Without a doubt running is really good for your body: It builds bone density, it gets you into crazy shape by building endurance, and it makes your heart strong and revs your metabolism. Running also burns an impressive 10 calories per minute, making it one of the top cardiovascular choices for losing weight. But running isn’t for everyone. It can be tough on your joints (especially your knees and ankles). It can also increase your chances of overuse injuries such as tendinitis. Believe it or not, it can also be tough on your bladder. And lastly, some people just don’t like the feeling of running!
The good news is that you don’t have to run to burn mega calories and get into great shape! Here are four cardio exercises that will keep your heart pumping and your metabolism kicking just as well as if you were running. They not only burn lots of calories but they also work different muscles, keeping you stronger and healthier.
1. Indoor rowing is a total body trainer that not only works your core and legs but is also one of the best exercises for building the muscles in your back, arms, and chest. It’s a great option because it’s low impact and the risk of injury is very low. Also, studies show that the rhythmic movement of rowing is calming and good for stress management. It burns an impressive 12.5 calories per minute.
2. Jumping rope is a great exercise that can be done anywhere without expensive equipment. Because it requires quite a bit of coordination, it works your body and brain at the same time. Studies show that this is good for relaxing your body and helps to further improve coordination and agility. It also helps fight degenerative brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Additionally, the exercise itself improves foot and ankle stability, increases endurance, improves bone density, and strengthens your heart. Jumping rope burns 13 calories per minute at moderate intensity (100-120 skips per minute).
3. Cross-country skiing is one of the most phenomenal total body workouts that you can choose because it employs virtually every muscle group. The push/pull motion is great for building balanced strength that’s low impact. It’s also an effective way to strengthen your core, upper body, and cardiovascular system. If you choose to ski outside, the connection with nature is considered one of the best stress-management therapies. Cross-country skiing burns 12 calories per minute.
And last but by no means least:
4. Fat biking is a crazy, fun activity in which you pedal heavy, hard-to-turn monster bikes on various terrains. Because you’re maneuvering a bike over places like wet stone, muddy paths, snowy hills, and sandy beaches, it’s an unbelievably effective cardiovascular workout that strengthens your legs, core, and heart. The bikes are specially made and have only one speed, so you must keep working extra hard up hills, employing all of the muscles in your body to continue. It’s also great for balance and is low impact. Fat biking burns a whopping 25 calories per minute!