“I’ll get up and go for a run!” That’s the lie you tell yourself in the evening anyway. And then your alarm goes off at 5:30, and you realize that, crap, you actually hate running. Dragging yourself out of bed to pound the pavement? No thanks. Shivering in the cold or sweating in the humidity kinda sucks, too.
But running is such great exercise. Yep, it is. … And so are a lot of other workouts. Look, we don’t judge. If you’re the person that does leap out of bed, lace up your shoes, and beat your personal record every morning, well … you’re a magical unicorn. Go you! (You probably have one of those 13.1 or 26.2 bumper stickers on your car, don’t you?)
If you’re looking to mix it up/shake it off/just avoid running, we have some other ideas to help you burn calories, too. Here are some of the best workouts to get your blood pumping and your body moving.
Who doesn’t love dipping their body in the crystalline waters of a clean pool? Great news: Swimming is a fantastic way to burn calories while keeping cool. Burn anywhere from 300 to 400 calories per 30 minutes, depending on your weight and the type of stroke (butterfly beats breaststroke). Swimming uses your whole body—legs, arms, and core—and it’s easy on your joints. This pretty perfect workout is ideal for everyone from super athletes and pregnant women to those with arthritis and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Simple laps will do with this workout. And all you need is a swimsuit, a place to swim, and maybe a pair of goggles.
2. Jumping Rope
Remember playing Double Dutch on the playground with those plastic ropes? Turns out our childhood selves were onto something. Jumping rope burns a boatload of calories—like anywhere from 600 to nearly 1,000 per hour—but you’ve gotta do it right.
Start out by setting a timer for two-minute intervals. Keep your arms near your sides, and use your wrists to get the rope going. Jump just high enough to get over the rope, and try to land on the balls of your feet. Once you get your groove down, you can add time to your jump-roping intervals.
Work up a sweat while you work those legs, and feel the burn! Indoor cycling is a beast at burning calories—anywhere from around 500 to 900, in fact. Set your bike seat to the right height, and then pedal furiously.
If you’re not going to a spin class, start out with 10 seconds of high-intensity pedaling with 50 seconds of rest. Once you’re comfortable with that speed, move up to 15 seconds of pedaling with 45 seconds of rest, and so on. Up the resistance as you go, and don’t forget to put on some club mix songs to get into your rhythm.
Kick some ass and get out some of that stress with kickboxing, which clocks in at around 400 to 700 calories per hour. While you spar, either with a partner or solo, shoot for 90 seconds of jabs and kicks with 30 seconds of rest in between.
Begin by perfecting basic moves—jab, cross, uppercut, and hook—and then add in sweeps, kicks, and squats to engage your whole body.
5. Vinyasa Yoga
Think yoga is easy? Think again! Also called flow yoga, vinyasa takes all those poses and coordinates the movements into a continuous routine (Chaturanga to Upward-Facing and then Downward-Facing Dog, for instance).
Vinyasa also can help you burn around 400 to 500 calories per hour. Begin your routine with a Plank Pose, and then move into the Chaturanga Dandasana before flowing into the Upward- and Downward-Facing Dog poses. A yoga instructor can help you with your form.
If running is your jam, more power to you. But go ahead and shake up your routine every once in a while with these calorie-blasting workouts. Just don’t forget to hydrate with water, and fuel your body with plenty of high-protein snacks. You got this!