BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Statistics indicate that in recent years, more than 50 million Americans have participated in running or jogging activities.

Megan Roche, M.D. and a host of other healthcare experts are quoted in a SELF magazine article as stating that running can strengthen the entire musculoskeletal system, improve heart health, and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases.

In spite of all the benefits that come with running, a number of people simply don’t enjoy it.

Meghan Rabbitt, a contributor to Prevention magazine, put it this way, “Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept of running… Yet after I recently ran my first 5K race in about 6 years, my sore knees, burning calves, and aching lower back again reminded me of the chief downside of the sport: It’s just plain tough on my body.”

So, what kinds of exercises can an active person swap with running?

Five alternative fitness options that’ll still give you a great cardio workout are listed below.

#1 Say yes to the elliptical

Rabbit’s article in Prevention suggests using the elliptical as it puts less stress on the joints and allows the user to work out both their upper body and lower body.

#2 Hop on a bike

One alternative to running can be found by spending some time on a road bike or even on a stationary bike. According to Healthline, “Cycling allows you to maintain and improve your fitness without the stress on your joints and shins.”

#3 Go for a swim

An article on Runner’s Blue Print suggests swimming as a great way to work out without putting undue pressure on joints. It says, “Swimming can push your body and cardiovascular system to the max without so much impact on your joints—making it the IDEAL cardio fitness booster for runners looking to reduce impact on their bodies and/or recovering from an injury.”

#4 Step Aerobics

Taking a step aerobics class or working out to a step video is another option. It improves muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance without exerting the amount of pressure on the joints that running does.

#5 Tap into your inner child and try skipping

If you’re brave enough to endure a few looks from neighbors, you might consider taking a suggestion from Runner’s Blue Print and try skipping.

It’s an aerobic activity that children seem to engage in naturally, but it can also be a healthy exercise for adults.

The article on Runner’s Blue Print says, “Skipping builds lower body strength—especially in the calves—and improves core power and endurance—fundamental aspects of building a powerful and injury free runner.”

So, getting in a great cardio workout doesn’t have to involve taking on a form of exercise you’re not fond of. There are plenty of options that don’t involve running or even jogging.

Whatever fitness choices you choose to engage in, please do so safely and have fun.