A Better Body in 2 Hours a Week: A Total-Body Workout
How Hard Is Hard Enough?
Scientists define "vigorous" activity as anything with a metabolic equivalent (MET) intensity level greater than 6.0. Your MET can range from 0.9 (sleeping) to 18 (running at 10.9 mph -- a 5.5-minute mile). Try working these vigorous activities into your routine.
- Running: Add some stairs and boost the burn by about 90 percent.
- Biking: Cruising around doesn't count. You've gotta be doing at least 12 mph.
- Step aerobics: One set of risers (6 to 8 inches) is plenty to get your heart rate pumping.
- Jumping rope: It doesn't matter how fast -- just keep jumping. If you're not feeling coordinated, ditch the rope and circle your arms.
- Boxing: Want to get more out of it? Imagine that the punching bag is your ex-boyfriend.
- Tennis: Lose the partner. A game of singles burns about 33 percent more calories than doubles.
- Soccer: Playing goalie? Jog in place during the game (that is, when the ball's not coming your way).
- Swimming laps: Try alternating strokes between butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle to maximize your calorie burn.
- Backpacking: Carry more than 10 pounds and you'll blast about 7 percent more calories.
- Canoeing: You don't have to be an expert, but try to row at 4 mph or faster.
- Mountain climbing: Not the adventurous type? Walk hard up a big set of stairs and get about the same heart-pumping (though not as thrilling) effect.
- Roller-skating: Pick up a pair of in-line skates instead -- you'll up the intensity by about 71 percent.
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