While the stationary bike in your home is getting you nowhere – literally – it is time to beat the cabin fever and look at outdoor exercises that burn major calories.
The ‘summer waist’ is crucial for most people who want to spent time outdoors (at the beach, pool, park, etc.) and attract attention in the process.
Contrary to the popular belief, you don’t have to attach yourself to some beeping hunk of metal at the gym, as there are outdoor exercises that can help you achieve a good level of fat loss while letting you enjoy the perks of nature.
Here are a few outdoor calorie-blasting activities to consider:
It takes a great deal of energy to climb up trails, so it burns a major amount of calories, and the payoff is even more enjoyable on the way back down. Mountain biking lets you engage in interval training, where you’re alternating between lighter activity and short bursts of intense activity; this can give a major boost to your calorie-burning potential.
Also, this activity helps in developing reaction skills that can’t be learnt on gym machines. Your reaction to real terrain gives a better workout to your core than just a machine simulating hills at the gym. And mountain biking isn’t just for professional cyclists; novices can start on beginner trails and burn as much as 300 calories in half an hour.
Outdoor cross-fit trails/ full body workouts
You can pick up stones, flip objects in the backyard and sprint at a good pace. However, avoid lifting heavy objects as these can be extremely challenging moves. You can also go on a trail run to add toning moves and strength to your workout routine. Jump over logs, run till you reach the steps at the end of the street, and then do a set of step-ups. Walking lunges can also be performed after a round or two of running. Just be sure to mix it up.
Exercise options such as the Street Strider can also help you attain a full body workout, without the impact. Running, climbing and jumping can sometimes place pressure on the knees, hips, back and other sensitive areas. In contrast, modern mobile elliptical trainers are easy on the joints and let you burn fat at a high caloric rate while toning and strengthening your muscles. They also decrease blood pressure and improve the overall heart rate.
A study by the American Council on Exercise states that hula hooping at an intermediate-level can burn calories similar to activities such as brisk walking, step walking, and boot camp. The hula hoop is great for toning the legs, arms, abs, and back along with improving flexibility and balance.
And as with most exercises, you can burn more calories by sustaining the activity. This means getting the maximum benefits by gradually moving to weighted hoops after starting with child-weight hoops.
Weight training is the most recommended activity for boosting metabolism, burning calories, and increasing lean muscle mass. Exercises such as lunges and squats can also forestall osteoporosis and improve bone density.
Hiking with a pair of poles or a backpack achieves all that while giving you the added benefit of an intensive cardio workout. It’s easy to get started – grab your pack over the weekend (even if it’s filled) and head for the hills.