With an influx of creative ways to sweat, like color runs and aerial dance classes, there are more ways to break a sweat than ever before. For most young people, though, shelling out hundreds of dollars on specialty instructors and races isn’t very practical. This is one case where millennials might benefit from looking to their parents (or even grandparents!) for a little bit of inspiration. Plenty of traditional exercises offer the same health benefits as new, glamorous routines.
Need more convincing? These options require minimal equipment and many of them can be done anywhere. That means that even if you aren’t able to find time to make it to the gym, you can still squeeze in some exercise — and a little bit is better than not exercising at all. Health recently reported that multiple studies found that even a small amount of physical activity is better than none. So lace up your shoes. These are your mama’s workouts.
1. Step aerobics
Laugh all you want, but this back-in-the day workout can do the body good. A 155-pound person will burn about 260 calories in just 30 minutes, according to Harvard Medical School. That doesn’t put it too far behind running, which is good news for anyone prone to injuries from high-impact activities.
If you belong to a gym, ask about what’s covered in your membership. Many facilities offer classes for free or at a reduced rate. What’s more, you don’t have to purchase any of the equipment yourself. Just show up and get ready to kick!
For the truly time-pressed, boxing might just be the best workout there is. It’s good for cardiovascular health as well as strength training. No dumbbells here! Livestrong shared findings from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services indicating that a 155-pound person can sweat out 422 calories in an hour of hitting a heavy bag. That same individual can scorch up to 633 calories an hour in the ring.
As an added bonus, this is one workout that’s perfect for when you’ve had a super frustrating day. Based on findings from a German study, The New York Times reported exercise may help manage anger. So you can get a workout and a therapy session rolled into one package.
3. Jumping rope
It turns out Rocky had it right all along: jumping rope is a seriously killer workout. This ’80s favorite is just as effective now as it was back in the day. In fact, according to Science Daily, 10 minutes of this activity is just as effective as running an 8-minute mile. If you were somehow able to manage to keep it up for an hour, you’d tear through roughly 1,300 calories.
And jumping rope is just about as inexpensive as exercise gets. You can find a decent rope for little more than $5. Couple that with the portability factor, and you might start to question why you haven’t gotten started yet.
4. Wind sprints
High-intensity interval workouts have gotten plenty of press time in the past few years, and it’s no wonder. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, it’s one of the best ways to boost fitness and improve cardiovascular health. That may help explain why so many have turned to programs like Crossfit, but those memberships are way too expensive for most folks in their 20s to seriously consider.
Thankfully, you don’t need fancy equipment or even a track to reap the same benefits. Good ol’ wind sprints will do the trick. Men’s Fitness offers some great tips on how to get the most out of this workout.
5. Jumping jacks
You probably did some half-hearted jumping jacks as a warm-up during gym class in high school, but did you know you can turn this simple activity into a serious sweat session? FitDay explains that this dynamic movement can be as effective as a cardiovascular workout when performed for 15 minutes or longer. To get the most bang for your buck, FitDay suggests adding weights or increasing your pace.
With absolutely no equipment, this is one exercise that can literally go anywhere. So even if you’re stuck in the office or your apartment, you can get your heart pumping.
6. Running stairs
It might not be as glamorous as a Tough Mudder, but running stairs is one of the most effective workouts there is. An article from Runner’s World explains that “stairs are much steeper than most hills,” so it stresses your body more effectively. And there’s no need to find a stadium. As long as your building has a stairwell, you’re good to go.
Just make sure you have the appropriate footwear, preferably something designed for running. Nobody needs to break an ankle in high heels.
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