Giving in to summer fun can keep you motivated and on track with exercise -- key for losing weight, reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and keeping your brain, skin, and love life young.
If the Great Outdoors (beach! mountains! parks! backyards!) is looking way better than that basement treadmill or the stinky weight room at the gym, ditch the same old routine. Obey your instincts and head outside for some fun physical activity that doesn't remotely feel like exercise but has the same benefits. Fun stuff that makes you go "woo-hoo!" can boost fitness and burn as many or even more calories than your usual workout routine. Try these:
- Spin a Hula-Hoop. Rocking a Hula-Hoop burns 210 calories in 30 minutes and boosts your heart rate as much as a brisk walk. Like any good cardio exercise, it helps lower blood sugar and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Get a Hula-Hoop for yourself, one for each of your kids and grandkids, and "hoop it up" together!
- Toss a Frisbee. This classic summer toy can help you burn 109 to 252 calories in half an hour.
- Dance the summer away. Join the kids when they play Dance Dance Revolution? Hit the dance floor at your niece's wedding. Accept your neighbor's invite to Zumba or Jazzercise class. Dancing regularly burns lots of calories (shakin' a sexy samba burns 10 per minute) while boosting fitness health. Dancing also lowers your risk of dementia by an amazing 76%. It's a workout that doesn't feel like work. Check out these other easy exercises that make you healthy without working up a sweat.
- Walk in water. Love to hang out at the pool but hate getting your hair wet? Skip the laps and get in some water walking. Water supports your weight but adds up to 12 times more resistance than air, so you'll get a great workout, no bathing cap necessary. Try it, too, if you've got achy joints and the water feels balmy. A little warm-water exercise can cut joint pain from arthritis and fibromyalgia by as much as a third.
- Hit the beach. Dial up your favorite Beach Boys classics on your iPhone, slap on plenty of sunscreen, and go coastal. Walking on soft sand can burn 20% to 50% more calories than walking on a hard surface, thanks to the extra effort it takes (the softer the sand, the harder you'll work). Ready for more fun? Look for a beach volleyball game. Despite what you see on TV, you don't need a bikini (shorts and a T-shirt are fine), but if you get hooked and start playing regularly, you might be bikini-ready soon. A 30-minute beach volleyball game burns up to 355 calories.