When your goal is to slim down, you've got to know what will get you there.
Salsa Dance for 21 Minutes*
Hip swaying and shaking is a cardio workout that sends your heart rate soaring. Plus, the dance is a boon to your mental health. One 2014 study in the journal Human Movement Science found that after starting Latin dance lessons, adults reported they were less stressed and felt more enjoyment and accomplishment compared with before they were taking dancing lessons. (Get in a good 12 minutes by heading to a country-music bar. All that boot shaking during line dancing incinerates 100 calories in 12 minutes.)
Typing, talking on the phone, and having a lunch meeting are barely better at burning fat than lying quietly and watching TV. (In fact, desk work only burns about 30 more calories per hour). Sitting all day is disastrous healthwise and increases your risk of death from any cause by 24 percent (even if you work out that day), suggests new research. Working from a treadmill desk, on the other hand, will burn 100 calories in 41 minutes.
Have Sex 12 Times
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Yes, you heard that right. Despite the presumption that sex is exercise, a session of light effort would require you to get busy for 72 minutes to burn 100 calories. However, because the average bout lasts six minutes, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study, you need quite a few interludes to get there.
Head to a Barre Class for 17 Minutes
With the focus on making your lower body cry for mercy, trendy barre workouts—like Barre3 and Pure Barre—make you sweat it out for a toned dancer's body.
Grocery Shop for 20 Minutes and Spend 19 Putting Them Away
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More of us are having groceries delivered, but running errands really does burn calories. If you order your groceries online, typing on a computer offers the same calorie burn as lying in bed, but heading to the store to pick out your own broccoli and beans, carrying bags and restocking your fridge burns nearly double that.
Pretend Like You're on The Voice for 41 Minutes
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Talk about singing your heart out. If you've ever wished someone would discover your star, sing out loud while watching The Voice or American Idol —you can rest during the commercials.
Go Old-School with a Rowing Machine for 13 Minutes
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Here's the reason rowing-only fitness studios are popping up around the country, and places like Orangetheory make rowing a cornerstone of their workout. It's an effective cardio session, burning 100 calories in just 13 minutes.
Jog-Walk for 16 Minutes
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As the weather gets nicer, you're taking your runs outside. Even if you don't hoof it continuously, you're still getting a great workout by “wogging,” aka “walk-jogging.” (Try it by jogging for a minute or two and then taking a walking break.) Even as little as 5 minutes of jogging at a slow pace is enough to add 3 additional years to your life compared with non-runners, found a study last year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Lift Free Weights for 27 Minutes
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Sure, resistance training isn't as big of a calorie-blaster as cardio, but it's key for building muscle and preventing middle-aged weight gain, suggests research from the University of Pennsylvania.
Cue up an Online Workout for 24 Minutes
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You don't need a DVD player to work up a sweat in the privacy of your living room anymore. With so many live-streaming or on-demand workouts available, you can easily find one no matter what you're in the mood for (strength, power yoga, cardio) and difficulty you want (easy and light or tough boot camp). Many require a small monthly fee for classes, but you can find free ones on YouTube.
<i>You should absolutely skip your workout if:</i> The problem is happening below the neck. <br><br><i>The reason:</i> Body aches, fever, chest congestion, diarrhea or other digestive issues can all be made worse by exercise, says Lipi Roy, MD, a clinical instructor in medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. These symptoms are often accompanied by dehydration, too, and sweating won't help the matter. (Issues above the neck, such as a runny nose, scratchy throat or mild cough, though, may actually be improved by <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2803113/">moderately intense exercise</a>.) <br><br><i>When you can exercise again:</i> Once symptoms subside, but be sure to dial back the intensity on the first session. If you had a fever, wait until your temperature has been normal for at least two days before resuming your workout routine, says Michele Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University.