Not everyone is excited by the thought of running. While it is one of the most traditional forms of exercise, for some of us, the mere thought of running a few miles causes unnerving dread. Still, we all want to get fit and as healthy as possible. Is there a way to get fit without having to resort to running?
What sort of ways can you get fit without having to run? In order to identify what activity will most benefit you, you must first ask what your fitness goals are. These can range from simply slimming down to being the best “you” you can be. Once you have identified that, you can start getting into the nitty-gritty of making an effective fitness routine.
7 Activities That Aren’t Running
There are plenty of ways to get fit without having to run! You can do any number of activities, including swimming, hiking, biking, weightlifting, kickboxing, rock climbing, and even yoga! What matters in your fitness path is that you get your heart rate up and find a workout that you find fun and invigorating.
If you are not a big fan of running, you may be excited to hear there are activities out there that are equally as effective as going for a run. Some can even help you burn more calories per hour than running does. Finding an alternative to running does not have to be difficult. The hard part is finding one that speaks to you and can work with your schedule.
To help, we have compiled seven different activities that are guaranteed to get your heart pumping and give you an effective regimen while not feeling as dower as you might after a long run. Some require special equipment that is easy to pick up at the store or from your favorite online provider.
Comparative with running, swimming can burn just as much if not more calories per hour. For one hour of vigorous swimming, you can burn up to 650 calories, according to SwimUniversity.com. Because of the drag created by the water as you move through it, it allows you to work your body all over without feeling as tired as quickly due to the cool water telling your brain that it does not need to sweat.
As the 4th most popular sport in the US, it’s no wonder why! It can be as slow as you need it to be to start and then amp up the pace! You can build and tone muscle, raise your endurance, and get your heart beating all in the pool. On top of all that, the aquatic environment is a low impact on joints, making this perfect for any starting point.
Fitness Equipment Needed:
- Pool Pass (optional)
It seems like everyone nowadays is joining a yoga studio, but there is a great reason why. This 5000-year-old exercise provides amazing benefits for practitioners, such as attuning with their body and healing, all while they get their fitness goals accomplished.
It’s more than just a workout. It’s a practice of listening to your body and constantly challenging yourself.
With over 100 forms of yoga in the world, no matter where you are starting from, you can find one that fits your needs, time, and state of mind.
That’s right: Whether you are into heated and power yoga for wearing yourself out or just looking for some stretchy “Yin” practice to grain flexibility, you can find yoga to fit you.
Fitness Equipment Needed:
- Yoga Mat
- Yoga Block
- Comfortable Clothes to Move in, like Leggings
Want a little adventure in your workout? According to BackpackingBlueprint.com, 42.2 million people choose hiking as their outdoor get-healthy activity.
Hiking is not just a physical, but a social activity, where you can get together with a group and explore a trail or new surroundings. It has mental health and physical health benefits for you to gain.
Not only do you get the camaraderie aspect, but you can think of hiking as setting a goal for yourself. Goal-oriented victory can help you continue your fitness regimen as you reach the end of the trail and say to yourself, “I did it.”
Fitness Equipment Needed:
- Good Quality Boots
- Navigation Tools
- Clothes Appropriate to the Weather
Much like hiking, biking can give you a social outlet for your activity while working toward a goal. As a method of transport, it makes it easy to add to your schedule.
Instead of taking a drive to the gas station up the road, why not jump on your bike? You can save the environment, save on gas, and get fit all at once.
It is a low impact choice compared to running, which puts stress on your body as you hit the ground. With cycling or biking, you can get to where you are going, increase your muscles, balance, mental wellness, and reduce your chance of disease.
This means all over wellness for the whole body! Why not try a bike ride instead of driving to the store?
Fitness Equipment Needed:
- A bicycle
- Good Quality Shoes
- Spare Tube and Pump
- Bag For Snacks
When you think of weightlifting, you may naturally think of a person hulking an insane amount over their shoulders. That does not have to be you!
Weight lifting can come in a variety of styles and types, depending on your overall goal. With weight lifting, you can stop muscle degradation and increase coordination, as well as your stamina, balance, and strength.
Some interesting facts about weightlifters are that 60% of them sleep seven or more hours a night restfully than those that don’t.
On top of that, because of their increased musculature, they can burn more calories resting than the average person. Who else can boast of burning crazy amounts of calories while sitting?
Fitness Equipment Needed:
- Barbells & Weights
- Medicine Balls
If you talk to anyone who has tried kickboxing, you will learn quickly: It is not just a self-defense method. It is a whole-body workout. This activity tones all of you as you go through the moves and work up a sweat. Depending on the intensity, you can burn a ton of calories while working the bag over.
This effective activity can help improve your mood, lower stress levels, and increase your endurance and balance all at once. You can make your own kickboxing station right in your own home too.
All you need is some protection, a bag, and some instructions, and you are ready to go! Try kickboxing and see if this full-contact activity inspires your fitness routine!
Fitness Equipment Needed:
- Hand Wraps
- Punch Bags
- Foot Protection
7. Rock Climbing
Want an activity you can do with your friends, which may also burn 600 calories an hour? Rock climbing is an activity rising in popularity due to its explorative nature.
