Fend off boredom with these entertaining activities.
Staying fit is simple — you eat less and move more. But what happens when you get tired of the same old moves? Below are five fun cardio workouts
that will fend off boredom and keep you healthy and trim.
There’s nothing like boxing to tone muscles
, burn fat and relieve stress, according to Danny Campbell, a former professional boxer and co-founder of Title Boxing Club in Overland Park, Kansas
“Boxing works every muscle fiber in your body,” he says. “When you hit a heavy bag, the muscle resistance from a 100-pound bag stimulates blood flow to every muscle group. This also increases your cardio so that your heart is pumping blood through the entire body, which causes your body to burn fat.”
Boxing also helps decrease anxiety, improve hand-eye coordination and build self-confidence —particularly once you start developing those awesome shoulder and back muscles.
Tired of switching from one cardio machine to the next? Fitness specialist Todd Cambio, owner of Precision Fitness in Pawcatuck, Connecticut
, suggests obstacle-course
races as a great way to burn calories and kick butt.
“Training for an obstacle-course race requires you to get outside and run hills, hike trails, play on the monkey bars and to climb over, around and through things,” he says. “Think of just being a kid again.”
Albeit a kid who can do pushups, pullups, lunges and squats. Races usually range from 5K to 12 miles, with between 10 and 25 obstacles depending on the length of the race. Obstacle-course races to choose from include the Warrior Dash, the Spartan Sprint, the Rugged Maniac and the Tough Mudder
, said to be the “toughest race on the planet.”
Speaking of being a kid again, jumping rope
may seem like something for schoolyards (or boxing gyms), but it actually provides an effective cardio workout
that’s kinder and gentler than running, because it’s low impact. It’s also cheap, convenient and offers great conditioning — not to mention a good way to build up your bone density.
Make sure your rope is the proper length and that you have the right shoes (running shoes are too cumbersome: Go for wrestling shoes or cross-trainers instead). In addition, you’ll want to make sure you’re jumping on a surface that gives — think grass, a mat or a piece of thin wood. Want more of an upper-body workout? Try a weighted jump rope. Looking for a group jumping experience? Check out the classes at Punk Rope
Looking for a cardio workout that doesn’t feel like a cardio workout? Swing dancing may just be it. This fun, flirtatious pastime offers a full-body workout that not only strengthens bones, but works the calves, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, forearms, upper arms and shoulders. Plus it can be done fast or slow, depending on the tempo — and the skill of your partner.
“The fast-paced music and the constant movement make this a cardiovascular winner,” says Laura Williams
, founder and CEO of GirlsGoneSporty
, a fitness website for active, adventurous women. “Plus, you’re having so much fun that you don’t have time to think about the fact that you’re exercising.”
A wildly popular dance-fitness program that allows you to “party yourself into shape,” Zumba is based on fast-paced salsa and Latin-inspired music (as opposed to swing’s traditional big-band sounds). Touted by celebs and common folk alike, Zumba provides a workout for the whole body, particularly the hips, abs and thighs. Calorie burn is between 400 and 600 calories an hour, depending on gender, weight and fitness level.
“Anytime someone can get in a good workout while having fun, [it’s] a recipe for success,” says Williams. “At least if you want to see results.”