All kinds of people run. There are the casual runners, who jog alongside their friends for moral support, and then there are the serious and solitary, ‘I’m in the zone’ runners, who enter every marathon going. It’s satisfying and addictive, but what happens when you have a hip or knee replacement? The last thing you need is multiple replacements, so switch to a low impact form of exercise instead.
Swimming is a low impact activity that is excellent for cardiorespiratory fitness. It also builds muscle mass, particularly in the upper body, which certainly can’t be said about running. If you’re not a serious swimmer, you can take adult refresher classes, to help you find a stroke that you enjoy. If swimming lengths sounds boring, check out a Swimfit class at your local health club. It’s more like circuit training, using aids and varied speeds, so it’s more challenging than your usual swim routine but much more effective at raising fitness levels.
If you’re the last remaining person who hasn’t got on their bike after the Tour de France, then here is another option. One of the advantages of cycling is that you can enjoy beautiful and varied scenery while improving your stamina. And how do you choose the right two-wheeler? Buying one from a high street catalogue shop is definitely not the way. If you’re serious about cycling, then you need a performance vehicle with sublime engineering, purchased from a specialist pro shop, such as Fatbirds. Ideally the shop should also have a workshop for repairs. If you’d like to make it a social activity, you can join a local cycling group, which are popping up all over, thanks to the TDF, but make sure they welcome beginners.
Boxing is now one of the hottest regimes for fitness. If done regularly, boxing should build a strong, lean and toned body. Other benefits include increased coordination and agility. And before you think it’s just you and a punching bag, boxing is now very much a social sport, with typical classes of 15-20 people. It’s popular with both men and women, but it’s not a walk in the park. It’s high intensity and works the entire body – not just the arms. You’re constantly moving by throwing punches (engaging most of the upper body), ducking weaving. But the results will speak for themselves.
If you’ve had to hang up your running shoes through injury or the ravages of time, try a taste of these alternatives to see if they can fill the gap in your life.