Of all the fat-burning forms of cardio, running is one of the most effective and straightforward options you can choose from. Studies from Finland, Brazil, and elsewhere globally all point to running as a fantastic way to burn fat. Still, a lot of people can’t run for various reasons, making them wonder which exercises are good for fat loss if you can’t run?
Anyone who can’t run can choose from a number of other exercises that are great for fat loss. That includes walking, elliptical training, rowing, swimming, and even bodyweight strength exercises. All of these exercises can be done at various intensities to burn calories and help your body lose fat.
In this article, we’re going to explore each of these alternatives to running. That way, you can stay active and continue losing fat, even when things are preventing you from enjoying running.
Let’s jump straight into it!
There are plenty of reasons why a person can’t do any running. Some are short-term reasons, like an injury that needs to heal before engaging in any high-impact exercises. Others might be longer-term, like more severe physical injuries or physical disabilities.
Whatever the case might be, rest assured that there’s an alternative to running for you, and we’ll dive deeper into them in this article.
The following are the best alternative exercises to running that you can rely on for fat loss. You’ll notice that the first four options are cardio exercises, while the final one is a form of strength training. Don’t worry, we’ll explain!
First and foremost, don’t forget about good old-fashioned walking! Sure, walking is a lot less intense compared to running, and it might even feel like a level lower than running at full speed. However, it’s still an effective form of cardio that will help your body continue to burn fat.
Suppose you prefer training at higher intensities than slow walking. If that’s the case, you can increase your walk’s intensity with some minor adjustments.
For instance, you can engage in power walking, where you walk at a much faster pace with a larger gait, but not to the point where you’d be running.
Besides that, you can also walk at an incline to make it more challenging. If you’re walking around your neighbourhood, look for slopes and hills that you can use for this purpose. Walk up and down that hill repeatedly for an intense, fat-burning workout session!
Of course, this would be much easier to do if you’re walking on a treadmill. One significant benefit of using a treadmill is that you can adjust the incline as much and as often as you wish.
Typically, people avoid running because of the impact and stress that it causes their knees. If you have access to a gym, you might be able to use an elliptical machine instead of running.
That machine is fantastic because it helps you perform movements that are similar to that of running. On some elliptical machines, you can even adjust the incline just like on a treadmill. Plus, many of them also allow you to increase the resistance to challenge your leg muscles even more.
Even without a gym, you could choose to invest in an elliptical machine for your home. There are plenty of models on the market that cater to all budgets.
Looking for an alternative to running that doesn’t use much of your lower body? Well, look no further than rowing! This fat-blasting workout emphasises the movements of your upper body, although your legs still have a minor role to play.
Like some other cardio forms, rowing can be done as a sport out on the water, or it can be done indoors with a machine. Your gym probably has a few rowing machines in the cardio section, and you could buy yourself one for your home if you’d like.
Some might even argue that this form of cardio is much better than running, and not just because it protects your joints. Rowing is known for engaging many more muscles than running, which burns more calories and speeds up your fat loss!
If being on the water isn’t enough, you can dive right in and start swimming! Swimming is a popular exercise by itself, but it’s also a preferred alternative to running for many people. For instance, those recovering from injuries and who want to continue exercising for fat loss without hurting themselves often prefer swimming instead.
One helpful aspect of swimming is that you do not have to engage your legs at all if that’s necessary. Plus, being in the water adds plenty of resistance to your movements, forcing your muscles to work harder and burn more calories in the process.
Yes, you can use bodyweight strength exercises as an alternative to cardio. But how?
Well, rather than focus purely on how many reps you can do, learn to use several different exercises together in a circuit. This is often referred to as circuit training.
The burpee is a perfect example of this. Even though it’s a form of bodyweight strength training, it does a fantastic job of training your cardiovascular system as well. That’s because the movements engage all of the muscles in your body, and the repetitive nature of those movements challenges your heart and lungs at the same time.
Exercises like the burpee are very efficient at burning calories and raising your metabolism, leading to more significant fat loss overall.
Firstly, this article has shown that there are plenty of alternatives to running when it comes to fat loss. So, don’t feel discouraged if you can’t run for whatever reason. Your fat loss can continue with the combination of good nutrition and the alternative exercises mentioned above.
No matter what exercise you choose to do, always remember this: the best exercise for fat loss is whichever one you can do (and enjoy!) consistently.