Runners know that running in cold weather isn’t always a great idea. During the cold winter months, it can be challenging to find a fun and efficient cardiovascular workout. After all, there is nothing quite like the sound of your feet against the pavement — the beat keeps you wanting to run for hours.
But when winter arrives, bringing frigid temperatures and black ice on the roads, running in cold weather isn’t always an option.
So if you love to run, and you need a good cardiovascular workout to keep you going when it’s freezing outside,
here are eight alternatives to running in cold weather.
1. Water Jogging
Colder temperatures don’t have to keep you from running. Just take it indoors to your trusty treadmill. But if an indoor treadmill isn’t enough to keep you satisfied, try water jogging.
The water adds resistance, making it easy to maintain the muscle mass in your legs that you worked hard to build running. Not only that, but most indoor pools will keep the water nice and warm during the cooler months, so you’ll never notice the frigid temperatures outside. Once you start moving in the water, you’ll be comfortable as you get your workout in.
And, if you want to improve your muscle strength, just grab some of the resistance equipment by the side of the pool, such as a kickboard or some hydro-weights, to amp up your workout.
Yoga offers plenty of health benefits, including increased flexibility and a broader range of motion. But studies have also shown that specific types of yoga, including hot yoga, have been shown to improve pulmonary function.1
Nowadays, you don’t have to settle for just traditional yoga. There are plenty of options. So, get to know the yoga community in your area. Taking up yoga may help pacify you until it’s warm enough outside to start running again. And the number one plus of taking a yoga class for runners is that you’ll also help reduce the risk of injury next running season, as yoga is well-known to reduce pain and improve overall body function.2 It’s a great cross-training exercise.
Part of the love for running comes from “feeling the burn” – that familiar moment when the pain first kicks in, and you start to notice that each separate muscle group of your legs is on “good” fire. Blood flow to your muscles increases, circulating essential nutrients and oxygen into your body. It’s a great feeling, for sure.
But during the cold winter months, when you can’t always run outside, consider taking an indoor cycling class. You’ll be pushed through an intense workout that uses all of those same muscles – just in a slightly different way.
You can find an indoor cycling class near you at your local gym, or a group fitness facility. Indoor cycling classes are typically high energy (many are set to music) – and some are even taught in hot environments.
How To Substitute Running with Another Workout
If you are a tried-and-true runner, running isn’t just a workout for you – it’s your place of peace. You don’t want to trade it for just any old workout. In addition to water jogging, yoga, and cycling, there are plenty of no-equipment workouts that can help get you out of your winter slump.
Try these five cardio moves:
1. Stairs. Seek out a set of indoor bleachers, or try to find an indoor staircase near your home or office. Stair exercises are a great way to build and maintain strong muscles.
2. Burpees. This is a great way to start your boot camp regimen. And burpees, or squat thrusts, are also a great way to get your heart pounding. Try this cardio workout in sets of 10, for 4-5 reps. That should get your arms, legs, and core a good workout.
3. High Knees. Try this running-in-place exercise anywhere you like. Just grab yourself a set of running shoes, and get those knees up. Just remember to maintain a solid forward plank position as you do the high-knee jogging. Posture is everything.
4. Sliders. Need a move that will get your heart rate up – in just seconds? Try sliders. You can do sliders on your kitchen floor in a set of comfortable socks. Just move it to the left, and then slide to the right. Your momentum is what makes this move extra-challenging.
5. Jumping Jacks. Ready to boost your cardio results? Try a set of jumping jacks. Yes, it’s old school, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Jumping jacks can get you a high-intensity workout in minutes, and without any equipment. Try this set for your cardio fix in 7-minute sets.
If you love to run, wintertime can really bring the blues. The cold weather, the biting wind chill, the ice under your feet…. But there are other workouts that can keep you going when running in cold weather isn’t an option.
Just try these alternatives to running in cold weather when the frigid weather drives you inside. Then, when the weather warms up, you’ll be in shape and ready to hit the road.
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