Running for weight loss? Well, no matter what you think, that's quite a controversial topic and if you ever tried to lose weight, I bet you thought at some point that there must be some cardio alternative to running.

Running will help you lose weight, but the downside is that it will also “help” you lose muscle, which is definitely something you don't want. That's why if you are among those who run to keep your weight down, stay in shape, and be healthy or just someone who heard that cardio is best for weight loss but you would like some changes in the way you do it, this article is awesome for you.

Wе'll talk about why running is definitely not number one in the world of cardio. As you probably know cardio or aerobic exercises are essential for good health. It gets your heart rate up, making your blood pump faster. This delivers more oxygen throughout your body, which keeps your heart and lungs healthy, you lose weight, get better sleep and you get a boost of those awesome happiness hormones!

A typical cardio training would be running at a steady pace. Through trial and error and also through the help of science we know that there are other ways to maximize aerobic capacity instead of always running.

You really don't need to spend hours of running to get results, it's enough just to have continuity, which is great news for those of us who don't think they have time to workout.

Without further a due here are 5 best cardio alternatives to running that are even better and just as effective for your hormones and your weight management.


1. Cycling


Well, I admit, this IS an obvious cardio alternative to running but hear me out!

If you want a workout that's gentle on your back, hips, and knees, cycling is a great choice. Cycling is a top cardio workout and it represents an amazing cardio alternative to running. You can cycle on the road, a bike path, a mountain trail, or home!

Variations have an impact on the intensity of the training, the most intense is mountain cycling which is the best for calorie burn. Of course, doing mountain cycling isn't very easy, and it's completely fine if you can't do it. Frankly, if you are a beginner you shouldn't even start with it,

Start working out indoors, in your home on a stationary bike, or in the gym on the stationary bike. No matter what you choose, but it's important that you regularly do it!

Regular cycling can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.

It can also boost your mood and keep your weight under control because you lose calories. How much? It depends how long and intense your workout is, how heavy are you, but if you cycle fast enough and you use more body-energy, approximately you'll burn about 400 calories an hour.

Adults should do at least 30 minutes a day, 4-5 times a week of intense activity to gain maximum health benefits from this exercise.


2. Swimming


Swimming is one of the best cardio alternatives to running. It's an effective way to improve your endurance, it's a great way to decrease weight stress on the body.

Water produces enough resistance to stimulate the muscles so you can get great training while enjoying swimming. Almost every muscle in the upper body is involved in this activity.

Swimming is a great cardio exercise for someone with a knee injury if normal activities are not an option due to pain. Swimming can push your body to the maximum without so much impact on your joints.

With each stroke, you use your arms, legs, and core just to stay afloat which is a great start for burning calories because of muscle recruitment.

The most popular type is breaststroke which will burn 375 calories per half an hour! Another type is butterfly stroke which is going to maximize calorie burn and an average person will burn 400 calories per 30 minutes. However, butterfly stroke is pretty complicated for beginners so if you don't know how to do it, stick to the breaststroke or front crawl.




HIIT stands for high intensity interval training and it's without a doubt one of the best, if not THE BEST cardio alternative to running!

It includes high intensity cardio and strength exercises intertwined with short periods of recovery. This is great to get a perfect workout with a lot of benefits in a short amount of time.

These intense workouts usually last about 20-30 minutes, but it depends on a participant's current fitness level and depends also on the intensity of the training.

In HIIT we have periods of working and periods of resting (for example 40 seconds working, 20 seconds resting) and there’s the intensity of the work periods. With HIIT you need to be pushing hard to get the most benefit from it, and it’s also important to try and maintain a consistent level of effort across the work periods.

That means it’s not just about going all-out because you won’t be able to sustain it across the workout.

Benefits from HIIT workout are the calories you’ll burn, which are many, not only during the workout but also in the hours afterward, because of the post-exercise effect. 20 minutes HIIT cardio workout will burn about 250 calories.


4. Rope Jumping


If you ask me personally, I'd say that THE ABSOLUTE BEST cardio alternative to running is rope jumping.

You may think that jumping rope is just for kids, but let me tell you it's a legit cardio workout that improves your coordination, boost your metabolism and it makes you lose calories like crazy!

This cardio workout is ideal when you are short on time or it's rainy, cold, or dark outside. You can jump rope in a small space with minimal equipment.

Jumping rope can be very challenging but it depends on the intensity of your workout. The constant jumping can strengthen your calves, hamstrings, and glutes.

Some studies found that jumping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises and it can put you into shape with just a few minutes (minimal 10 minutes) jumping rope a day. It's said that jumping rope burns more calories per minute and engages more muscles than some other cardio exercises such as swimming.

You can expect to lose about 300 calories in a 15 minutes of jumping rope.

5. Fast Walking


I bet you didn't see this one coming!

Walking is an excellent type of cardio training, but in order to challenge your cardiovascular system, you need to walk at a pace and intensity that increases the demands on your heart, lungs, and muscles.

So, we use fast walking as a great cardio workout that can be done indoors or outdoors, at any time of day or night, and without the need for a gym membership or some special equipment.

All you need for a fast walking workout is a comfortable pair of shoes and the motivation to get on your feet. Feeling demotivated to anything? Let us help you – click here!

There are many benefits of fast walking, including improved cardiovascular health, higher calorie burn, better circulation. It's also a great way to prevent chronic diseases.

Fast walking is one type of speed walking.

You can build speed by using good walking posture, appropriate arm motions, and making other simple changes to your walk. The faster you walk the better the results(calorie burn). If your weight is normal for your body type you can lose about 100 calories per half an hour.

How many calories you burn while doing any of these exercises depends on the body weight, the intensity of the training, and how long the training lasts. But however, any type of physical exercise no matter how long it lasts is beneficial for our health and it's very important to keep us in a good mood.




There are definitely amazing cardio alternatives for weight loss and you should try all of these ones above. 

Sure, some will be hard for you, some will be easier, it all depends on what type of body you have but essentially they will all work better than running!

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That's all folks!