While indoor climbing gyms are available in some places, if you are confident enough, you can travel to parks and open spaces to climb with a bunch of friends.
While it works the core factors of a quality fitness routine, it also increases your grip strength. These are muscles we use every day and do not think about when it comes to fitness, but later in life can deteriorate.
According to Insure4Sport.com, it can be a full-body workout, including your quads, forearm flexors, lats, and abs! Not too, shabby!
Fitness Equipment Needed:
- Climbing ropes
- Climbing helmet
- Climbing shoes
- Belay device
- Chalk & Chalk bag
Make Getting Fit Fun
One of the worst parts of getting fit is knowing that you will do some exhaustive activity before or after a long day.
This mindset can lead to not wanting to get started or dropping the regimen altogether. So before you start any routine seriously, there is one important thing you must consider: Will this be fun for you?
Everybody is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. Find an activity that you find mentally as well as physically engaging.
If you connect with the activity this way, then it will not just be another exercise but something you look forward to. Try something new and exciting.
Suppose you have found an activity but want more ways to have fun, good news! There are many simple things you can do to liven up your fitness routine and make it more fun.
This can be a great help, especially if you are getting bored or disconnected from the activity. Some options are:
- Invite a friend to join you
- Set reward goals
- Make an awesome playlist to listen to while you work out
- Join a fitness app
- Move to an outdoor environment for a change of scenery
- Join an event for people who enjoy your activity
All activities don’t have to be big exercise routines either. There are many little things and activities you can do during your normal day to further your fitness journey and reach your goals without realizing it. These can be fun ways to shake up your day and break from the boring fitness routine doldrums.
Get Back into a Playground Mindset
As children, humans get to have a ton of fun doing many activities without realizing they are exercising. Playgrounds are designed to help kids get all of the excess energy out so they will sit still in class as they are taught lessons.
While grown-ups do not get recess anymore, they can take that playground mentality and bring it into their fitness routines.
All those same activities that made your day like a kid on the black-top can be calorie-burning activities and renew your love of burning calories with nostalgia. For some inspiration, consider the following fun activities that you might have enjoyed in your childhood:
- Jumping Rope
- Wall Ball
- Hula Hooping
- Team Sports, such as dodgeball or wiffleball
These games can help you bring your inner child out and help you burn calories. Whether you go with a solo activity like hula hooping or a team activity like dodgeball, you will be surprised by how easily the rules come back and how complete a fitness activity it can be.
Many fitness studios and gyms are realizing the value of these activities and even have classes for them!
Little Steps to Keep Your Fitness Journey Strong
Sometimes taking a break from working out is not such a bad idea. Whether scheduling issues arise or the body is just worn down, taking a break can be just as beneficial as working out can be in the long run. Most worry that if they divert their attention from their workout, they will lose all the progress they have gained along the way.
What can you do in your downtime to help keep yourself fit? There are plenty of little things you can do to continue your fitness while on a break or even during time away from the gym. By doing some or all of these, you can help your body and yourself stay in the fitness game and do so healthily.
Get a Tracker
Fitness accessories, such as trackers, can be a huge help! There are a huge number of different available fitness trackers available on the market these days. These are designed to help a person achieve a healthier lifestyle and keep in fit condition.
Each has different functions that can help you identify which is best to meet your goals and can even provide helpful reminders to keep fitness at the top of your list.
During a fitness break, you can use a fitness tracker to motivate and achieve mini-goals to maintain overall wellness.
This could be through joining the fitness trackers community and sharing in the social aspects or simply trying to reach a certain number of steps every day. Remember, just 10,000 steps a day is recommended for heart health!
Drink Water and Eat Well
Many of us let our diet slip by without paying much attention to what we are actually eating. After all, if it tastes good, it must be good, right? Wrong.
In fact, your diet can play a big role in how your body performs during the day and especially during a workout. Just because you work out hard, it does not mean a bad diet will be ok.
According to SelectHealth.org, 70 to 80 percent of weight will be lost in the kitchen, while only 20 to 30 percent may come from exercise.
Reaching for the bottled water and swapping out the fries at the lunch line may seem small, but it can make a huge difference in the long run. Not only are you taking in fewer calories, allowing your body to burn fat reserves, but you are putting good stuff in.
It cannot be stressed enough that water is needed for the body to survive. Dehydration is a serious concern for any person.
Drinking the recommended eight glasses a day can ensure you remain hydrated throughout the day and during your workout. This means you will be able to work out harder for longer.
Take Time to Recharge and Selfcare
No one wants to think that their body will fail during a workout, but it can happen. That is why scheduling rest days and taking care of yourself is so important.
Rest days are there to give a body time to recover and make the changes needed to work even harder the next time. This means that even though one is away from the gym, they will come back even stronger the next time!
Selfcare can be pivotal as well to recovery. Nowadays, self-care is a big deal, but for fitness purposes, it can make all the difference in recovery as well as mental fitness.
