Experiencing foot pain when you exercise can make it hard to get your weekly cardio in. A painful foot condition shouldn't render you unable to keep yourself physically fit. Instead of engaging in types of aerobic activity that put pressure on your foot, thertry other forms of cardio that will give you a good sweat while burning calories, helping you lose weight and boosting your cardiovascular health.
Exercising in the Water
Swimming and water aerobics are both forms of exercise that remove stress and pressure from your joints and feet. Whether you swim for 30 to 60 minutes or participate in a water aerobics class, cardio workouts in the water can effectively help you shed the flab and tone your muscles. The buoyancy of the water reduces your weight to relieve pressure on your foot, while adding resistance that makes your muscles work a little bit harder to move your body through the water.
Upper Body Circuits
Circuit training is an excellent way to get rid of unwanted fat and tone muscles at the same time. This time-efficient workout moves you through a series of alternating cardio and strength-training moves. Although traditional circuit training involves the lower body and cardio performed on your feet, that doesn't mean an upper body alternative won't help you burn calories and get your cardio workout. Alternate between three-minute spurts on a hand-crank cycle and 45 seconds of strength training. After each three-minute cardio segment, perform an upper body strength-training move, such as shoulder presses, bicep and tricep curls, chest presses and butterflies for 45 seconds before transitioning into the next cardio segment.
Known as an upper body ergometer at many gyms, an arm-crank cycle is like a stationary bike that's pedaled with your arms. There's no strain placed on your foot as you sit in the chair and crank the arm pedals with your hands. You can do a moderate, steady-paced workout for 30 to 60 minutes or do interval training with the hand crank cycle to boost your calorie burn. Alternate between four to five minutes of cycling at a moderate pace and one minute at a vigorous pace for the entirety of your workout.
Untreated foot pain that doesn't go away may indicate a problem that should be treated by your doctor. You should always see your doctor before starting any new exercise program, and especially if you have been experiencing foot strain or pain. Once you get the OK, start out slowly to make sure your fitness plan doesn't place any strain on your foot.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Mayo Clinic: Exercising with Osteoporosis
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Krank it Up!
- University of New Mexico: The Fitness Professional's Complete Guide to Circuits and Intervals
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.