I know it seems like I talk about running a lot. And I do, but I also have another workout routine that I've been doing for years and years (like 15ish years). I adore Pilates. I think it is amazing for your body and your mind and your spirit. It makes you feel like a million bucks without dying and it really tones your muscles. As a dancer, I never wanted huge and bulging muscles, so I never lifted weights. Pilates uses your body weight to tone your muscles. Wikipedia (I know, such a legit source) defines it as:
Pilates is a body conditioning routine that may help build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips, and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment, breathing, and developing a strong core
or center, and improving coordination and balance. Pilates' system
allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty
from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the
body conditions and adapts to the exercises.
I totally swear by it and my body really craves doing it (I only get to take one Pilates class a week because of scheduling, but I can really tell the difference).
If you're looking for more information on Pilates, check your local gym and sign up for a beginner class. It's not easy by any means and you will feel it in muscles that you aren't used to working.
The newest addition to my current Pilates class is using the ball for balance, stability and core strength...it is tough!
For more basic information, check out: http://pilates.about.com/od/gettingstarted/a/Pil4Beg.htm.
Runners will tell you that the more core strength you have, the fast and stronger you become. I find that Pilates is the perfect cross training for me.
Here's to good health and awesome abs!