Think outside the box
There's nothing wrong with racking up the hours on a treadmill or elliptical trainer — unless you get bored and stop doing it. So why not jump-start a healthy lifestyle with one of these fun, kooky workouts? Not only are they entertaining enough to hook you and keep you coming back, they actually work.
Did you see Shawn Johnson’s incredible bhangra performance on Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars? If not, you should watch it — then go out to a Bollywood dance class and do a few of the same moves yourself. Don't worry, you won't be moving with quite the same intensity that had an Olympian out of breath, but you will have a chance to make like one of the backup dancers in Slumdog Millionaire's "Jai Ho."
Let's get one thing straight: Going to a Hot Hula class to learn the actual hula is like going to Zumba to learn the actual salsa — it ain't gonna happen. What you will get, though, is a core-intensive, hula-esque cardio workout that'll tone your abs and slim you down so much that may have to buy new pants. Hidden bonus? It's low-impact, so if you live in an upstairs apartment or condo, your downstairs neighbor will never know you're shredding your midsection to a great Hot Hula DVD (as long as you keep the drumbeats under control).
Granted, roller derby is a pretty rough and tumble sport, but it's also an incredible workout. It also creates some of the fiercest and most inclusive female camaraderie I've ever seen. (If you're not sure what's going on during a derby bout, check out this explanation of derby rules from Whip It.) Actually graduating from rookie to a full member of the team takes some work, so you're going to get fit and be surrounded by a solid derby family by the time you’re done. And guess what? No matter what your size, there's a place for you.
Some of the official Irish dancing schools will accept adults, so you've got a chance to get your Michael Flatley on at any age. As someone who did a year in one of those schools, I can promise you that they'll shred everything from the waist down, especially your calves, in no time.
Competitive Irish dancing also requires a lot of intense practice, so if you'd like to preserve the element of spontaneity, look for ceilis or set dances in your area. These types of Irish folk dancing can be done for competition, but they're more often done to live music at social gatherings, just for the fun of it.
Watch: Shawn Johnson on Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars
Watch Shawn Johnson's incredible bhangra performance on Dancing With the Stars: All-Stars
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