When it comes to cardio, running is one of the best activities you can engage in.  When done properly, it will not only burn a lot of calories, but build and tone your glutes, thighs and calves.

Having said that, it isn’t for everyone.  In fact, for some women, running can actually be detrimental to their progress.

Today we’ll be covering five signs that running isn’t for you – and what you should do instead.

Sign #1 – Your Knees Hurt

Running is, on the whole, a fairly safe activity.  Apart from the odd pulled hamstring, there aren’t too many injuries that plague runners.

At least, not in the short-term.  In the long run, however, many of the“fanatics” who have spent most of their lives pounding the pavement find themselves with a lot of nagging joint issues.

And a lot of these injuries end up requiring surgery – one of the most common are knee replacements.

The reason for this is the fact that running is actually quite a high impact activity on the lower body, requiring direct force every time the foot strikes the ground (this impact can be up to two and a half times the runners weight).

Again, this isn’t necessarily a problem in the short-term – it’s only after years and years of doing it that many women start to notice these problems.

When it comes to determining who will get injured, it’s important to remember that there’s a HUGE element of randomness (and probably genetics) in all of this.  Some women can go decades without any problems, while some notice it right away.

So, if you’ve been running for a while now and you’ve noticed that your knees are getting sore, then unfortunately, running may not be for you.

With that said, there are things you can be doing to mitigate the risks and reduce the impact.

The first is to avoid overtraining.  Try to restrict your running workouts to a few times per week, and keep it under thirty minutes.

The second (and more effective) strategy is to avoid running on hard surfaces like pavement.  Instead, try either soft grass or (if you’re geographically lucky) a sandy beach.

However, if you’ve tried all of that and your knees STILL hurt, our best advice to try something else.

It’s not worth the potential surgery.

Sign #2 – Your Hips Hurt

While it’s definitely not as common as knee injuries, running can definitely aggravate the hips in certain women.

Like knee injuries , however, different people seem to be more prone to them than others.  And unfortunately, if you find that your hips are hurting after you run, you may be one of these people.

Now, it’s important to make a distinction in the kind of pain you’re feeling.

Muscle soreness, for example, is not usually indicative of a problem.  It’s fairly normal the day after a hard run, and is caused simply by a build up of lactic acid.

If, however, you’re feeling a dull aching pain in the joint, that’s a completely different story.  Consult your doctor to see if it’s a specific problem that can be fixed – but if the pain doesn’t eventually subside on its own, you may want to consider something else.

Sign #3 – You Feel Worn Out

One of the biggest signs that ANYTHING you’re doing in your fitness routine isn’t working is the fact that you feel worn out all the time.  This can include constant soreness, fatigue and a general feeling of lethargy.

This one can be tricky to diagnose.  For example, if you’ve been inactive for a while and you just started running, then this isn’t necessarily a problem.

In fact, we’d be surprised if you didn’t feel like crap the first few weeks.  It’s only if the feeling persists beyond the initial “beginner pains” that it becomes an issue.

It also might not be that you’re running, but that you’re running TOO MUCH.  In this case, the issue is overtraining and the solution is simple – cut back on the amount you’re doing.

But if you’ve been running moderately for a while now and you still feel run down, then that’s a pretty good sign running isn’t for you.

Sign #4 – You Hate It

The best workout is the one you can stick with.

And the reality is this – if you hate your workout, you’re NOT going to stick with it.

Some women LOVE running.  They love the burning legs, they love the “runners high”, they love the feeling of accomplishment they get when they break a new personal record.

And some women just don’t.

And that’s perfectly fine.  If you’ve been running for a while now, and you find that no matter what you do, you just can’t bring yourself to enjoy it…stop.

Find something else that you DO like.

Sign #5 – You’re Not Progressing

Just like some women are naturally more prone to running injuries, some are just better at the activity than others.

One of the joys of any kind of physical activity is the feeling that you’re making progress.  The feeling you get when you beat your last record is something that’s difficult to replicate.

And if you’ve found yourself going for months and months on your runs, trying every runners technique in the book, and you’re STILL not getting any better at it – you may want to give something else a go.

Everyone has something that they’re good at (even when it comes to exercise).

Running Alternatives

All right, so you’ve gone through this article and discovered that running, for whatever reason, just isn’t for you.  The question now is…what should you do instead?

Here’s a quick list of other activities that will give you most of the benefits of running without the drawbacks.

Cycling

Fantastic cardio activity that has a lot of the benefits of running, but will spare your knees and hips.

Swimming

Refreshing, full-body and easy on your joints.

Sprinting

While sprinting is technically running, there’s some key differences.  The duration is much shorter, and it trains a different aspect of your cardiovascular system (it’s also easier on your joints).

Cardio Kickboxing

Great workout, fun atmosphere, and it burns an absolute ton of calories.

Yoga

Amazing, both as a form of cardio (depending on what kind of yoga) and for building full body strength and flexibility.

Remember, at the end of the day, exercise is supposed to be something that revitalizes and invigorates you – not something that causes you pain, frustration and misery.  If running isn’t for you, then by all means, choose something else that you can actually stick with.

It will be worth it in the long run.