tabata class
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Super-Short Workouts

Heard of the 7-minute workout? How about Tabata? Both are just a few minutes. The trick is, you work harder than you thought possible, pushing yourself to the max. If you're not in shape now, start with something more moderate. Get a checkup before any new workout if you're a man over 45 or a woman over 55, or if you have health issues.

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triathletes swimming
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Sprint Triathlon

If you’ve got the guts for a triathlon, but not enough hours to train, try a shorter version. A sprint triathlon is a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride, and 3-mile run. In a triathlon relay, team members work together to complete a regular triathlon. 

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ballet class
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Ballet Barre Class

These moves can strengthen your core, arms, and legs. One to try is the plié: Stand with your heels together, toes apart, and then bend your knees. Squeeze your inner thighs and glutes as you slowly go lower, keeping your knees over your toes, and then rise to standing. Studios offer classes, or you can follow a video at home. Some classes also include cardio.

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man on obstacle course
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Adventure Races

Only the fit and fearless can tackle this obstacle race. You do things like crawl through mud, climb walls, and swim in icy water. Train for at least 8 weeks with sprints, squats, pushups, and weights. Rest between short bursts of exercise.

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women playing tennis
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Sports Leagues for Adults

Add some team spirit to your workout by joining a recreation league. You could play tennis, volleyball, soccer, basketball, flag football, or softball, for starters. There are also leagues for games you might have played way back in grade school, like kickball or dodgeball.

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man doing p90x workout
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Elite Fitness: Muscle Confusion

Cross-training programs like P90X and Insanity aim for "muscle confusion." They switch up exercises, add new moves, and often include jump training, also called plyometrics.

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bike class
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Indoor Cycling Class

This trend is here to stay. In some, you can compete against your classmates. Many programs also use upper-body weights. Some places combine cycling with yoga or Pilates.

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group of people doing zumba dance
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Zumba: Dance Fitness

Zumba wants your workout to party! This high-energy dance fitness class moves to Latin and international beats instead of counting repetitions. It's one of the most popular workouts, and it burns more calories than kickboxing or step aerobics. Zumba Step, a new type of Zumba to pump up the intensity, combines the dance moves of Zumba with a step for toning and strengthening legs and glutes.

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woman doing crossfit training
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You can burn about 15 calories per minute with this intense workout. Work to your max with squats, pushups, gymnastic rings, intense runs, and weightlifting. “Hero Workouts” are named in honor of soldiers who died serving the country. Be aware that the bursts of intense exercise can lead to injury. It’s important to work on your flexibility and learn to do the moves properly.

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woman using vipr
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ViPR sounds like a killer workout, but the true goal is strength and fitness for everyday life. You use a heavy rubber tube to lift, push, twist, and work your whole body. ViPR adds moves that boost your workout whether you’re just starting or you’re a top athlete. Choose the size and weight that fits your needs.

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man working out with kettlebells
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A vigorous workout with a kettlebell -- a cast iron ball with a handle -- can burn 272 calories on average in just 20 minutes. Swinging the kettlebell works muscles in a way that weight machines and barbells can't. Start with a light kettlebell -- 8 to 15 pounds for women, and 15 to 25 pounds for men. Form is critical to prevent injury, so ask a trainer to show you how to use them properly.

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water aerobics
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Water Aerobics

Working out in water is easy on your joints. The resistance from the water helps make you stronger. You can make this workout as hard as you want, depending on how quickly you do the moves. Plus, being in the water just feels good to many people, so it can help you relax and feel better. If aerobics isn't your thing, you could swim laps or walk in the water for a solo workout.

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fitness boot camp
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Boot Camp: Back to Basics

This is basic training without a drill sergeant sneering and shouting in your face. There’s no fancy equipment -- just a series of pushups, squats, kicks, other calisthenics, and aerobic movements. You’ll burn about 10 calories a minute, or 600 an hour. The payback: total-body fitness.

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person playing dance video game
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Exergaming: Aerobic Play

Who said playing video games turns you into a couch potato? You can burn as many calories exergaming as working out at the gym -- about 270 calories vigorously dancing, or 216 calories virtual boxing, in a half-hour. Exergaming is one way to get kids moving. And slower-paced activities can help older adults be less sedentary.

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woman in boxercise class
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Among exercises, boxing is a knockout -- delivering agility, balance, muscle tone, strength, and cardio benefits. Sparring also improves hand-eye coordination and mental agility. You'll be skipping, shadowboxing, kicking punching bags, and more. Be sure to protect your thumbs and knuckles, and consider wearing shin supports.

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woman exercising with hula hoop
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Hulas: Whittle While You Work Out

If the last time you swung a hula hoop was in fourth grade, it's time to give it another whirl. It's easier to swing the new weighted hula hoops than the flimsy plastic ones. Hooping can burn more calories than step aerobics and raise your heart rate as much as cardio kickboxing. It works your waist and core muscles, and can tone your thighs and biceps.

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woman holding smart phone displaying activity app
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Apps for Exercise

Fitness trackers such as the Fitbit and GoWear Fit measure your steps, calories burned, and calories eaten. They can even monitor your sleep. The information can be uploaded and tracked on your computer. There are also apps that show you exactly what to do in your workout and explain good form, so you do it right.

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woman and trainer exercising on beach
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Finding a Good Trainer

A trainer can help you get more out of your workout. Choose a trainer with experience in the type of workout you want to try. Look for someone who is certified by an accreditation program, such as the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, or the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 07/11/2019 Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on July 11, 2019


1)         Jerry Holt/Minneapolis Star Tribune/
2)         Per Breiehagen/Taxi
3)         Getty Images
4)         Philip Lee Harvey/Taxi
5)         Thinkstock
6)         Washington Post/Getty Images
7)         Stephen J. Coddington/Tampa Bay Times/
8)         Barry Brecheisen/Wire Image
9)         Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC
10)        Pat Vasquez-Cunningham/Albuquerque Journal
11)        Steve Pomberg/WebMD
12)        Thinkstock
13)        Mike Powell/Digital Vision
14)        Mario Tama
15)        Julian Finney
16)        Sacramento Bee/McClatchy-Tribune
17)        Thinkstock
18)        Steve Casimiro/Photographer’s Choice


ABC Health and Wellbeing: "Boxercise."

Anders, M. ACE FitnessMatters, July/August 2008.

American Council on Exercise.

Everwell: "How to Find a Personal Trainer."

Beil, L. Men’s Health, Oct. 11, 2012.

CDC: "Physical Activity and Health," "Health Benefits of Water-Based Exercise."

National Council on Strength & Fitness: "Suspension Training Overview."

Considine, A. The New York Times, Aug. 15, 2012.

Burns, N. The New York Times, Feb. 1, 2007.

Noah, J. Journal of Exercise Physiology, August 2011.

Miami Herald: "Flywheel puts technology and a competitive edge into indoor cycling." July 16, 2012.

Sifferlin, A. Time Magazine, Aug. 7, 2012.

Sharick, C. Time Magazine, Sept. 25, 2009.

Vladimir Bellevue, trainer, Gravity Fitness. "Tools for the Trainer -- Core-Tex and ViPR."

Well+Good NYC: "An Unexpectedly Edgy Workout Based on Cheerleading Comes to New York City."

City of Colorado Springs: "Adult Sports."

City of Alexandria, VA: "Adult Sports & Activities."

Reviewed by Tyler Wheeler, MD on July 11, 2019

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.