Photo: ThinkstockBy Corrie Pikul
Instead of Running (679 calories at a pace of 11 minutes per mile)...Try Ultimate Frisbee (572 calories)
In high school or college, did you view running as a necessary evil and a way to warm up for a more exciting team sport? Then seek out Ultimate Frisbee pickup games in your area (more info at USAUltimate.org). This self-officiated sport is similar to rugby played with a Frisbee instead of a ball, and tends to draw laid-back, social types who prioritize friendly competition over personal records. Leagues are usually welcoming to newcomers, but coordination is key, so you might want to play a few games with your dog-or your kids-first.
Calorie counts are based on a 150-pound woman working out for 60 minutes, using data from Exercise Testing and Prescription by David C. Nieman.
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Chances are that you weren't thinking about improving your muscle tone when you shimmied in your parents' backyard, but a recent study by the American Council on Exercise found that intermediate-level hula hooping can burn as many calories per minute as step aerobics, boot camp (atten-shun!) or brisk walking. The humble hoop can tone the abs, back, arms and legs as well as improve balance and flexibility. As with any exercise, you only burn significant calories if you can sustain the activity, so to get maximum fitness benefits, upgrade to a grown-up hoop from Hoopnotica. At 1.5 pounds, it's slightly heavier than the child's toy, and weighted hoops are easier to keep aloft. Hoopnotica also sells DVDs that can teach you some basic moves to keep you busy (the "one-handed halo" makes us feel like a hooping Hindu goddess).RELATED: 5 Women, 5 Paths to Amazing Style
Photo: ThinkstockInstead of the Elliptical Trainer (465 calories)...Try Salsa Dancing (393 calories)
The elliptical trainer smoothly mimics running without impact, which makes it appropriate for injured athletes. The salsa smoothly mimics the hip-gyrating movements of...well, you know, which makes it appealing to couples as well as those looking to partner up. Dance studios, rec centers, universities and gyms offer beginner salsa classes that draw students of all ages. This smoldering Latin dance helps tone the lower body and can also pump up your calves, especially if you wear a pair of good dance shoes. The best part is that a salsa session at a club or dance hall rarely ends after 60 minutes, so you can double or even triple your calorie-burning (and partner-impressing) potential.
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Photo: ThinkstockInstead of Swimming (429-786 calories)...Try Rowing (250-600 calories)
Water is 775 times denser that air, so moving against water pressure while swimming strengthens and tones muscles from your fingers to your toes. But unless you're doing laps above your local coral reef, swimming rarely offers much in the way of visual stimulation. Not everyone lives near a lake, river or reservoir, but for those who do, rowing is a much more scenic way to work your quads, glutes, shoulders, abs and biceps on the water. Sculling with a friend or a team also dispels some of the loneliness of the long-distance swimmer. Many groups practice on the still, calm waters of the early morning, sometimes setting out before dawn, so there may be a local boathouse or club that you've just never noticed before. Check USRowing.org to find a club near you.
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