Walking can offer many health benefits as a form of movement but you may want other options. What are some alternatives to walking with similar benefits?
Some of the benefits of walking include engaging your cardiovascular system, being a form of low-impact exercise (relatively light on your body), engaging leg muscles, improving or maintaining balance & coordination, etc.
Whether you don’t enjoy walking, you want something more at-home friendly, or you want an alternative for any other reason, these alternatives to walking can offer you some or all of the same benefits.
Cycling is another very popular exercise example. This includes both cycling at home on a stationary bike or cycling outside as a form of exercise or transportation.
One of the fun facts about walking is that it is a low-impact way to engage your cardiovascular system while engaging a few leg muscles at the same time. Cycling has these things in common.
Cycling can be even better than walking in many ways. First of all, it is generally more convenient to cycle at high speeds compared to walking faster. This alone leads to a lot more potential for exercise benefits.
At the same time, it is just as convenient to take it easy on a bike. Additionally, if you have an exercise bike, you can cycle at home. Potentially while enjoying your favorite tv show or music.
One potential downside of cycling is that no matter where you do it, it requires a bigger budget than walking. If you cycle outside you are also more at risk of traffic accidents or losing your balance.
2. Jumping rope
Many people forget this next walking alternative. Even so, jumping rope is a very effective way to get in a good cardiovascular workout at home or outside.
One of the things where jumping rope really stands out is the small amount of room you need to do it. And even if jumping rope with a regular rope still requires too much space, there are even cordless jump ropes.
Additionally, jumping rope can offer more cardiovascular, balance, and coordination training, you will strengthen your bones more, you can work out at home, and it does not require a big budget.
One potential downside of jumping rope is that is a lot harder on your ankles, knees, hips, and back than walking. This means that jumping rope is not recommended for some individuals.
Some people also don’t like the monotony of jumping rope for 30 minutes compared to walking along a path with beautiful scenery.
Another popular walking alternative is swimming. Similar to walking this type of exercise allows you to engage your cardiovascular health in a way that is not that hard on your body.
On top of that, swimming has a higher potential for building muscle, burning calories, improving cardiovascular health, and improving coordination.
A downside is that you do have to find a swimming pool or other body of water to be able to do this exercise. This can require more time and money. You also get less bone-strengthening from swimming.
Additionally, it is harder to do swimming at a very light pace. Some people simply don’t like swimming too.
4. Resistance training
The name may imply differently, but you don’t have to do cardio exercises to engage your cardiovascular system. Resistance training, lifting weights or doing certain bodyweight exercises, will also definitely get your heart beating.
Additionally, you get some of the extra benefits from resistance training which include stronger bones, building and preserving muscle, preventing or reducing pain in certain body parts, etc.
Some examples of simple resistance training exercises you can do at home or almost anywhere else include pushups, squats, lunges, pike pushups, etc. There are a wide variety of exercises with extra weights too.
Many individuals don’t see themselves doing resistance training at first. Even so, it is something that can offer many valuable benefits to almost anyone and many people are surprised that they actually enjoy doing resistance training.
Running is not the most surprising substitute for walking but this is a great way to point out that moving more intensely can offer more health benefits if you don’t overdo it.
Besides that, if you are going somewhere, running will get you there faster than walking.
Of course, you still have to keep in mind that running is harder for your body. That includes your muscles, cardiovascular system, and bones.
Additionally, similar to walking you are relatively dependent on the weather when it comes to how enjoyable your workout is.
Running is definitely not for everyone but if you are able to do it, it can be a powerful alternative to walking.
6. Elliptical trainer
The elliptical trainer is a relatively popular cardio gym machine. Using this machine may look a bit complicated at first but this exercise is actually very beginner-friendly.
You simply select your desired resistance, put your feet on the pads, and put your hands on the handles. After that, you move forward with your feet and back and forth with your hands at your desired intensity.
Because the elliptical trainer improves your cardiovascular health, burns a lot of calories, and trains similar leg muscles in a low-impact way, this machine can be a great alternative to walking.
One potential downside is that you need an elliptical machine to do this exercise. That means either investing in your own elliptical machine or joining a gym.
7. Climbing the stairs
Instead of walking outside, you can walk in place indoors at home to get similar effects to a smaller extent. Another option is going up and down the stairs in your home which will be more challenging and in turn, offer more potential for health benefits.
Even if you don’t have any stairs you invest in or use a good StairMaster at the gym. This is a machine that simulates an endless flight of stairs.
Both real and simulated stair walking is great for improving your cardiovascular health, balance, and coordination, and engaging important leg muscles.
One potential downside if your knees hurt is that climbing the stairs is generally harder on these than walking. Not as much as some of the other alternatives on this list but still something to keep in mind.
Besides that, if you go for the StairMaster or gym subscription, you will have to invest some money into your health.