5 Exercises You Can Do When You’re Not Running

© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com

© Martinmark | Dreamstime.com

On your off days when you’re training for a full or a half marathon, try out some of these ways to exercise that also will benefit your running:

1) Swimming

A low-impact exercise that works the entire body will help you build cardiovascular strength without stressing your joints. Runners can tremendously benefit from sessions in the water. Not only does swimming help to improve flexibility and endurance, it also strengthens muscles useful in running.

2) Cycling

While cyclists take their sport just as seriously as runners do, it doesn’t mean that they cannot mingle amongst each other. Runners benefit from cycling sessions as a lower-impact alternative to pavement pounding. Leg muscle strength will improve as you push up hills and fly on the flats.

3) Yoga

Staying flexible, especially as runners age, is vital to preventing injury. Yoga is likely one of the best cross-training exercises a runner can do. Keeping the entire body loose is incredibly helpful for maintaining proper running form. Plus, the mental relaxation yoga provides is a welcome benefit to many Type A runners.

4) Weight-lifting

The goal shouldn’t be to win an arm wrestling contest with the Incredible Hulk. It should be to add muscle strength to improve your running and prevent injury. Focus on strengthening your core and weak areas first. Gradually add additional muscle groups and remember to continually rotate exercises.

5) Walking

Why walk when you can run? Walking using different muscle groups than running and it lower-impact. It doesn’t burn up calories like running, but it requires the least amount of specialized equipment. Plus, for able-bodied people, it is the easiest exercise to find a buddy who will join you.

(MORE: The Best Time of Year to Train for a Half Marathon)

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