What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word exercise?
Often when we think of exercise and how to get fit, running is the first thing that comes to mind.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, running is a phenomenal form of exercise and most serious runners are in great shape!
However, for many people, the thought of running produces an overwhelming feeling of dread and discomfort.
Not everyone enjoys running or even wants to enjoy it, and that’s OK!
There are so many fun and different ways to get fit and healthy so don’t worry if running isn’t your favorite.
If you do happen to enjoy running, don’t be afraid to look outside the box and try new things! Mixing up your routine will help you get stronger, fitter, and you will enjoy all life has to offer.
My hope is you will find an activity you love that will change your outlook on what it means to exercise.
If you really want to improve your health and fitness, not to mention your body composition, you need to find a form of exercise you enjoy, fits your goals, and is challenging at the same time.
[bctt tweet=”find a form of exercise you enjoy, fits your goals, and is challenging at the same time.”]
The following are some of my favorite alternatives to running and are excellent ways to get fit!
How to Get Fit Without Running
If you have sensitive or achy joints, swimming is an excellent way to get your heart pumping, helps build and maintain muscle mass, and can increase your range of motion and flexibility.
When you swim you essentially are using every muscle in your body so it is a great calorie burner.
Swimming for just 30 minutes burns anywhere from 200-400 calories!
Swimming also improves your lung capacity and strengthens your heart.
If swimming is your jam, try intervals to burn extra fat. You can also check out this swim inspired workout.
2. Rock Climbing
Rock climbing has become a recent favorite of mine. It is such an amazing workout, both physically and mentally. Every climb is like a puzzle your brain has to figure out and I love that!
I view rock climbing as a unique form of strength training. You use almost every muscle in your body to grab, pull, and push your way to the top of a wall or cliff.
It’s excellent for building stamina, muscle strength, and endurance.
Honestly, I attribute my being able to do pull-ups to my time climbing in the gym. It’s awesome for building upper body strength!
Mentally, rock climbing has been shown to increase concentration and problem-solving skills.
One hour of rock climbing burns about 500 calories and will leave you feeling with an awesome sense of accomplishment!
If you’re a seasoned climber, check out this killer training sytle workout.
First of all, who doesn’t like hiking?!
Not only is hiking a fabulous way to get out and see some stunning scenery, it is a great way to build some endurance and better develop the muscles in your core and lower body.
Depending on the difficulty of your hike, hiking can burn some mega calories, anywhere from 300-600 an hour!
Hiking is pretty inexpensive and is an adventurous way to get in shape fast. Just be sure to be prepared when you go!
Be sure to look up weather, any possible dangers, and how to be safe on your hike!
If you a fellow Utahn, check out this video featuring some of Utah’s best hikes.
Just like swimming, biking is an excellent low-impact way to get fit. Whether you are powering your way up a mountain or speeding through town, biking…
- Increases the strength of your legs, hips, and glutes.
- It increases endurance and coordination.
- For someone new to fitness, biking is an excellent way to lose weight.
- Road biking at a moderate pace for one hour burns just under 500 calories while mountain biking for the same amount of time burns about 540 calories.
- Biking is also a healthy way to travel! Riding your bike to work or school instead of driving is better for your health and as a bonus is environmentally friendly.
Win win! Just remember to always wear your helmet!
If you’re not really into outdoor biking or you don’t have a bike, indoor cycling is just as effective and can help you get fit.
5. Kickboxing or MMA
Want to get out of your comfort zone and have a TON of fun? Try a martial arts based workout! You wouldn’t think throwing some punches and high kicks would be much of a workout, but
You wouldn’t think throwing some punches and high kicks would be much of a workout, but wow is it exhausting!
There is something really exhilarating about kicking the trash out of an invisible opponent. It is so FUN!
Fortunately, MMA and Kickboxing studios are becoming increasingly common and at most places your first time is free!
If a class setting is not for you, simply finding an MMA or boxing video works great too. (I personally love using P90X3’s MMX!)
During a boxing workout, you will build stamina, strength, coordination, and you will feel like a freakin’ boss.
Ok, real talk. I have SO MUCH respect for dancers.
They make something that is very physically demanding look easy and beautiful!
I’m horrible at dancing, but I still enjoy it as a break from my regular routine.
Whether you are playing Just Dance in your basement by yourself (guilty) or out country dancing with your best friends, dancing is a great workout!
You get all the basic health benefits such as cardiovascular enhancement, muscle endurance, and flexibility.
Like other forms of exercise, dancing can melt away stress and provides a great way to meet new people and have fun. It can also boost memory.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and it’s no wonder! Yoga’s health benefits come in all varieties.
Flexibility gains are obviously a big one, but religiously practicing yoga will lengthen and lean out your muscles, giving you that coveted toned look.
Yoga has also been known to help reduce back and arthritis pain.
Since it’s low impact, almost anyone can get involved, even your 80-year-old grandmother.
Yoga’s meditative quality is perfect for stress relief and improving your emotional and mental health.
There are several different types of yoga and each have their own unique differences. Find out which one you would enjoy most and take a class or hop on YouTube and find hundreds of free teachers.
My favorite YouTube yogi is Yoga with Adriene.
Want to know a fitness secret?
Weight lifting is probably THE best way to get fit.
Why? You’ll build lean, beautiful muscle. Muscle is what keeps you looking young, fit, and healthy.
You could say it’s the fountain of youth.
[bctt tweet=”Muscle is the fountain of youth, and lifting is the best way to build muscle. “]
Lifting is critical for not only building muscle but for maintaining it.
Adults start losing muscle mass in their 30s, losing as much as 5-10% each decade after. Don’t let this be you! Begin a strength program NOW!
Muscle keeps you young, strong, and active.
Ladies, please don’t be afraid of picking up some weights! Don’t believe the myth that the weight room is only for the guys and that if you start lifting you will look like a dude.
Don’t believe the myth that the weight room is only for the guys and that if you start lifting you will look like a dude. It is simply not the case! Lifting leans you out and will give you a beautiful shape!
When starting a strength training program, start out with simple moves that focus on stability, core strength and will improve your functional fitness.
This will provide your critical foundation as you progress with heavier weight and more complex moves.
Being Fit Should Be FUN
There’s no one way to get fit.
The best way to get fit is to find forms of exercise you enjoy and that you’ll keep coming back to. Consistency is key!
If your goal is to improve your fitness try one of these alternatives to running and you’ll be well on your way to a healthy fit body.
What are your favorite ways to get and stay fit? Let me know in the comments!