For anybody that knows me, or doesn’t know me, you probably know that once upon a time I was a running fanatic. In the height of my running I would run approx 8-10 miles per day x 7 days per week – and now I wonder why I have so many leg injuries. Unfortunately I have learnt the hard way in that you cannot rely solely on once exercise as to do so can lead to irreversible damage which prevents you being able to do it ever again.
This blog post for me is more about warning every body to calm the fuck down when it comes to running because the damage it can cause through repetitive strain is unbearable. This blog post isn’t about telling you that cross training will give you your dream body because a) I don’t know that and b) I don’t have a dream body so I am not the person to advise you on this!
Detailed below is a few different types of workouts I do which are hip and knee friendly.
Believe it or not I do still run!! (not at the moment because I can barely walk) but nowadays I do not focus on distance and how long I can spend running, instead I like to do sprint work. For me sprint work stops the repetitive strain on my legs. If I don’t do sprint work then I often vary the inline instead. These days I can only run for 45 mins max. I’m hoping to recover from injury in time for the Manchester 10k.
I have become obsessed with the stair master because it doesn’t aggravate my leg at all. I started off doing my own variations of speed/levels for approx 20 minutes. However now I like to do 30-40 minutes on the ‘fat burner’ program, I use setting 17. The fat burner program is basically just HIIT training but the machine does it all for you. Once I tried level 20 and I nearly died so I wouldn’t recommend that if you’re not used to the machine!! I also like to do 10 minutes on level 10 whereby you do bigger movements with your legs by missing every other step. The stair master will have you dripping so definitely take a towel and definitely stretch after. My top tip is to try not to lean your body weight on the bars at the side (although this is tougher than it sounds!).
To be honest I bloody hate the cross trainer but it gives me a little cardio workout without much pain. I like to do 20 minutes, I start on level 6 and go up a level every two minutes. I prefer not using my arms but that’s just personal preference. I also like to do sprints for 20 seconds every minute. This machine is a nightmare for tangling up your headphones!
I loooooooooove spinning but I have the best spin teacher on the land so this may be why. I tend to spin twice per week for 45 mins each time and its fabulous. I always leave dripping in sweat and with no pain in my legs. In my spin class we do a lot of sprint work and heavy resistance sprint work, my trainer pushes us to our limit and dedicates at least 4 minutes of the class to one person (brutal!). Everybody fears that spinning will make your legs bigger, I have been spinning for around 18 months and I still wear the same jeans/clothes etc… so if my legs have got bigger it is not noticeable.
I go to a pilates reformer class on a Monday evening, this class is really good for slow toning of your muscles without any strain on your heart. I love this class because it really stretches me out and makes me feel all balanced again, also you can find your inner zen as its quite calming. However, do not be fooled, any pilates class will burn your muscles like an absolute biatch! I personally prefer pilates to yoga because I feel that pilates is more like a workout.
I have recently started bootcamp with my bestie Lauren, we like to go twice per week when we can. This bootcamp is not for the faint hearted and is not like a legs bums and tums class, it is absolutely brutal. The bootcamp involves; hammer slams, tyre flips, prowlers, ropes, sprints, rowers, bear crawls, gorilla crawls, farmers walks you name it – VICIOUS but its so so good and we always feel incredible after it. I have definitely got much stronger and leaner since going to this class.
Last but not least I love walking on my lunch break for 20 mins around the park and a Sunday morning. Walking is a good form of peaceful and calm exercise which doesn’t strain your legs too much (however if I walk too fast it does). So long as you focus on your posture, walking will do you the world of good! My mum only walks as her exercise (mainly shopping) and she looks fabulous. Don’t run before you can walk is my top tip so walking will help get your fitness levels up!