It's true. In fact, a lot of people in the world of health and fitness argue there are several, more effective, ways to shed fat, improve health, and be fit. Jogging, the cardio classic, isn't the only option.
Now, that's not to say jogging is inherently bad. Because it isn't. But it's not a magical cure-all either.
Here's the thing with fitness:
Everything can work. All of it—that weird workout video you saw online, the stuff that "dudebro" at the gym has done since college, anything, everything.
It all can work. But the trick is finding what's going to work best for you, your goals, and your life. Because that's where the magic happens.
Problem is, most people have no idea what works—let alone what's going to work best for them.
But I'm here to fix that. I'm about to show you when you should and shouldn't jog. Plus, I'm also going to show you a few of my favorite forms of cardio that aren't jogging. That way, you'll be able to know what works, what'll work best for you, and exactly how to make the magic happen with your fitness goals.
Jogging for Cardio: When You Should, When You Shouldn't
Should you be jogging? It depends.
Listen, cardiovascular health is important for overall wellness, longevity, and life in general. It can also be great for things like weight loss, fat loss, and your fitness.
Cardio is good, but not all cardio is good all the time.
Take jogging, for example. Sometimes, it's great. Other times, not so much. Here's how to know the difference...
Jogging is only great when:
- You actually enjoy it.
- It doesn't hurt.
There are only two types of cardio you shouldn't do (like, ever): cardio you hate and cardio that hurts. If jogging is either of those, don't do it. Period.
The biggest indicator of fitness success is adherence.
Translation: The best workout plan is the one that you'll follow. And you simply won't follow a plan that's full of things you hate and things that hurt—no matter what the exercises are.
If you and your body both enjoy jogging, awesome. Include it in your workout program and enjoy your results.
But if you and your body don't enjoy it, it's perfectly okay to do something else as you improve your health and fitness, lose weight, shed unwanted body fat, and feel amazing. In fact, you'll get even better results doing so.
And ultimately, I want you to get better results. Not just better, the best. That's why I'm about to show you a few of my favorite ways to burn fat. Zero jogging required.
What to Do Instead of Jogging (Four Workouts to Try Immediately)
Confession time: I'm not a fan of jogging. At all. So I don't jog. And you don't have to either. You can still lose weight. You can still be fit. And you can still improve your health.
Here are four of my favorite ways to get your cardio in without jogging:
Simple enough, right? It's also incredibly effective—especially when it comes to burning fat. Thanks to the fact that walking is a low-intensity activity, it's something you can (and should) do every single day. Try to hit about 10,000 steps on the daily. It'll help you burn calories and keep your body healthy.
You can also give this simple walking workout a try instead of jogging:
- On a treadmill, set the incline to about 10–13%.
- Use a speed that's just shy of a jog and briskly walk for 20–30 minutes.
- That's it.
2. Bike Sprints
Sprinting is fantastic for shedding fat and saving on time. It's intense. It's effective. But it's also something that can take a serious toll on your joints.
Enter bike sprints.
You get all the benefits of intense running, without the potential of pain. That's a double win.
Instead of jogging, try this bike sprint workout:
- Spend 3–5 minutes warming up on a stationary bike, getting progressively faster.
- Do 10–15 intervals consisting of 30 seconds of work and 30 seconds of recovery. (For the work, shoot for an all-out sprint. For the recovery, peddle just fast enough to keep the bike on.)
- Cool down for 3–5 minutes, getting progressively slower.
3. Sled Pushes
Thanks to the boom in functional training’s popularity over the last several years, you'll see sleds in a lot of gyms. As a big fan of sled work, I love this.
One of my favorite sled workouts are heavy sled pushes.
They're a great way to burn calories and melt body fat with low-impact, joint-friendly movement. An intense workout doesn't have to be full of fast-moving exercises. And heavy sled pushes are a perfect example. The intensity and efficacy of your workout comes from the weight on the sled, not how fast you move.
Instead of jogging, try this heavy sled workout:
- After your warm up, set a 20-minute timer.
- Slowly and steadily push a heavy sled ~25–50 yards. That's one set. (Use a weight that's challenging, but not completely exhausting.)
- Complete as many sets as possible before time expires, resting as much as you have to but as little as you need.
4. Mobility Circuits
By definition, cardio is any physical activity that increases your heart rate for an extended period of time. Doing so will help you burn calories, lose fat, and improve overall health.
Most of the time, people don't consider mobility work a form of cardio. But it can be a great way to keep your body happy, healthy, and fit.
Instead of pounding the pavement mile after mile, mobility circuits give you all the benefits of steady-state cardio with the added bonus of built-in rest and recovery.
Try this mobility circuit workout instead of your next jog:
Complete 1 round of the following.
1A. Developmental Rolling x 3–5 each way (upper and lower)
1B. Hip Rocking x 10–15
1C. Neck Rocking x 5–8 each
2A. Baby Crawl (knees on ground) x 60 seconds straight
2B. Bear Crawl (knees off ground) x 60 seconds straight
Complete 3 rounds of the following.
3A. Broga x 5 each side
3B. Four-Point Squat x 8
3C. Half-Kneeling Tailbone Tucks x 10–12 each
Complete 1 round of the following.
- Hip Flow x ~2 minutes total
The Final Word on When You Should Jog, Shouldn’t Jog, and What to Do Instead
In the end, you’re going to get the best results following an exercise program you enjoy. If you hate running and hurt while you do it, it’s not the right approach for you.
Luckily, jogging isn’t the only way to be fit.
Literally any physical activity can help you lose weight, shed fat, and be more fit. While they aren’t an exhaustive list, the four workouts included here will help you do exactly that—without needing to jog. Ever.
Whether you aren’t a fan of running or just looking to mix up your routine, give these workouts a try instead of jogging. They’ll all work. I mean, everything can work. but these might even work best for you and your goals.
That’s what you really want to find—what works best. Because that’s where the magic happens when it comes to your fitness goals.
Are you ready to make the magic happen?
Ben is a writer, fitness coach, entrepreneur, and founder of BENTRAINED. Simplifying the world of training and nutrition, Ben helps food lovers get fit. His coaching focuses on using simple strategies to get world-class results. Check Ben out online and connect with him on Instagram @_bentrained