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02/02/12: For many people, the abdominal region is a problem area that just doesn't seem to respond to dieting alone. If you're trying to lose weight and shrink your waistline, it's important to get regular cardiovascular exercise, and you should also use a few targeted moves meant specifically for your abs. Use a Sportsmith promotion code to save on equipment, then try to incorporate a few of these exercises to strengthen your core and work those ab muscles.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your knees slightly bent, recommends Fitness Magazine. Put your hands on your hips and tighten your abdominal muscles. Lift your right leg a few inches off of the floor and squat lower on your left leg. Hold this for a couple of seconds, then stand upright and do several more repetitions. Finally, switch sides, balancing on your right leg.
Lie flat on the floor (it might help to get a mat with a Gold's Gym Exercise Equipment promotion code) and put your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders up so you're in a crunch position, then lift your knees up toward your chest. Move your legs in a cycling motion, as if you were riding a bike. As each knee comes toward you, bring the opposite elbow forward. Keep alternating for 30 reps.
You'll need dumbbells or some kind of weights for this exercise, so use a Dick's Sporting Goods promotion code to save money on supplies. With a weight in each hand, stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lean toward your left side, reaching the hand with the weight down to the floor. You should feel your side stretching. Stand up straight, then repeat on the other side for 20 reps.
Get into a push-up position with your elbows on the ground so that your arms are at a 90 degree angle, suggests BodyBuilding.com. Arch your back a little bit instead of keeping it straight like you would with a push-up. Raise your rear up into the air, squeezing your abs at the same time. You should be making a high bridge with your body. Lower yourself back to the starting position, being careful not to let your back sag. Do 15 reps.
07/17/11: Playing a sport has many benefits - as a hobby, this type of activity is a fun way to enjoy your free time while flexing your muscles and burning some calories at the same time. Additionally, an activity that you like allows you to socialize with other people who have the same interests as you. Above all, most sports are fairly inexpensive, with some needing only a few equipments. Depending on your skill set (or the time you're willing to learn the skills!), there are many different sports that you can participate in.
Running. Running is a sport that pretty much anyone with a set of functioning legs and feet can do, and all you need is a good pair of shoes (and an optional mp3 player for some awesome beats) to get the job done. Whether you're running alone or with a group of people to compete, this activity will allow you to explore your surroundings without having to pay anything.
As an aerobic form of exercise, running is also a great way to lose unwanted pounds and keep you fit and healthy. Those who are looking to turn the activity into a competitive sport might even want to join marathons, which are long-distance running events that have runners' tongues wagging after the 26-mile trek. Of course, it takes a lot of practice and training before anyone should even try to compete in one!
Swimming. If you have an affinity for water, swimming might just be the right kind of activity for you. Of course, it's not just about wading in the pool - swimming requires a specific set of skills that you have to master, including proper breathing techniques and different strokes. Just because you're in a cool pool doesn't mean you're not burning any calories either. In fact, Nutra Check ranks the activity as one of the more strenuous sports. Compared to an hour's worth of cycling, which burns 256 calories, swimming will burn 513 calories. After a few sessions, you'll surely start to see that "swimmer's body" that everyone lusts over.
Soccer. With a group of friends, a game of soccer is a great activity that can be played by people of all skill levels. The sport is normally played by two teams of 11 players on a rectangular field with a goal on each of the short ends. The goal is simple: Score a point by driving the ball into the opposing goal, which is guarded by a goalkeeper. Field players can use any part of their body except for their arms or hands, with the feet primarily used to kick the ball around the field.
If you are interested in playing the sport, there really is no specific player position that you have to be, but throughout the ages, three specialized roles have been created - the strikers or forwards, whose main task is to score, the defenders, who prevent the opposing team from scoring, and the midfielders, whose specialty is to dispose the other team of the ball so they can then pass it the the strikers. Additionally, the activity is a fairly inexpensive endeavor since - all you really need is a pair of soccer shoes and the ball and you're ready to go! Just be sure to check out a Dick's Sporting Goods Promotion Code to save on your purchase.
