8 Easy Fitness Trade-Ups That Boost Results

By , Linda Melone, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Woman's Day
Ditch and Switch
You’ve found an exercise plan that works for you (no small feat!), so why change it? Over time, your body adapts to the same routine, decreasing your calorie burn as your muscles get better at doing those same moves over and over. Instead of plateauing, try these simple upgrades to kick things up a notch—and keep getting results.  

Instead of: a pedometer 
Try: a heart rate monitor

While a pedometer tells you how many steps you take, "if you want to burn more fat, you need to measure intensity," says Guy Andrews, executive director of Exercise ETC, Inc., a fitness education provider in Fort Lauderdale, FL. And a heart rate monitor does just that. Strap one on and do your favorite cardio routine at a pace that causes breathlessness in two to three minutes. When it becomes difficult to speak, check your heart rate. "This is where you want to spend as much time as possible during exercise," says Andrews. 

Instead of: hula-hooping 
Try: Zumba

Both hula hooping and Zumba use similar hip and core movements, but Zumba burns many more calories, says Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise (ACE). "Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse concluded that Zumba not only improves cardiorespiratory fitness but also body composition,” which reduces body fat. Specifically, that study showed that Zumba burns an average of 475 calories in 50 minutes while hula-hooping burns 350 calories in that same time. Achieve your weight-loss goals more quickly by swapping out hooping for Zumba classes three times a week.

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