kettlebell between your legs by pushing your hips back and bending your knees slightly – this is one rep.
- Do 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps or continue for as long as you can (e.g., five minutes).
A burpee is a challenging exercise that simultaneously works many of the body’s major muscle groups. The burpee is two exercises: a push-up and a leap in the air. This exercise helps burn calories, provides a full-body workout, enhances cardio fitness and burns fat .
How to do burpees:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Place your hands on the floor and lower yourself into a squat position.
- To return to a plank position, kick or step your legs back.
- To return to a squat position, jump or step your legs forward.
- Stand up again.
Beginners can perform seven-minute burpees, while advanced users can perform five minutes (because they are doing burpees more quickly; they might complete 40 burpees in five minutes versus 20 in ten minutes when they are beginners).
8. Jumping rope
Skipping or jumping rope-based physical activity is one of the best aerobic or cardio exercise forms. It is easy to perform, super convenient and can be done anywhere.
In addition, studies say that jumping rope has many health benefits, such as aids weight loss, boosting brain and heart health, and improving stamina and flexibility, some even more than other physical activities like walking or jogging .
9. Tabata jumping squats
Tabata is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program that elevates your heart rate and burns many calories. Tabata jumping squats, a four-minute miracle Tabata protocol, burn significant amounts of calories during and after a workout .
How to do Tabata jumping squats:
- Try to squat as low as possible and hold that position for a moment.
- Jump as high as possible by using as much force as you can generate from your legs.
- Place your feet quickly where they were before you jumped and repeat the process.
- Continue for a further 20 seconds.
- Take a few seconds to catch your breath.
- Continually repeat this pattern for four minutes.
Boxing is an excellent cardio workout that burns a significant amount of calories. Cardio boxing workouts burn more calories than other forms of cardiovascular exercise. As a result, boxing develops cardiovascular strength and endurance more effectively than many other forms of exercise .
On A Final Note…
An effective form of cardiovascular exercise, running offers a variety of benefits, from strengthening your joints to improving your mood. But running can also be mentally draining, especially if you always run the same spots. So on those days when you are not in the mood to run, try these workouts.
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Story first published: Friday, August 12, 2022, 14:41 [IST]