Taking the time to think about how far you have come and to soak muscles in Epsom salt can allow you to continue to motivate yourself for the next workout!
You wouldn’t try to drive your car 100 miles if the gas tank is on empty. So why push your body when you haven’t slept? Sleep is the ultimate rest period for the body.
While a human is nodding off, their muscles and brain work to recover and to build up stamina for the next day. Without proper sleep, the body does not recover and just will not perform as well when it is asked to.
Exercise and sleep go hand in hand. The better you exercise, the better you can sleep. The better you sleep, the better you will perform in your fitness routine the following day.
It’s a natural cycle to help the body stay fit. Make sure you get adequate amounts of sleep to ensure your body is ready for the next day!
Keep Inspiration and Motivation Flowing
Make an inspiration board! Write little motivational affirmations in your notebook! Do whatever it takes to keep yourself on your fitness journey!
Many people find themselves in a rut, whether it is a lack of enthusiasm for their workouts or they have unknowingly hit a plateau. During these periods, negative thoughts, apathy, or even just avoidance can lead to them dropping their regimen.
Prevent this by taking the time to reinspire your fitness goals on your rest days. Checking out motivational boards on sites like Pinterest or reading stories of others who have achieved their fitness goals can refuel your inspirational tank to get you back on the fitness path!
Simple things like this can revitalize you and your routine!
Can Supplements Help You Get Fit?
Supplements can be a touchy topic for a lot of fitness gurus. While some completely swear by them, others will not touch them with a ten-foot pole.
Despite all this, fitness supplements can be a great way to enhance your fitness and complement the training you are already pursuing. It all depends on if you want to add them in to your routine.
It’s always important before adding in new things to check with your doctor first and see their recommendation.
However, if you choose to go the supplement route, remember the name: Supplement. This means “something added that completes or enhances another thing,” in the Cambridge Dictionary.
These will not replace a workout or fitness activity. They are meant to help during or after the activity when taken at a certain time and increase the body’s performance or recovery in one way or another. Anything that claims to be able to help without the use of exercise should be severely scrutinized before purchase or consumption.
Not sure where to start in the world of supplements? There are several different brands, names, and types out there.
Traveling to your local supplement shop like GNC can be honestly a little overwhelming! We have compiled a shortlist of the more common recommendations on supplements.
Whether you take tea or coffee, your morning cup can greatly affect how you perform during your workout!
Caffeine is known for its metabolism-boosting properties, allowing the body to burn fat more readily as it revs up the body for the day. It also delivers antioxidants, which can be a huge bonus.
It provides a much-needed energy boost during a workout, allowing the body to continue for a bit longer than it usually might.
As always, proceed with caution on how much you intake as too much of anything can be a bad thing. However, it is a great addition to those looking to get their minds and bodies awake!
Looking for a supplement to help with building muscle? Many swear by Creatine. This supplement works to give energy boosts to the cells in your body, providing a two-fold effect. First, it helps the body endure longer workouts, allowing for additional reps.
The second effect is that it works with the body’s natural recovery to build muscle.
On PubMed.gov, an abstract was published stating that of 300 studies that evaluated the potential egocentric value of Creatine, 70% reported statistically significant results.
This can be a great sign of the performance of this supplement. As always, make sure you read the information on the label and decide if it fits your fitness goals.
Humans naturally need protein, but why? Protein can help the body with several different functions. In terms of fitness, it can help with the building and recovery of muscles after a hard workout. If weight loss is your goal, it can also help your stomach feel fuller for a longer period of time, allowing you to better manage eating habits.
While there is much debate over whether it is better to eat your protein or supplement with protein powders, the one thing everyone can agree on is that protein is important.
Whether you choose to take it as eating your eggs for breakfast or making a quick to-go protein shake, you are sure to not go wrong.
What Makes A Fitness Routine Effective?
The key to finding a path to fitness is choosing an activity that helps you work on the following factors: flexibility, cardio, balance, and strength.
An ideal routine will have exercises or activities that work on each of these to provide an all-around better regimen! Just how do these all work together, and which is the most important?
Sorry to say, all of these factors have equal importance to shaping your fitness. Without flexibility, you can overextend and strain yourself during a workout. Without cardio and strength, you will not be able to build stamina and endurance for long sessions. Balance is key for coordination. Each of these factors works together to create all-around fitness.
If you have a specific fitness goal, you can, however, weight your routine towards that end. For example, if your goal is to reduce pressure in your joints, flexibility and strength training may be the best path for you. If you are looking to increase your stamina for hanging out with your kids, cardio is a great thing to focus on.
While you can weight your routine differently, there is one factor that should come up each and every time: it should get your heart pumping. Remember, consider it a work out, and you have to reach a certain threshold in heart rate to get your body to burn calories and get started on your fitness journey.
Improving Your Fitness Doesn’t Mean Running!
If you want to get fit, your life does not have to be running. By choosing an activity you enjoy and find fun, fitness can be a great journey and not just another thing you have to do.
Maintaining healthy habits and adding little things to your day can be a great addition to your fitness regimen and help you stay on the path to a better you. Get started today with your new fitness journey!