There are a lot of alternatives from just going to the gym and doing the mainstream workouts. Sometimes we need something else to focus and thrive on. Here are a few of the great alternative workouts we can all do.
Barefoot running has been gaining a lot of ground lately. The idea behind running barefoot is to run more natural like we used to before the invention of shoes. Studies are now showing that adding more cushion to our feet is exactly what’s causing us to have multiple problems in our feet, ankles, knees, hips, and back.
The beauty of running barefoot is that you can do all the running workouts that you used to do with shoes. One of my favorite running workouts is interval training, which I intersperse with distance.
Optimal Barefoot Running Technique
The idea is to not walk heel to toe like many of us have been taught, but to walk lightly with a soft heel kiss on the ground. The ball of the foot strikes first with the heel gently touching afterward.
Running barefoot allows you to feel the ground and make adjustments right away. These adjustments may be as subtle as striking the ground softer with your foot or bending your knee a little more so you don’t have a shock to your joints. When you can feel everything, you are more likely to develop good habits and form a great running technique that will last you a lifetime. Here is a great 12 Step Guide to Run Barefoot if you would like further instruction.
Quite a few shoe makers have jumped on this trend and have produced minimal shoes. Most of these minimal shoes offer great protection from cuts and scrapes while reducing the need for cushion. I currently have the Vibram Five Fingers and have run more than 100 miles in them with no problem. I have never had a shoe last that long without coming apart. Although I love these shoes, I don’t feel like they are minimal enough for me. I’m working up to more barefoot runs with no padding at all. It will take time for my skin to adapt but my form has already benefitted from it.
Rebounding is making a resurgence in the health world. You may have seen these small trampolines or maybe you have one tucked away in the garage. It’s a great time to get it out again or pick one up. The benefits of rebounding are so great that you’ll be happily bouncing your way to health.
Benefits of Rebounding
Your circulation will be taken to new heights while you’re rebounding. This allows your body to get more oxygen to all of your extremities through the blood. Along with increased blood flow, you are helping crank up your lymphatic system which will effectively flush the toxins out of your body. With the oxygenated blood flowing efficiently to your body and toxins back to your liver, spleen, and kidneys you will feel much cleaner, warmer and vibrant.
You can use the rebounder as an after workout cool down as well to help your muscles get the oxygen they need for repair. If you do this in conjunction with a great nutritional lifestyle you will notice right away how quickly you build muscle without soreness. You will feel like you can workout again within a day instead of the usual soreness that lasts many days.
Rebounding with Dan the Man
Dan the Man, The Life Regenerator is a big advocate of rebounding. His goal is to rid his body of the toxins that a life of drugs, alcohol and bad food had accumulated. He talks here about the benefits of rebounding and how easy it can be done.
If you feel like you need a great activity to help reduce stress in your life, Tai Chi might be for you. Tai chi is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. To do tai chi, you perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.
There are many styles and many more teachers of these styles. If you would like to give it a try you can find teachers in your area or get started with videos from Youtube.
Crossfit is an intense muscle building program that has taken the world by storm. A description of what Crossfit is from their website:
The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs.
Those who strengthen by Crossfit constantly talk about how quickly they built their muscle and how little fat they have on their bodies. When you look at some of trainers and competitors you definitely see what they mean. There is a great diversity in the styles of Crossfit muscle mass. There are many that develop large, bulky muscles and those that develop lean, tight muscles. Your body shape will all be determined on how you do these exercises.
The Crossfit Games
One of the most awe inspiring events I have seen is the Crossfit Games. Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to get us going on our workouts. Never fear, check out a few of the competitions from the previous games and you will be ready to conquer the world. The men and women that compete in these games tax their strength and stamina to see who is the most versatile in their fitness.
Other Great Alternative Workouts
There are so many great workouts that are off the beaten path. Give a few of these a try or come up with your own. Here a few more that might be enticing to you.
- Hoola Hooping
- Roller Skating
- Muscle Confusion
What are your favorite alternative workouts and how have they worked for you?
Image sources: Raquel Baranow