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5 Exercises That Are More Effective In Shaping Your Body Than Running

5 Exercises That Are More Effective In Shaping Your Body Than Running

Everyone wants to be in shape. But not many people absolutely love working out and running. However, there are a variety of exercises you can do in your home or your backyard that are just as effective in toning your body as running, if not more so. The following exercises affect various parts of the body, ensuring that you’re getting an all-around workout each time you put on some gym clothes.

1. Burpees

Burpees are like up-downs with an included jump added into the motion. It’s a full body exercise that focuses on your core while also increasing your stamina. As you get a rhythm down, you should increase the speed of your motions. Try to do them as fast as you possibly can for maximum effect. Try doing 100 of these a day, and you’re sure to see improvement within a week.

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2. Tuck Jumps

Who would have thought that simply jumping in place would be a great alternative to running? Tuck jumps burn calories and build up your endurance, and you don’t need a lot of space to do them correctly. While doing tuck jumps, put your arms out straight in front of you and pull your knees up as you jump, trying to touch them to your hands. The closer you get, the stronger your core will become. Try to do as many tuck jumps in one session as you possibly can!

3. Jump Rope

If you feel silly simply jumping in place, grab a jump rope to accompany your workout. As well as burning calories and increasing stamina, jumping rope is a great way to get your heart rate up quickly. While jumping rope, you can add variations to mix up your routine, such as: quickening or slowing your pace, tuck jumping, or doing “double unders.” There are also many jump rope workout routines you can check out on YouTube if you need some guidance.

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4. High Knee Sprints

When you do go for a jog or run, you can vary your speed as well as your range of motion to increase effectiveness. Think of high knees as the motion you would make while running in place, but continue moving forward while doing so. Doing high knee sprints will burn more calories as well as increase your heart rate even more than simple running or jogging. While doing high knees you should keep the same running pace or, if possible, increase your speed. Try to do high knee sprints intermittently throughout your jog, but take breaks to slow your pace and jog when you need to.

5. Long Jumps

To do long jumps effectively, you should be in a wide open space. Obviously, the idea is to jump as far as you can, so the larger the space, the more potential your workout has. With your feet firmly planted on the ground, jump as far forward as you possibly can. Do it again and again until you reach the edge of your workout space, turn around, and go back. Try to do sets of 10-20 jumps at least three times to build lower body and core strength. You’ll also be working on your balance and coordination, as you’ll have to hold yourself back as you gain forward momentum. Just make sure to stop short of any walls.

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6. Mountain Climbers

You’ve probably been doing mountain climbers ever since 3rd grade gym class without realizing the beneficial effects they have on your body. Mountain climbers increase your circulation, and require you to utilize your whole body to do them effectively. Doing this exercise strengthens your arm, core, and leg muscles throughout the routine. You don’t need a large space in which to do mountain climbers, so you have no excuse to not drop down and do a few sets of 50 while watching TV tonight!

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 14, 2019

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

1. Take the scenic route.

Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

2. Distract yourself.

No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

3. Listen to music or podcasts.

There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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4. Bring a friend.

Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

5. Accessorize.

There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

6. Compete.

A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

7. Relax.

The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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