Alternative Exercises to Running

By Drew Heideman, PT, ATC

JOI Describes Alternative Exercise to Running

JOI Rehab Exercises

Image of patients exercising


If the intensity of running puts too much strain on your joints, walking is a great way to get cardio exercise in at a lower intensity. Walking is also a great fitness activity to perform with friends. In order to burn as many calories as you would when running, you will have to walk for a longer period. To see just how much more you would need to walk than run to get the same results, check out our Fitness Tips!


Biking, whether stationary or mobile, is a great alternative exercise to running. With focus on your lower body, biking is fast-paced and can provide the same intensity as running, without putting the same amount of strain on your joints. With biking, you can control the speed and intensity of your workout to customize it to your needs.  Spin classes are also effective for a high-intensity bike workout.


Swimming is a total-body exercise that is not weight bearing. Because of this, it puts little strain on your joints, since the water is holding your body weight. Swimming targets all major muscle groups and is a great alternative exercise that can provide total-body benefits.

Anti-Gravity Running/Elliptical Running

Using an Anti-Gravity Treadmill or an elliptical machine can be great for those who enjoy running, but find that it puts too much strain on their joints. These alternatives allow for many of the benefits of traditional treadmill running, without all the pressure.


Zumba provides a total body cardio workout that combines traditional aerobic exercises with Latin-style dance. Zumba classes offer a fun and motivational environment and require no dance experience. Classes include upbeat music and are typically high-energy. As with sports, it is easy to forget you are in a Zumba class to exercise, which can be great for those who find traditional workouts to be too repetitive.


Sports of all kinds are great for varying your exercise routine. They add a group element to your workout, which can often lead to increased motivation. There are many great sports to play as an alternative to traditional exercise, including basketball, tennis, volleyball, and racquetball. It is often easy to forget that you are exercising when you are playing a sport, which can be a benefit for those who find traditional workout routines to be mundane.

High Intensity Interval Training

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combines high intensity and low to moderate intensity exercises to create a short workout. You do 30 seconds of high intensity exercise (for example, biking as fast as you can at a high resistance, or sprinting as fast as possible), followed by 1-4 minutes of low to moderate intensity exercise (for example, biking at a slow speed and low resistance, or walking/jogging). This is repeated for a total of 4-6 cycles. This type of exercise is great for optimizing your time while still maintaining a high intensity workout.

If you are interested in scheduling an appointment at JOI Rehab for physical therapy, go to: or call 904-858-7045


Where is Telemedicine frequently used?

All JOI Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists now offer Telemedicine services for virtual visits from the convenience of your home. If you feel that it is best to stay in your own home during this time, we can still provide orthopaedic Telehealth services for you. Through the download of the free Zoom app on the your phone, tablet or laptop. Our physicians and Telehealth for Physical Therapy can evaluate you and provide the care you need.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. To learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

By: Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

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