When exercising and staying in shape comes to mind, many people roll their eyes and think about some nasty gym down the street with rickety treadmills and old worn out elliptical machines. But what if we told you there are much more enjoyable ways to stay in shape?
Here are a few different activities and exercises you absolutely must try!
1. Dance the Day Away With Zumba
Who doesn’t love to dance? Well, now you can dance and lose that annoying flab. Zumba is an aerobic exercise that combines choreographed footwork and various body movements from merengue, salsa, flamenco and a handful of other dances to burn fat and tone muscles.
The best thing about Zumba is that you’ll have so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re tightening up those abs, glutes, arms, and thighs. While there should be a local gym nearby with trained Zumba instructors and group classes, you can also purchase the DVDs to try at home.
2. Go For a Bike Ride
Some people don’t like jogging because of the repetitive motion of pounding their legs into the pavement or ground. Well, you can get many of the same benefits by going on a bike ride.
Bike rides increase cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, and flexibility, while also decreasing stress, diminishing fat, and enhancing joint mobility. Not bad for something that’s also fun! Purchase a cruiser bike and mix up your terrain. Going from beach to pavement (and vice versa) will give your legs an extra workout.
3. Pick Up a Hula-Hoop
“This 1950s craze is no longer just child’s play,” says Rhea Seymour of Best Health Magazine. “Hula-hooping, or ‘hooping,’ has re-emerged as a great cardio workout to slim your waist, hips, buttocks and thighs while toning your abdominals and lower back muscles.”
Hooping is also a great social exercise, as many people join groups and practice together. While you can technically find your old childhood hula-hoop in the attic and use it, these hoops aren’t the greatest. You’ll want to find one that’s a little larger and heavier – like this.
4. Climb Some Rocks
One of the best all-around anaerobic workouts is indoor rock climbing. Not only does it burn hundreds of calories an hour, but it also builds incredible strength and balance in those muscle groups that don’t always get targeted with other exercises.
Rock climbing is also a pretty intense mental workout. For example, in bouldering you have to identify the correct route and then use problem-solving skills to choose the best path for your skill set. To find a rock climbing gym near you, check out this list of gyms from around the world.
5. Go Paddle Boarding
If you’ve ever seen an advertisement for some beach resort in the Bahamas, you’ve probably seen a picture of someone standing up on a paddle board in front of a majestic backdrop. Well, what they’re not telling you is that paddle boarding is actually an incredibly intense workout.
Paddle boarding not only improves your balance and provides a cardio workout, but it also gives you a full body workout – especially your core. And who doesn’t love to be on the water?
Ditch the Gym!
While there’s nothing wrong with having a gym membership for those rainy days or cold winters, summer is made for spending time outside. Whether it’s cycling or paddle boarding, you don’t need a treadmill to get active. Gather a few of your friends and aim to be active while also having a great time.
Featured photo credit: E’Lisa Campbell via flic.kr