Alternatives to Running: Being Pro-Active When Injury Strikes
Let’s face it, whether you’re a serious athlete or a casual gym-goer, you probably don’t like being sidelined with injuries. We’re happiest when we get to play. However, experts advice you not to ignore your injury by training right through it. It’s not the end of the world though, and there are other exercises you can do to stay in shape and avoid further stressing out your pain.
- The Stair Climber
Strengthens leg muscles, tones buttocks and provides a good all-over aerobic workout. Technique is more important here than on any other machine, otherwise you are wasting your time! Don’t support yourself on your elbows or lean in too much. Hold on for balance, still stand fairly upright. These machines are relatively easy on the joints, but people with knee problems should talk to a doctor beforehand.
- The Elliptical Machine
With the elliptical, your feet never leave the footpads—and this is good because that means it’s low impact. It is still weight-bearing though, and this helps maintain and improve bone density. It has a continuous and fluid movement which takes out the stress on your joints. It is a full body workout with great cardiovascular benefits.
- Cycling: Biking Outdoors, Spinning Classes, and Recumbent and Upright Cycle Machines
Biking outdoors, aside from being a great alternative to running, gives you so many other benefits, like experiencing great views, having fun on a group ride, and feeling the wind on your face. It’s gentle on the knees and can help you burn a lot of calories. You’ll develop your quadriceps muscles, gluteal muscles, and hamstring muscles, all of which are necessary in running. Most of the time though, urbanites find it much more convenient to bike indoors, to avoid uncomfortable weather, cars and pollution, dogs, and bad roads. Among the indoor exercise bikes we have the Spinning Bike and the Recumbent and Upright Cycle Machines. The Spinning Bike is excellent because its geometry is very similar to that of a real bike, and the best way to enjoy them is to sign up for spinning classes. These classes are so popular because of the social atmosphere and having an instructor up front telling you what to do is easier and less boring than doing it alone.
Even if you can’t run on the treadmill for now, there’s another way for you to use it—walk! It will give you great aerobic fitness, done at moderate and high intensities. You can even walk everyday if you want to, provided you alternate your efforts between easy and hard.
- Circuit Training
This is a great routine which combines both cardiovascular fitness and resistance training. In the gym, you move from one exercise station to another within a span of 30-90 seconds. You can use a wide variety of equipment such as weights, dumbbells, physioballs, medicine balls, ropes and surgical tubing, and machines. One circuit can include 6-15 stations, and may be counted as one set, with the option of repeating the whole routine 2 or 3 times.
- Deep-Water Running
This is actually number one on my list, and it’s the only one that perfectly simulates running form. There is no impact, it provides a great workout because of water resistance, and it’s good cross-training even if you aren’t injured. Find a pool that is deep enough for you to run in without your feet touching the floor. Invest in a good aquabelt to make your session easier.