Many of us don't like to run. We think it's boring, tedious, or just plain hurts. Here are some workouts to get your heart pumping without having to run.
Bicycle. Go out for a bike ride. It's easier on your knees and builds more strength in your legs. Which will make you faster when you actually do decide to run. For a more intense experience try doing Hills. Aside from the physical benefits, it's just a nice way to tour unknown parts of your neighborhood.
Jump rope. Many of us have not done this since grade school, however it's an incredible workout. It may take some time to get back the coordination but it's worth it. After just two minutes of jumping rope most people are in their aerobic zone, breathing hard and building endurance. Keep it up for a bit longer and you'll start to build muscle endurance in your shoulders from holding the rope up for an extended period of time. No wonder professional boxers and martial artist use this as their go-to exercise.
Airdyne bike. This is an often overlooked and underappreciated tool. The Airdyne bike allows you to use your arms as well as your legs to propel the wheel. The wheel is a fan that uses air resistance to match your intensity level so the harder you pedal the more resistance is produced. What makes this tool so valuable is that you can just use your arms. So now on those days when your legs are too sore to run, bike, or jump rope you have an option to do cardio just using your arms.
Hopefully this list of non-running workouts helps you to mix things up!
Scott Bitterman, CSCS
Recently someone became upset with me when I called a 40 minute period when our high school students were allowed free time to be “recess”. In today’s high stakes testing, high accountability, and highly competitive environment we could use more recess.
Remember when recess was the highlight of your day? We would play games, catch up with friends, and get out our nervous energy to return to class with a renewed demeanor to learn. Who misses that in their daily routine? I know I do.
A study at Stockholm University and Karolinska Institute has shown that productivity goes up with exercise, especially in the middle of the day. But where is the motivation? Not many people want to run on a treadmill. It's boring. Introducing games however, taps into our playful and competitive spirit. How great would it be to play a game with friends; or for some of us, to throw a dodgeball at a co-worker?
The monotony of our day must be broken. Those problems we were agonizing over before lunch will often be easily solved after stepping away from them for a while and thinking about something else. Or taking some time to breathe and think about nothing at all.
When you think about your day as a whole, taking a break is not wasted time. If getting out helps you to be more efficient during the times when you're working then you become more productive. Spending double the time working and getting half as much done equals less productivity.
This of course would make people happier. The same Stockholm study showed that a happy worker is a productive worker. A happier worker is also there more often and spending less company money on doctor appointments and mental health days. It's not just about the bottom line. It's about living happier and more enjoyable working lives.
Let’s bring recess beyond grade schools. We've struck a chord with elementary students. Let’s learn from them and play!
Physical Education Teacher, Strength Coach, Owner of Emerge Athletics
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). "Exercise at work boosts productivity, Swedish researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110906121011.htm>.
Ulrica von Thiele Schwarz, Henna Hasson. Employee Self-rated Productivity and Objective Organizational Production Levels. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2011; 53 (8): 838 DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e31822589c2
Subjects & Authors