Everybody does it at one point in their lifetime, but as time passes, our bodies age and yield to the clock, making it more and more difficult to continue to do it; at least at a rapid pace. And although we used to enjoy it so much, most of us trend towards the “Never Will Do It Again” end of the spectrum, rather than the “I Need to Do It, Even If it Hurts” end. No, I’m not talking about sex (although that topic will come up in this article), I’m referring to the art of running.
Yes, you may have never looked at running as an art-form at all, but from a therapist perspective, it is all that and so much more. To define running more clearly, one should look at it from a kinesiologist’s point of view.
At baseline, walking is merely catching one self’s center of gravity (imaginary section of the body – usually mid-line in the trunk – where your center of mass is located) back over your base of support. This entails rotating the pelvis and advancing both lower extremities one at a time. There is also a lateral shift from side to side and slight elevation during what we therapists call the “Gait Cycle.” All this equates to (when done successfully) is produce efficient walking speed with a nominal cadence.
But running is another ball game in and of itself. It involves moments of both feet being off the ground simultaneously, multiple muscle groups contracting and relaxing at high velocities in order to maintain speed and efficiency.
And let’s not forget the coordination between the arms and legs, while maintaining an erect spine. Thankfully, the brain modulates all these activities at a subconscious level and we barely have to break a sweat to do it; only to maintain it over time.
But again, like I said earlier, it’s just not an easy activity to perform as we get older and although it is an amazing way to burn calories, it really, really hurts. Believe me, I know. After running competitively for over 10 years, the only thing I run now is my mouth! Holla back!
But I digress. Whether you hate running or you love it, you need to know some alternatives to running because t’s great to switch it up a bit every now and then and challenge your body in different ways to get results. So I’m going to spill the beans on 6 OTHER ways to get’er done.
- Swimming – as many as eight different muscle groups can be activated in just one stroke! Both upper and lower body muscles get in on the fun.
- Jumping Rope – easily burns at least 13 calories per minute while using more muscles than jogging, and also challenges balance and coordination.
- Indoor Rowing – you seen people sitting on the stationary machines right? Well, you can average 12.5 calories per minute with this exercise. 30 minutes, equals 375!!!
- SEX – oh yeah! By average men burn 100 calories while women expend 69 (yes, 69) during the average sex session, as reported by research from the University of Montreal. FYI – average sessions run about 25 minutes.
- Battling Ropes – a little difficult to perform correctly, but very effective in shedding calories and burning fat. In terms of oxygen consumption, when performed correctly, you can take off about 10.3 calories per minute. And your arms and core will begin to look great too. Add in some alternating lunges to pick up the pace.
- Kettlebell Swings – can be modified by using – wait! If you can’t buy a kettlebell, you don’t need to do this exercise. Use the right equipment on this one folks. The University of Wisconsin performed a study in which participants were able to burn a whopping 20 calories per minute and jacked up their heart rate to 93% of the maximum rate during the course of a 20 minute workout.
There you have it my friends. Once again I’ve stripped away any more excuses you’ve been hiding behind. Running hurts – try these other options and the great thing is that most of them can be done at home and with a PARTNER! Especially number 4…I’m just saying! Be safe and keep being fit and pick up a copy of Fat Free For Life: 13 Principles of Guaranteed Weight Loss and Ultimate Health.