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So many ways to burn calories: Cycle, kickbox, dance, climb stairs

Are you dreading your half-hour-on-the-treadmill routine? Then stop torturing yourself and find a cardio activity you enjoy.

There are a lot of activities you can do that burn just as many, if not more, calories as running on the treadmill. The key is to pick something you enjoy so you stick with it.

Here are five options to get your heart pumping, burn just as many calories, and see results:

Jumping rope

If you haven’t jumped rope since you were on the playground, I’ve got news for you: It’s a lot more challenging than you remember. Believe it or not, jumping rope can be a great workout — it strengthens your abs because you have to keep your core tight and it gives your metabolism a jolt and to do it effectively, you have to build a rhythm so you’re not always stopping.


How to do it:Start with the basic standard jumping rope with your feet together. Try bringing the rope up and over and doing a single jump for 3 minutes without stopping. Then give yourself a minute break, and try again for another 2 minutes. Try 2 minutes on, 1 minute off for about 10 minutes. As you start to get comfortable with that, increase the time you’re jumping by a minute each time. Once you get to 5 minutes without taking a break, you’ve developed a strong rhythm and can start building toward jumping for 30 minutes straight. Taking breaks in between jumping is perfectly fine — it turns it into an interval workout.

How many calories it burns:You can burn 300 calories in 30 minutes jumping rope.


It’s a great workout to burn off steam and energy. You strengthen your core muscles because the basic movements are like standing crunches with the upper body — you’re getting your heart rate up and you’re strengthening your upper back muscles at the same time.

How to do it:Try a kickboxing class here at the Y. It is one of our most popular classes along with Cyclebox (boxing and cycling). You wear gloves and hit against a bag. You can do a sparring routine in your own living room with a video.

How many calories it burns:You’ll burn anywhere from 310 to 400 calories in 30 minutes.

Stair climbing

Stair climbing is a great workout — you don’t even need the machine if you can go outside and find a set of stadium stairs somewhere.


How to do it:If you’re running stadium stairs, put more power into the workout by running up every other step and speed walking down every single step on the way down to really get your heart pumping. By running up every other step, you’re making the routine an explosive, plyometric workout, which can increase the power of your legs. Put on your favorite music on to make the workout fun.

If you’re on a stair machine, choose a level that’s challenging for you. Set the stair climber on manual or choose the interval workout mode if your machine has that setting, starting with 30 minutes, working your way to 45 minutes, without stopping.

How many calories it burns:You can burn more than 500 calories in 30 minutes.

Cycling class

Sure, it’s bound to hurt your butt, but you’ll get over it. Cycling class can be a great way to learn the mechanics of riding a bike, and it’s great for the lower body.

How to do it:Riding a stationary bike sometimes isn’t as challenging as the cycling class we offer. In class, you have someone dictating your tempo and telling you when to stand up and increase your intensity so you get the full lower body workout as well as the cardio benefits.

How many calories it burns:You’ll burn 400 to 550 calories in 30 minutes.



Anything that will get you sweating will burn those calories, so why not do something you enjoy? Many gyms offer dance classes, so take advantage. Just make sure that you’re not dancing at a conversation's pace, you want to challenge yourself — if you can do cardio and can carry on a full-fledged conversation, you’re not challenging yourself enough.

How to do it:Take a hip-hop, salsa, Zumba or a belly-dancing class. The Y offers Zumba classes. If you don’t have access to the Y, pick out a dance or Zumba DVD.

How many calories it burns:You’ll burn about 330 calories in 30 minutes.

The key is finding an activity you enjoy so you sweat and burn off those calories. If you choose a cardio activity you dread, chances are you’re not going to do it.

The calorie count is based on someone who weighs 150-170 pounds.

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