To improve physical coordination and sneak in some playful cardio, try a jump rope. It can burn more than 700 calories per hour. “The skipping rope is the only piece of cardio equipment I can think of that you can get for five dollars,” says says Todd Matthews, a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Aurora, Ont.. And the impact does help build bone mass, which is good for us women, as we’re at higher risk than men for osteoporosis.
How to use it: If you have joint issues, check with your doctor before going ahead with a jump rope program. Matthews gets some of his clients to skip for a warm-up, and for others he uses it as intense cardio. But it’s a good interval workout, he says. Skip for one minute, and rest for 15 seconds, and repeat four times. Too easy? Skip for three minutes and rest for one minute, and repeat four times.
This 1950s craze is no longer just child’s play. Hula-hooping, or “hooping,” has re-emerged as a great cardio workout to slim your waist, hips, buttocks and thighs while toning your abdominals and lower back muscles. Hooping can be done indoors or out, on your own or with a group in a class setting.
To get started, you’ll need the right hoop, preferably a heavy, large one that is about waist high, says Montreal hula hoop instructor Rebecca Halls. “The children’s hoops sold in toy stores are too small and light.” Here’s the basic technique: hold the hoop at your waist, keeping your legs shoulder- or hip-width apart. With one foot in front of the other and your knees bent, spin the hoop around your waist, using small back and forth or side-to-side movements. Get hooping tips from instructional videos on YouTube or watch Hoopnotica: Hoopdance DVDs.
Roller skating gives you a workout equivalent to jogging in terms of health benefits such as calorie and fat burning, and toning your legs and core. Head to a rink with your in-line skates and work on speed, leg and coordination drills such as single-leg side pushes and sprinting exercises using distance or time, recommends Libby Norris, president of Inspired Energy corporate wellness. “Roller skating is a great family activity and most rinks allow both in-line skates or the good old four wheels!”
Visit Roller Sports Canada for more info on where to get involved in your hometown.