Disc Golf. Those who prefer a slower pace when it comes to their sporting activities might want to check out what disc golf is all about. Played just like regular golf (but cheaper and with discs!), this trendy sport requires individual players to throw a flying disc into a basket or an intended target. The Professional Disc Golf Association explains that "[t]he object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc." Besides the leisurely pace, playing disc golf requires nothing more than several discs to play. According to DG Course Review, there are more than 3000 established courses in the country as of 2010, and approximately 87 percent of these venues are free for players.
Those who want to get into disc golf will understand soon enough why the game is one of the fastest-growing activities today. Playing the sport is surely a great way to spend a few hours with friends as you explore the great outdoors.
Basketball. For a sweaty, fun and challenging time with friends, a game of b-ball might just be what you're looking for, and all you need are a good pair of sneakers and a ball. Normally played between two teams of five, the main objective of basketball is to score points by shooting or throwing a ball into a hoop 10 feet high. A normal shot is worth two points, but shots from behind the line will earn the team that extra point. Different organizations play the games differently, and it's up to you to decide which time limit you prefer. The NBA, for instance, plays 12-minute quarters while the NCAA plays with two halves at 20 minutes each.
As a variation of the game, streetball is a less formal activity normally played in streets where, in most instances, only half of the court is used. It can be played with only two people, called a one-on-one, or more. Other variations of the game include 21 or Roughhouse, Around the World and Knock Out.
Badminton. For a fun summer activity in the backyard or at the beach with a friend or three, badminton is the perfect sport that allows people of all skill levels to participate. Best of all, a basic badminton kit can cost as little as $20.
The game is basically a racquet sport played by two opposing players or pairs who take turns striking a shuttlecock over the net. The goal is for you to strike the shuttlecock so that it lands on your opponent's side of the court. You may only strike the shuttle once before you pass it over to your opponent, and the rally will only end once it hits the floor. Each game is normally played up to 21 points, but it's up to you to mix it up if you prefer!
Volleyball. Another fun and exciting activity that can be played in the comforts of your own backyard or during a beach outing is volleyball. In a formal game, volleyball is played between two teams of six separated by a net that divides the court. Just like badminton, the main goal of the game is for one team to strike the opposing team's side of the court to gain points. The team that gets to score 25 points and be two points ahead wins a set, with matches normally being best of five.
Of course, if you're playing with your friends, rules can be changed around to cater to your skill sets. Besides proper serving skills, playing volleyball requires being able to block the ball to prevent it from landing on your side of the court. Additionally, different techniques like the spike and the dig are important to truly elevate your team against your opponents.
Dancing. Dancing may be an art form, but it's also a sport that requires physical prowess and skills. Whether you're in it to compete or just to burn some calories in a fun way as you get your groove on, dancing will definitely get your heart pumping.
The activity, of course, varies greatly. From hip-hop to break dancing, tango to waltz, each dance requires a different kind of skill that you'll have to learn, either from a professional instructor in a personal class or through a dance school.
When it comes to burning calories, Nutra Check reports that an hour's worth of salsa dancing can actually burn up to 390 calories. And besides the cost of dance lessons, all you need is a good pair of dancing shoes.
Billiards. A game of pool at the local bar may not be the strenuous activity that you're looking for, but it still requires a great deal of skill in order to beat your opponent, especially after a few rounds of cocktails!
Played on a table with six pockets, a game of pool has many varieties. Perhaps one of the most popular games is eight-ball, played with 15 object balls and the cue ball. The object of the game is to legally pocket the eight ball (the black one) after pocketing the rest of the players' balls, which could either be the stripes or the solids (determined by whoever makes the first shot). Nine-ball, on the other hand, is played with, well, nine balls. The goal of this game is to pocket the nine ball legally by starting with the lowest number ball - the yellow one ball.
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