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SELF features JJ Virgin

Posted by Levine Communications Office on June 13, 2011

To Heck With Outdoor Workouts: 4 Cool Alternatives

Monday, June 13, 2011 at 3:21 PM

  |  posted by Amy Paturel

A hot summer day makes us want to lie down and fan ourselves, not go outside and sweat in the sun. Who does that anyway? Not us! 


While we fully appreciate the need to get — and stay — bikini-ready this summer, we’re not about to subject ourselves to potential heat stroke and bad hair.

Fortunately, there are plenty of high-intensity activities that will help you stay cool — indoors and out! Here are our top four picks:


Bonus: Lose 10 pounds … the healthy way!


–    Get wet. Swimming develops strength, endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Spend an hour swimming laps and you’ll burn nearly 600 calories compared to just 384 calories for general aerobics. Better yet, if you live near the ocean, try surfing, boogie boarding or just jumping the waves. All three not only burn fat, they build brawn, too.

–    Go for a ride. “Biking is a great warm weather activity because once you pick up speed, the wind will help you stay cool,” says Jenna Bell-Wilson, Ph.D., registered dietitian in New York City and co-author of Energy to Burn. “You can also seek routes that are shaded.” Better yet, wet your hair before you hit the road; the wind in the air coupled with your cool, wet hair will keep you feeling refreshed. 

–    Hit the ice rink. While skating every day might get a little pricey, it’s a great way to cool down on a sweaty summer day. Plus, you’ll burn far more calories than you might during your standard 2-mile run. 

–    Transform your home. Turn on your AC, get a big glass of water and turn your house into an indoor obstacle course with a few simple items. All you need is a bench (or 24″ high coffee table, as long as it’s sturdy and not made of glass!) for dips and push-ups, free weights (use the heaviest weight you can handle in good form) and a mat, says JJ Virgin, nutrition and fitness expert and author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless & Sexy. Want to get fancy? Pull out an exercise stability bar, install a pull up bar on your doorjamb and get a jump rope.

Don’t forget about that unused stairwell at work, too. “Spend your break bursting up a flight of stairs and then walking back down to recover,” suggests Virgin. Don’t want to get sweaty during at work? We don’t either! Just break up your stair stepping throughout the day. Keep in mind, too, that you often get the most exercise when you aren’t actively working out, so slap on a pedometer and make it a point to take every opportunity to move more daily.


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