Tired of Your Treadmill? Try These Unconventional Exercises
Posted Dec 03 2010 3:06am
This is a guest post by Jillian Gile.
Getting active and back into shape is one of the most popular – and healthy – ways to change up your life. Getting fit boosts your mood, energy levels, and even immune function, and with the plethora of home gym equipment and 24-hour fitness centers, it’s never been easier. If you’re looking for an unconventional away to shake up your life and workout routine, check out these “off the beaten track” routines.
This fitness craze is so popular and widespread that it only barely counts as “off the beaten track” anymore. Everyone is getting in on this aerobics-meets-Latin-dance workout, with classes popping up at gyms across the nation and the infomercial becoming the staple of late night and weekend morning line ups. But does it work? The short answer – yes. This high powered routine can burn 600-1000 calories an hour, without the joint damaging dangers of the treadmill or other high-impact sport. However, if you’re not naturally talented at rhythm and dance, you might want to start with a rhythm aerobics class before jumping into a Zumba class.
Somewhere along the lines, people began noticing that dancers and strippers were fit and trim not only as part of the job requirement, but as a result of their daily routine. Soon pole dancing classes began popping up at gyms across the nation – if it works for strippers, it works for soccer moms too! Pole dancing classes combine the scandalous moves and strenuous workout that it takes to shimmy around on stage. Choose classes carefully, it’s easy to let momentum and gravity do most of the work, so if you’re not breaking a sweat, this particular class is probably only teaching you the moves, not actually working your muscles.
This is more than a spinning class with blues music. Soul Cycling combines stationary bikes with weights and resistance training for a sweat-inducing combination of cardio and anaerobic training. If you’re interested in burning a serious amount of calories in half the time it would normally take, Soul Cycling is for you. Be warned, this is a high-intensity course, so you might want to work up to this level if you’re new to the gym scene.
It’s not just for kids anymore. Hula hooping is a new fad in cardio and abdominal workouts. Working out with hula hoops promises to make exercise fun, and you’re working your core for better balance and coordination. This exercise is fun, a little silly, and can be done even if you’re not in the best shape, which makes it a great option for anyone looking to spice up their life.
This new style of working out involves a small trampoline, and you bouncing up and down to techno music. It’s more of a workout than it sounds. Each exercise is a combination of small, repeated movements that are designed to work specific muscles. There’s no high jumping or major acrobatics, so almost anyone can do this exercise – and it’s much easier on the joints than running. Urban Rebounder has not made it to many gyms, so if you’re interested you need to rely on the workout videos, which can get a little pricey.
If the thought of running in place doesn’t appeal to you, think again. The Wii Fit, an exercise game designed for the Nintendo Wii, is surprisingly fun. You might even forget you’re working out and burning calories, and there’s a good chance you’ll get the whole family involved. The game comes with a balance board, which measures your weight every time you use it, so you can track your progress, and during the exercises helps you balance better and use the correct muscle groups. There’s a huge variety of games – from bicycling to yoga – so you’ll never get bored. The game is fun enough that it almost feels like cheating to call it exercise – but the calorie tally reminds you that you’re actually working out, and working towards unlocking new games.
Regardless of your personal fitness level, breaking up the monotony of your usual workout routine can be the best way to motivate yourself when you simply don’t feel like revisiting the same old gym equipment. Try one of these exercises—or all of them!—and you’ll be reminded that exercise can actually be enjoyable.