Last Thursday I was watching my friend's young daughter play tennis and I was in awe of her little spirit. She was light on her feet, fast, smart, energetic, had a glimmer of that killer instinct and was a bundle of energy. Did I mention that I was in awe of her?
She was working herself out like mad and never once complained. She welcomed the laps around the court and even made her mama get up and run them with her. While I was sitting there I started thinking about how fun working out actually can be.
It doesn't have to always involve the proverbial hamster wheel treadmill nor does it have to involve painful squats with 20lbs waits in your hand. Working out can be fun.
Here are a few fun ways to burn some calories and help get that beach body ready for the sun.
Rock Climbing :
Rock Climbing relies on quick bursts of energy to get from one rock to the next. It won't do a lot for your heart, but your strength, endurance and flexibility will greatly benefit, and you'll burn about 371 calories every half hour.
I swam in high school so I am quasi-qualified to give you advice on this subject. Swimming provides an excellent overall body workout, burning up to 360 calories in a half hour depending on the stroke used. The best swim workout is based on interval training; swim two lengths, catch your breath and then repeat.
With the swimming, you can do the two laps and repeat. Just play with how much time you give yourself to do those two lengths. You can create a ladder where at first you give yourself say, 3 minutes, then you give yourself 2:45, then 2:30 and then work your way back up again.
The best short workout is in interval training. Short bursts of varying lengths. The idea is to build up your lactic acid tolerance. At the end of the workout you swim a few lengths holding your breath for as many strokes as you can manage to clear the lactic acid from your system. Brutal, but it works. Just sayin.
Cycling is an excellent non-weight-bearing exercise (meaning that your weight isn't being supported by your body). Depending on your speed, it burns around 300 or 400 calories in a half hour. Cycling provides a great cardio workout and builds up those thighs and calves. However, it doesn't provide much in the way of an upper body workout.
If you're game enough to step into the ring, you'll be rewarded with a 324-calorie deficit for every half hour of slugging it out boxing. In addition, your cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular endurance will go through the roof. Make sure you're match fit, though, or it may be all over before you build up a sweat!
Churning through about 300 calories in 30 minutes, racquetball gives you a fantastic cardiorespiratory workout, builds lower body strength and endurance, and, with all that twisting and pivoting, develops great flexibility around the core (back and abs). Just warm up first to avoid twisting an ankle.
Here's a fun game that demands speed, agility, strength and reaction time. It consumes about 250 to 300 cals in a half-hour session, providing a great opportunity to burn excess calories while developing cardiorespiratory fitness. Wear proper footwear to avoid ankle injuries.
Playing With Your Kids:
Moms, get out there and run around with your little ones. You can burn up to 200 calories an hour by playing tag, running around the park and lifting your little one up and down.
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.