6 Ways to Have a Better (and More Calorie-Burning) Workout

Running on a treadmill can be mind-numbing.
Running on a treadmill can be mind-numbing.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

When it comes to working out, things can sometimes get a little, um, monotonous. Running on a treadmill gets boring after the first mile and you can easily get stuck in the same old weight lifting routine. Instead of slogging through a mind-numbing gym session, try something more inspiring. Research shows that challenging your mind keeps your body in better shape. In fact, most trainers recommend keeping your body “confused.”

What does this mean?

Doing the same routine over and over again works the same muscles. Without pushing your body to do new things, your fitness may plateau, which will make weight loss much more difficult. If you're training to accomplish a specific fitness goal, changing up your routine can build muscular strength and endurance.

Use these six fun ways to exercise your body and see amazing results!

1

Take a Class

Classes are the perfect way to incorporate a workout with a friend.
Classes are the perfect way to incorporate a workout with a friend.
Comstock/Thinkstock

Do you belong to a gym? Or have a friend that has a gym membership? Try scoring a free guest pass from a buddy or check out a new gym that you might be interested in joining. Sometimes facilities offer a free trial period, so this is always a good thing to ask about.

Once you’re in, try taking a class. Figure out what jives with your schedule and your interests. Give spinning a try if you’re into intense cardio, or try zumba if you prefer a more light-hearted workout. Most cardio classes burn between 400-600 calories in 45 minutes, which can help with weight loss efforts. Working out with friends can help motivate you, and recent research shows that picking your fittest friend as a workout partner can increase your own intensity by as much as 200 percent!

2

Try Boxing

Sometimes you just need to relieve that added stress...and what better way to do it than with a workout?
Sometimes you just need to relieve that added stress...and what better way to do it than with a workout?
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Boxing is a great, social activity that can be a very effective workout. Not only does boxing exercise your upper body, but it’s also a great abdominal and cardio workout. Plus you'll burn more than 320 calories in just 45 minutes of practicing your right hook.

Check out some boxing studios in your area and inquire about any free classes. Sometimes studios will offer a deal for a first time trial or you may be able to pay per class.

3

Swim Laps in the Pool

Swimming is an excellent all-body workout for when you need to switch-up your routine.
Swimming is an excellent all-body workout for when you need to switch-up your routine.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

As the weather gets warmer, it’s always nice to be outside. Research shows that there are additional health benefits to working out in the fresh air.

If swimming is not part of your regular routine, it’s always a great way to change up your workout. Try swimming laps in your local community pool, or if you’re lucky enough to belong to a gym with a pool, use it as a backup for rainy days.

Swimming is a great cardio and full body workout that’ll get your body into shape just as quickly as running or biking. It's low-impact and a fun change of pace on a sunny spring or summer day!

4

Take a Yoga Class

Yoga is the perfect mind and body workout for any busy woman.
Yoga is the perfect mind and body workout for any busy woman.
Wavebreak Media/Thinkstock

Yoga is an excellent workout for both your mind and body. As this workout continues to expand in popularity, it’s becoming easier and easier to find a boutique studio near you.

The great thing about yoga is that it’s not uncommon to find a free class and it’s almost impossible not to find a group or communal vibe. Purchase a yoga mat (which can usually be found in a workout/athletic store for anywhere from $7-$15) and start looking into trials/free classes offered around your home.

If you’re really brave, you may even want to look into Bikram Yoga or Hot Yoga for a more intense mental workout.

5

Go Rock Climbing

Sometimes it's good to have some nerves when you break a sweat...
Sometimes it's good to have some nerves when you break a sweat...
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Lots of gyms offer humble but effective rock climbing equipment, or if you’re really ambitious, you may try looking into rock climbing facilities in your area. Rock climbing builds upper (and lower) body strength and improves flexibility.

The sport does come with a certain degree of risk, so it’s important not to venture out to the mountains on a whim. If you’re interested in taking a sporty vacation, make sure to consult an expert or even bring one along for the trip.

This workout is also the perfect team-building activity and an excellent candidate for a workout with your adventurous friends. If you’re looking for an athletic girls weekend, maybe look into planning a rock climbing trip complete with your own guide.

6

Go for a Hike

Sometimes all you need is a little fresh air.
Sometimes all you need is a little fresh air.
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Speaking of active vacations, try going camping for a weekend or take a day trip to a nearby park for a long hike. Just 30 minutes of hitting the trail can burn approximately 270 calories and target important muscles in your hamstrings and glutes.

Hiking is an excellent workout for both your mind and body, and it’s the perfect way to catch up with friends while getting back in touch with nature.

If you aren't a huge fan of the elements, look into running or biking trails in your nearby city. Dirt paths are easier on your joints, and it’s always great to spend time in the outdoors, clearing your head and exercising your body.

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