Many people who want to lose weight know that going to the gym and following a proper diet will help them reach their goals. Still, they do not do anything due to laziness, work pressure or lack of motivation. Even people who are determined and join a gym, often leave it after a few days citing tiredness, fatigue or distractions. In this mega guide, we give such people an overview of alternate methods they can use to shed those extra kilos.
Fun ways to exercise
The reason routines get boring is because, well they are routines! The moment you start feeling an obligation to do something, you don’t want to do it anymore. Same exercises, same music at the same time every day; exercising becomes an obligation that turns into a punishment. If you’ve tried gymming and failed, maybe it’s time to experiment with some fun workout routines. Here are a few options to get you started:
1. Hula Hoops
Would you believe that hula hooping can burn up to 600 calories an hour? Having said that, it’s difficult hula hooping for an hour but you get the idea – it’s fun, physically intensive and you can do it in the privacy of your room. Yes, it also helps you lose weight. If you are beginner, try a weighted hoop because it’s easier to rotate but as you get better switch to a lighter hoop which requires more effort from you to rotate and hence, helps burn more calories. And the elderly can try them too. Just put on some music and you are good to go.
Something we’ve all tried and enjoyed despite falling flat on our backsides or tripping over a bump. But here’s something you didn’t know – it can help you shed calories too. In fact, if you are over 70 kilos, you can possibly burn more than 500 calories an hour! Not only does it help muscles become stronger, it’s good for your heart as well. It’s cost-effective and has less impact than running. All you need is a smooth surface and an open area.
Got a dog and a park nearby? Buy yourself a Frisbee and get cracking. You can get some friends along on a weekend and have a game too. Either way, all the throwing, catching and running helps your body. In fact, a 30 minute game can burn nearly 100 calories assuming you are 60 kilos. And it needn’t be a Frisbee – you could give volleyball a shot as well.
One of the few games that you can play anywhere. And it’s seriously addictive. Although you can explore other options like tennis, cricket and even basketball – most of these need more space, more people or expensive equipment. For badminton, you don’t even need a net! Lots of energy, competition and running around – all of that does a ton of good to your stamina. In a nutshell, any form of sport is great.
Most health centres or gyms also offer courses like boxing and kickboxing – both are great ways to blow off some steam after a hard day and a fun sport. An added benefit is that they sharpen your self-defence skills.
This might sound too much hard work to be fun but it isn’t. Make a group of friends and take off for the hills every weekend for a few hours. You can climb your way up and have a picnic and play a few games. It’s not only a chance to exercise but to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Nowadays, there are many adventure groups who organize bi-weekly camping or trekking trips. Before you know it, you’ll be addicted.
You’ve probably heard this before: swimming is one of the best cardiovascular exercises for you. And who doesn’t like to splash around in cold water? How can you make it even more fun? If you get bored, you can always play some water volleyball or a game of catch.
Teen icon Miley Cyrus has 27 million Youtube views, all thanks to Twerking. Say, what? Twerking involves twisting and jerking movements of the hips that improves lower body flexibility. This seductive workout is meant to tone your core, glutes, hips and thigh muscles.
Robbie Williams is now into Bokwa, which requires using your feet to draw letters or numbers while doing their cardio to music. It combines elements of African dance, capoeira, kickboxing, light boxing, and fancy step footwork to strengthen the feet and ankles. You not only burn around 1,200 calories but also tone your lower body muscles. Age no bar!
10. Pole Dance
Want to power up the passion in your bedroom? Sign up for a pole dance workout. This strength-based training which involves spinning, swinging, twirling, climbing and more, targets the whole body. It improves posture and increases upper body definition. Pregnant women and people with histories of heart disease, joint, back and knee problems, and should steer clear.
A dance form that originated in Brazil, Batuka is an aerobic activity combined with martial art moves. It is meant to increase endurance levels and emphasizes positive thinking. A fun, high intensity dance workout, Batuka offers choreographed routines to globally inspired music.
13. Belly dance
Wondering how Katrina got her moves right in Sheila Ki Jawani? Belly dancing is a sure-fire way to burn belly fat and strengthen your abs. Dance away stress, improve blood circulation and body posture. This is a good pre-natal workout!
Zumba Fitness is a Latin-Inspired, easy-to-follow, calorie-burning dance fitness party and it works for weight loss, weight management, fat loss and body toning. It takes the basic steps from Latin dance styles like the merengue, cumbia, salsa, latin-pop, reggaetton, bachhata, calypsio, samba and many more and merges a fitness formula to it.
Zumba Fitness allows you to feel like you’re in a night club instead of an exercise class. It uses great spicy Latin music and Latin dance styles fusing it with fitness. In Zumba you work out from head to toe using muscles you never would have in a normal gym class. Its tagline Party Yourself into Shape’ explains its reason for popularity. You come out of a Zumba Fitness class with a lot more energy, with a bag full of stress out of your system and most importantly with a smile. If fitness is fun, you would stick to it and this explains its committed following and popularity.
15. Power yoga
Power yoga is a more dynamic version of traditional yoga – it’s faster, more intense and the focus is more on building strength and less on meditation or chanting. And while in yoga there’s a fixed set of asanas, in power yoga teachers have more flexibility in terms of arranging postures according to their preferences.
It’s believed the new technique was created by Beryl Bender Birch of New York and Bryan Kest based in Los Angeles to make yoga more interesting for westerners.
