Looking for a Running Alternative? How to Increase Stamina with Low Impact Cardio + 5 Tips
If you want to increase your running endurance, there’s more than one way to do it. We’ve put together some suggestions for running alternatives, so you can boost your endurance and give your joints a break with low impact workouts.
3 Low Impact Cardio
The impact of running puts a lot of stress on your knees and hips. If you want to run farther and faster, you’ve got to improve your stamina. But how can you get there without pounding the pavement for hours? Here are three workouts to get you running better without running more.
1. Deep-Water Running
If you’ve got access to a pool and a flotation belt, there’s nothing better than deep-water running to crank up your cardio and be kind to your joints. A study on the physiology of deep-water running shows that endurance athletes maintain their cardiovascular fitness level for up to 6 weeks with deep-water running workouts. (1) This is also an effective way to stay in shape after an injury and promote active recovery.
2. Dance Workouts
Perhaps you’re missing a bit of fun in your life these days. Have you ever tried a dance workout? Dancing is an energizing way to combine a cardio workout and strength training, increase coordination, and work on your sense of rhythm. Studies have shown that dancing also has great benefits for older adults, improving balance and memory. (2)
Hop on your bike for another great low impact workout. If you’re pedaling at the right intensity, you can get a solid cardio workout, explore the region you live in, and strengthen different muscles than those used for running.
5 Tips to Maximize your Workouts
Learn how to get the most out of your workouts with these 5 helpful tips:
1. Shorten breaks in your strength workouts
Bodyweight training will help you build strength and if you cut down on the length of your breaks and really push yourself to the limit, you can turn those workouts into a cardio booster, too. Try a workout in the adidas Training app and see if you can shave a few seconds of the breaks to get your heart rate up.
2. Add variety
Runners used to train for long races by running, running, and more running. Research on race performance has shown that adding variety to your training routine will not only reduce your risk of overuse injuries, but also prevent boredom. So try the workouts listed above and then try yoga for runners. Yoga’s not your thing? How about speed walking? Look around and see what interests you. Maybe it’s time to take up a new sport.
3. Adjust nutrition
Don’t forget about your diet. To get your body in top form, you’ve got to give it the fuel it needs. The energy for endurance training – whatever form you choose – comes from macronutrients, especially carbohydrates. Cut down on your sugar intake and make sure you’re getting healthy fats and lean protein. Give your body what it needs, when it needs it.
4. Improve your sleep
Sleep health is an – often minimized – essential part of physical and mental health. You’ve probably heard the basics: no screens in the bedroom, don’t work out late in the evening, hit the sack before midnight. It’s important to prioritize sleep and change bad habits before you develop a chronic sleep disorder. Did you know that long-term sleep deprivation can put you at risk of diabetes melitus, obesity, and heart disease?(3) In addition to being important for our health and longevity, good sleep habits improve our wellbeing and increase our stamina when we exercise.
5. Steady state cardio
Cardio workouts used to mainly be steady state: get on the treadmill, elliptical, or hit the road and maintain a moderate intensity for the duration of the workout. Then came HIIT, Tabata, and other interval training that can lead to more results in a shorter time. But does that mean you shouldn’t bother with steady state anymore? Not necessarily; it depends on what your goal is. Yes, there are certainly great benefits to high intensity workouts, such as high calorie burn. But if you’re looking to relieve stress and quiet the neverending spinning of your thoughts, steady state can add that meditative element to your exercise routine that helps calm your nerves and improves your sleep.
Running faster or longer is not the only way to improve your running performance. Low impact cardio workouts can really increase your stamina, especially if you combine these running alternatives with some of the adjustments listed above. So if you’re ready for some variety, give your knees a break and change gears for a long bike ride or hop in a pool and try deep-water running.