9 Workouts More Effective than Running from Workouts More Effective than Running

Workouts More Effective than Running

9 Workouts More Effective than Running

Flickr/Rob Shenk

Running has become the unofficial go-to cardio workout—great for beginners, it doesn’t require much equipment and, yes, it’s effective. With so many benefits, there couldn’t possibly be a better workout out there, right? Well, there just might be a more effective workout for you.

Aqua Jogging


“When it comes to cross-training for the cardiovascular system I send runners to the deep end of the pool for some aqua jogging,” said Wilpers. “It’s fantastic for getting the heart rate up, relatively easy to perform with good technique that closely mimics running, limits impact on the joints and muscles, and the time spent can easily be structured and monitored to work at the athlete's different training intensity zones.” Estimated calorie burn for an hour of aqua jogging is roughly 650 for women and 850 for men and the resistance of the water will provide major strength benefits, as well.

Rock Climbing

Flickr/Maria Ly

While rock climbing might not be the best option for those afraid of heights, it definitely is a killer workout. Climbing will challenge your strength and stamina—maybe even your bravery, too. The average person can burn anywhere from 750 to almost 1,000 calories in an hour at high intensity with minimal rest.

Jump Roping

Flickr/Andrew Malone

If you haven’t picked up a jump rope in a while, your last memory of the activity might be from elementary school—but don’t be fooled, this workout is one of the toughest out there and it’s great cardio training. Since most of us couldn’t jump rope for 60 uninterrupted minutes, just 10 minutes of jumping will burn between 90 and 120 calories, on average. Consider adding a few minutes of jump roping to your next circuit for quick calorie burn.

See Also: Exercise Anywhere: Crazy Cardio Jump Rope Workout

Playing Basketball


What’s one workout that is definitely more effective than running? How about a high intensity full-court basketball game. Combine sprints with the other dynamic movements in competitive basketball and you’ll have a major workout. The best part is that you won’t even notice how hard you’re working when you’re so focused on beating the other team. Guys can expect to burn around 1,000 calories and girls can burn around 750 in an hour-long game.


Flickr/Philippe Lewicki

Swimming is one of the most efficient total-body workouts around—the resistance of the water is great for building strength and picking up the pace makes for fantastic cardio. If you needed just one more benefit, it’s virtually impact-free, meaning the risk for stress injury is far less than that of frequent runners or weight lifters. Intense swimming burns about 650 and 900 calories an hour for women and men, respectively.

Related: The Strong Swimmer’s End of Summer Workout



Wilpers suggests the elliptical for cross-training purposes, it’s easy to use and the impact is lighter than running. To see major calorie burn, crank up the incline and the resistance. Guys can burn more than 1,000 calories in an hour on the elliptical and girls can burn more than 750, on average.

High Intensity Interval Training

Flickr/Living Fitness

What do you get when you pair quick bursts of intense exercise with short rests or active recovery periods? Major calorie burn. A huge benefit to this type of workout is that it usually only takes about a half hour and the benefits last long beyond your 30-minute sweat session.  

See Also: 20-Minute At-Home HIIT Workout


Flickr/Let Ideas Compete

While sitting in a boat may not seem like much of a workout, it’s actually a great test for your whole body. Paddling is one of the best cardio-strength training combinations out there. If you’re looking to tone your legs, arms and core, take a break from your usual run and rent a kayak. In a typical hour of kayaking, you could burn between 400 and 500 calories plus the strength benefits are incredible.

Related: 8 Reasons You Should Try Kayaking

Workouts More Effective than Running