Alternatives to Running: 10 Low-Impact, But High Calorie-Burning Cardio Activities

You’ve tried everything: knee braces, avoiding sidewalks, cushioned shoes. But nothing seems to make running easier on your joints! When you’re feeling joint or other leg pain, it’s important to listen to your body. Continuing to push yourself with injuries can cause long-term damage. So how can you continue getting the cardiovascular, mood-boosting, and calorie-burning benefits without running? Low-impact cardio! 

Believe it or not, low-impact cardio can really make you SWEAT! Check out our list of 10 low-impact cardio options below, listed in order of calorie-burning potential:

*All calories estimations are based on a 150-pound person, at moderate effort.

1. Battle ropes – 672 calories/hour

Battle ropes is our favorite, most intense low-impact cardio exercise! Battle ropes have the added bonus of being engaging for the upper body, but easy on the lower body (especially your joints!).


2. Elliptical trainer – 612 calories/hour

Although not the most exciting option, the elliptical trainer gets the job done while burning over 600 calories per hour!


3. Biking – 544 calories/hour

Biking is one of the few exercises that always burns more calories than I would expect. Bring a friend along for the ride to make the time fly by!


4. Swimming – 476 calories/hour

Swimming is similar to running in that it works the entire body. However, the water is much more forgiving to your body than the sidewalk.


5. Stationary rowing – 476 calories/hour

If you want to feel powerful, hop on a rowing machine! I love that this exercise feels like a combination of strength training and cardio.


6. Rock climbing – 415 calories/hour

Rock climbing is a fun challenge, while also being a big-time calorie burner. Heads up: Get ready for sore forearms!


7. Punching bag – 408 calories/hour

Need to get out some frustration? Put on some boxing gloves and burn over 400 calories per hour!


8. Bodyweight exercises – 388 calories/hour

An hour of bodyweight lunges, squats, planks, and crunches burns nearly 400 calories in an hour. Pro tip: Find a YouTube workout video to bring a trainer right into your living room!


9. Walking – 224 calories/hour

Need a low-key cardio activity? You can\’t go wrong with a walk around the neighborhood.


10. Yoga – 170 calories/hour

Yoga, although not the biggest calorie-burner, improves cardiovascular health, flexibility, stress reduction, and muscle strength!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *