6. Running up the stairs
885 calories per hour
Stair runs. We usually only see them when the football team is training for season. But this exercise is an intense workout that combines leg strengthening with cardio. Stair runs are a high-impact workout whereas the elliptical is low-impact, meaning less weight-bearing on your joints. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, high-impact weight-bearing exercises such as stair climbing provide the best way to build strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Just think how tan you will be after running the stairs under the sun—and with a nice toned butt and thighs to match. So head over to the stadium on a sunny day, bring a friend along for mental support, and get to work!
7. Circuit Training
544 calories per hour
Just like the weight lifting spiel, when you combine this exercise with some cardio you will burn more than you would on the elliptical. Circuit training is often used to target every muscle group efficiently, building muscular endurance. It is a conditioning exercise that combines resistance training and high-intensity aerobics.
An exercise "circuit" is one completion of all prescribed exercises in the program (see example image above). For example, one circuit would include pushups, sit-ups, squats, lunges, and crunches all done for 45 seconds each with a 60-second rest period between each exercise. After 3 full completions of the circuit, you will definitely be feeling the burn!
Circuit training is extremely effective if you are trying to get a full body workout in a short amount of time. It also keeps your heart rate up, as you switch back and forth between exercises at a fast pace, burning fat and building your strength and cardio endurance.
816 calories per hour
No, we’re not talking about the vegetable here, but rather the game called squash. I had heard about it, I’d even seen it once or twice, but I didn’t actually know how to play squash until my friend was telling me about how tired she was from her squash game. Squash combines speed, agility, hand-eye coordination, and aerobic fitness making it an intense cardio workout. This exercise targets all of your major leg muscles and is also great for your biceps and triceps. It’s basically tennis on steroids. There’s much more running, swinging, and sweat involved.
After finding out you can burn 800+ calories in just an hour of playing, I immediately rounded up a group and dragged them to the gym to play with me. But first I read this article, which gives the low down on this hidden gem of a sport. Check it out to get caught up on everything from the rules of squash to the equipment you’ll need for your next match!
9. Swimming Laps
700 calories per hour
What’s a better way to cool off on a warm spring day than to jump in a refreshing pool? Might as well get the most bang for your buck and swim laps in the pool to get a serious cardio workout. This is a great alterative to the cardio machines at the gym because you burn the same calories without all the sweat!
680 calories per hour
It seems simple, and may be as dull as the elliptical, but running is a timeless method of exercise and there’s reason for it. Running, we’re talking about a 10 minute mile here, keeps your heart rate up, tones your legs, works your core and provides that overall feeling of ‘ahh’ after. Whether it’s a painful ‘ahh’ or an ‘ahh’ of relief, running never fails to do a body good.
It’s always great to set a goal for yourself. For example, plan to train for a 5k and then ultimately work your way up to a half marathon. Collegietteä Allie Niebur tells of the benefits of her half-marathon training regimen: “I have a training schedule that starts about 10 weeks before the race. It includes weight lifting and cross training along with the running. I have already started noticing that my running time is getting faster and that the longer mile runs are getting a lot easier.”
This HC article explains all the necessary components that go into training for a 5k run. You can find details on everything from what type of shoes to wear to a specific training schedule to keep yourself on track. Work in weight lifting and stretching with the running routine and you’ll be in shape in no time!
Other fun activities that you didn’t know could burn calories:
- Sex (yes, it’s fun AND a workout! Just remember to use protection!): 102 calories per hour
- Playing Frisbee: 204 calories per hour
- Stretching (think light yoga-esque stretching): 170 calories per hour
- Snorkeling: 340 calories per hour
So next time you want to get in a good workout, try some of these exercises and switch up your typical routine. Not only will it be a nice change of pace, but it’s always good to exercise different muscle groups.
And if you REALLY don’t want to give up the elliptical just yet, you can always incorporate different speeds and intervals to keep it interesting. You know, not just stay at level 5 the entire time. Here is a great step-by-step HC guide on how to get the most out of your elliptical workout.
Jeff Ackler – student at the University of Oregon
Megan Bianchetti – student at the University of Oregon
Allie Niebur – student at the University of Oregon