YOGAqua is an ancient fitness method that’s been in practice since centuries. But of late, many new variants have emerged which aim to intensify its fitness benefits in a shorter span of time. While some of these have been welcome with open arms, others are just plain whacky and it takes guts to try them out. One such variant is YOGAqua – yoga merged with Stand-up Paddle-Boarding (SUP). The idea behind this method is that since the asanas (postures) are done on a moving surface, it engages muscles that we normally don’t in other exercises. The best part of this workout is – it is done outdoors in the sea on calm waters. Students first learn to balance themselves on the stand-up paddle board and then begin doing various yoga poses. Even if you lose your balance, you just fall in the water. Sounds like a fun way to exercise while making a splash.
17. AntiGravity® Aerial Yoga
Imagine hanging from a hammock made of cloth in mid-air in a yoga pose. That’s AntiGravity® Aerial yoga for you. A workout created by a gymnast who is also a professional dancer, it promises to increase physical agility and overall health while also having fun and being a bit creative. The fabric hammock is good for upper body workout and to strengthen one’s core. Enter a class, and you may find a bunch of students in an upside down meditation position dangling in air from the hammock or completely snuck inside it with only their feet visible, practising what is known as the cocoon pose. If you want to practise yogawhile defying gravity, then this workout is perfect for you.
18. Backward running
Backward or retro running is nothing but running backwards without looking behind. A daily exercise for many in Europe and Japan, the thought of it sounds absurd but it apparently has a number of benefits, even more than traditional running say many. So what are its benefits? The first one is that you can do it even if you are injured. Now no more waiting for the ankle sprain to heal, you can still run backwards. It’s also been observed that 100 steps backwards is the same as 1000 steps forward so you burn more calories with this workout. Since you are running backwards, you need to be alert to help yourself navigate the way. This heightens your senses and you also have fun doing this workout. Not so common here but there are various sprints and even marathons organised for backward running in Europe. So start running backwards to get forward in your fitness regimen.
19. Cycle karaoke
Love singing out loud your favourite songs? Now you have the chance to sing and also get fit while doing it. Say hello to cycle karaoke! The concept behind this is that your singing is an indicator of your heart rate. If you can sing a song with the perfect notes whilst working out on the cycle, you are not working hard enough but if you are out of breath during a rendition, you are closer to achieving your fitness goal. Another reason to sing at the top of your voice while cycling in a gym is that is boosts everyone’s energy and you have more motivation and stamina than before. Making this a group activity will yield better results. So rehearse the lines of your favourite song and start singing it aloud the next time you hit the gym.
This clearly takes the cake when it comes to weird workouts. Doga is practising yoga with your pet dog. Yes, you read it right! Through this workout, masters can bond better with their pets while getting fitter than before. Even the dogs perform yoga asanas likechaturanga where the dogs sit with their front paws in the air with the support of their human partners and sun salutations where the dogs are lifted on their hind legs by the owners. The dogs are also used as props by their masters as they perform yoga poses. Like in the warrior pose, where the dog is balanced on the thigh or the forward bends where the dog is wrapped around the neck. It sounds completely bizarre but many dog owners in the West are thrilled by this workout and enjoy it more than the traditional exercise regimens. Looks like the dog pose is getting literal after all!
21. Masala Bhangra Workout
A combination of traditional bhangramoves with Bollywood steps, this workout gained mass acceptance in the West and has now made its way to India as well. Fun, peppy but physically draining, this regime mixes cardiovascular exercises with dance. It is devised by Sarina Jain and is fit to b done by people of all ages.
22. Hip hop abs
This workout promises to get you six-pack abs without doing a single crunch or sit-up. Another regimen by Shaun T, it claims to get you abs with its tilt, tuck and tighten’ technique. The regimen involves various dance moves on fast-paced songs to burn calories and sweat it out. There are four routines and a nutrition guide to help you sculpt your abs faster.
23. Strip aerobics
Now that’s a workout that stirs up quite a few images in your head. Move over the tried and tested aerobics and try out its racier version, strip aerobics. The exercises differ slightly than traditional aerobics and involve floor workouts, sexy moves and lots of sweat and fun. The participants don’t really strip down to their basics. They wear layers on top of their gym wear and take them off to the music while they workout. The idea is to learn moves similar to a striptease and get fit while doing it but not strip completely in the class. There are special women-only classes conducted by a few gyms where you can learn this sensuous workout. Or else, order a DVD at home and try it alone if you are too reticent to do it in public. Don’t be fooled by its name, it is still an intense programme and you will break a sweat.
24. Fitness video games
These are similar to video games that kids play but instead of controlling what’s going on just with your fingers, these are meant to engage your whole body in the activity just as you would do if playing in real life. For example, a running competition in a motion game will require you to actually run (just on the spot) in order for your player to move ahead and win the race – you can’t just make him run by pressing buttons on a remote. This benefits the person playing the game as it is fun and involves physical exercise. Gaming consoles like Xbox 360 Kinect Fitness and Nintendo Wii Fit Plus offer several games which have very interactive games that help you lose weight.
Pilates is a physical fitness regimen developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century that helps balanced development of the body through core strength, flexibility and awareness. It builds endurance in the legs, abdomen, arms, hips and the back. The regimen of Pilates is based on six principles – concentration, control, centering, flow, breathing and precision. Concentration involves focussing on what you do thoroughly for smooth movement. The idea of pilates is based on muscle control so that you are in control of your body and not the other way round. Centering refers to the powerhouse of your body – the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks and inner thighs – all movements begin from here. Flow implies that the exercise movements are meant to flow into each other to build strength and stamina. Precision is of significance in pilates because one correct precise movement is better than many imprecise ones. And in breathing, pilates makes sure the person breathes out fully so as to inhale fully, thereby allowing maximum circulation of oxygen to the body.