If you’re planning to lose weight, the first thought that occurs in your head is to probably hit the gym. The thing we don’t realize immediately is there are other forms of physical activity that can help us in our quest to be rid of excess belly fat.
If you’re okay with going to the gym and doing the same routine day in, day out — by all means, go ahead. But for the rest of us, doing the same old exercises over a long period of time can get boring really quickly. When it becomes monotonous, you’ll lose all the interest and motivation you had at the start, and your fitness goals will be left uncompleted — so it is essential to switch up your exercise routines and keep things fresh and interesting.
Exercising doesn’t always have to be a tedious chore — it can even be fun, and sports are a great way to do just that. Here are six of the best calorie-burning sports activities.
Cycling or Spinning
Cycling is an aerobic cardiovascular activity, which means it gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing, and this effectively burns your fat away. Using your legs to push at the pedals also strengthens your lower body muscles, especially your thighs and calves.
It is a low-impact activity, which means you won’t damage your knees and joints as the bicycle holds up most of your body weight. Cycling is versatile — if you’re adventurous, you can cycle outdoors on park trails and roads, and can even cycle to work. If you prefer the comfort of your own home, you can use an exercise bike and even watch TV and play video games at the same time.
Speaking of exercise bikes, spin classes are an increasingly popular form of exercise these days. These classes usually have a dance club-like atmosphere with thumping music, and involves a group of people on exercise bikes cycling (or spinning) to the rhythm of the music. Moving to the fast beat makes it a high-intensity fat-burning workout, and you have the added bonus of working out with friends too.
If you’d rather be in the water, here’s some good news — swimming can actually be an intense cardio workout that burns calories effectively. Swimming laps in a pool can burn as much as 700 calories in a single hour — which clearly makes it one of the best alternatives to other cardio workouts like running.
Swimming also works out your whole body. Because of the water’s high density, your muscles need to work harder to push against the resistance it feels, and this, in turn, can strengthen and tone your muscles, especially your upper body. If you ever get bored, try learning different styles and strokes — breaststroke, freestyle, and butterfly — and switch it up so it’s always new.
Rowing is similar to cycling, in the sense that it can be done either indoors or outdoors. Indoors rowing will require a rowing machine, and more than just burning calories, it will work your full upper body — your back muscles, forearms, and shoulders too. Your core abdominal muscles will also be activated, so if you want six pack abs, try the rowing machine.
If you’d rather be outdoors (and the weather is good), go rent a kayak and kayaking equipment, and get paddling in the open water. As much as the view is wonderful, always wear a lifejacket to be safe.
Football, also known as soccer, is a team sport where players run across a field to kick a ball into the opposing team’s goalpost. Because there are so many players on a team, you’ll be walking most of the time, jogging often, and all-out sprinting occasionally, but the important thing to note is that you’re always moving. The football field is big, and running across it for at least an hour requires good stamina. All the moving around will also ensure you’re always burning calories.
The best part is football is a game – in fact, it’s widely known as ‘the beautiful game’ — so you’ll never get bored of playing it. Grab some friends and go kick some balls — just remember to stretch well first before exerting yourself.
Similar to football, basketball is played with smaller teams on a smaller court, and instead of kicking the ball into a net, you throw it through a hoop. It’s a lot faster-paced than football, so you will definitely get a good workout in. With a smaller team, sometimes even 1-on-1, it might be easier to find people to play with.
Boxing, karate, taekwondo, kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu — these are a few of the martial arts many people train nowadays for fitness purposes. There’s a reason why professional sports fighters are all lean muscle fighting machines, and that’s because combat sports are great at burning fat and keeping you fighting fit. It’s an intense full body workout, and you need more than knowing how to punch — you need speed and quick reflexes to dodge and move quickly, stamina to outlast your opponent, and the strength to take them down. Moreover, you’ll be learning self-defence techniques that might just save your life one day.