Is Running in Place a Good Cardio Exercise?


question-icon-newI want to start an exercise plan and start doing cardio so I can burn calories and lose weight but I don’t have any money to afford a gym membership and its very cold where I live. Instead of running outside or using an elliptical machine, can I just run in place for maybe 30 minutes to get a good workout?

answer-icon-newThe simplest answer to your question is yes, you can get an adequate cardio workout from running in place for 30 minutes. After all, your cardiovascular system doesn’t really know where you are exercising or what type of cardio exercise you are doing. You certainly do not have to be moving in a particular direction to place a cardiovascular demand on the body. Whether you are performing jumping jacks, jumping rope, jump squats or running in place, you are performing cardiovascular exercise without ever really going anywhere. All of these exercises and many more are fantastic and can be particularly useful when there are inclement weather issues or you simply cannot leave the house. Not to mention they are particularly convenient as you need minimal equipment and you can perform them all in a very limited amount of space. These types of exercises are very helpful for mothers as they can be done while a child is taking a nap or otherwise occupied where leaving the house is not an option. In fact, the majority of the success of exercise DVD’s comes from the fact that they can be performed in the convenience of your own home in a very limited space.

If you are going to use this type of running as a basis for your exercise program it can be of great benefit to incorporate some other similar exercises into your routine to not only add some variety but to help strengthen and condition other parts of your body as well. As stated above, jumping rope or jumping jacks are both a fun addition to this type of “in place” exercise. There are also a variety of strengthening and toning exercises you can add at the end of your cardio workouts to further increase your fitness. Here is a link to some of these bodyweight exercises:

One other very important aspect of fitness that can also be performed just about anywhere is stretching. I would suggest that a minimum of 15 minutes of stretching be done at the end of each workout. It is important to keep the majority of this stretching to be performed after your workout because the muscles are warm and in a more pliable state. But you can also perform a number of gentle stretches while you are going about your daily activities. Watching TV, working on the laptop, waiting for a flight or riding along in the car all provide a few minutes for us to stretch out and limber up a bit. Here are some different stretching exercises that you can incorporate into your fitness plan:

Stretching has huge stress relieving benefits and it improves the elasticity and range of motion in the muscle fibers, joints, ligaments and tendons. This habit will pay huge dividends as we all get older. With age, the body’s tissues begin to lose their natural elasticity making them much more prone to injury. So by developing the daily habit of stretching we can go a long way in ensuring that this process of aging is slowed.

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