Forget no pain, no gain: The latest fitness craze is fun. Experts claim that goofing around revives your routine–so we sent an Institute staffer to a variety of New York City health clubs to find out if experts could possibly be right. The verdict? Fun fitness classes are not child’s play, but they are a great change of pace.

Urban Rebounding

The Moves You jump and jog on a mini trampoline called a rebounder. To tone your upper body, the workout includes sets of push-ups and tricep dips off the edge of the trampoline.Customer have high rank about best mini trampoline reviews.


The Benefits A strong cardio workout, as well as allover body toning. And it’s easy on your joints: The rebounder absorbs 87 percent of the impact, according to rebounding instructor Blake Mays.

Who Would Love It Aerobics or step-class junkies looking for a change and a moderately intense activity.
Latin or Belly Dancing

The Moves If you’re self-conscious or “rhythmically challenged” (as our Institute tester describes herself), you may feel more comfortable learning how to belly dance, cha-cha, merengue, or salsa at home in front of the TV. Still, class time goes by quickly when you’re focusing on choreography.

The Benefits A light aerobic workout, burning 160 calories per half hour.([dagger]) Belly dancing tones your abs somewhat, but it’s no substitute for crunches.

Who Would Love It Extroverts, dancers, women looking for a low-impact alternative to walking.


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Part 1:The Ravings Of A Sports Mom: Okay, okay…Team sports are good for kids

Of course, my friend says she has no regrets–but who does, after having been brainwashed by aliens?

The outfits. Clothes may be important in signaling which sport is being played. But these outfits are neither cheap nor easy to keep track of (have you seen a green-striped kneesock at your house, maybe?), nor are they easy to get on. I suggest you try getting a sweaty fourth-grader ready for football practice on a warm September afternoon.


If you have a very young child and are not an athlete yourself, you may not yet be aware that ordinary sneakers are used only for hopscotch and poker. Depending on your kids’ interests, you’ll be acquiring baseball, football, soccer, basketball, track, and cross-training shoes. Skateboarding shoes, by the way, start at about $35. Meanwhile, your children’s feet are growing so fast you’ll be buying new pairs every season, if not more often, and if you think the younger sibling is going to take those mud-covered, worn-out hand-me-downs, you’ve got another think coming.


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My 3-year-old daughter’s preschool offers tumbling classes at an extra charge–a fact that I’ve been trying to conceal from her. It’s not the $15 per month. It’s not that Jane’s too young. After all, Tiger Woods started playing golf at 3, Serena Williams entered her first tennis tournament at 4 1/2, and if you haven’t started figure skating by 6, you might as well forget the whole thing.

No, it’s not her age. It’s mine. I’m too old to go through this again. I’ve already raised two children to adolescence–one now a weight-lifting, testosterone-oozing varsity football player, the other a long-haired snow- and skateboarder. It’s been many laps around the track since I took two excited little fellas out to buy their first pairs of soccer shin guards.


But now, with the T-ball sign-up sheet soon to appear in their little sister’s lunch box, I find myself remembering all those happy, yet incredibly boring and expensive, years.

What parent would deprive her growing child of fresh air, exercise, friendships, healthy competition, and many other benefits of sports? Well, few, probably, would have the courage. But nobody can stop us from complaining about it. Bitterly and regularly. So come on, pull up your folding camp chair and let’s grouse together.Continue reading

The bicycle is a, simple machine that can help solve some of our planets most complicated problems. Traveling by bicycle can boost your health, slash your spending on transportation, and reduce your fossil fuel consumption–so it’s no surprise that bicycling is growing in popularity. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the number of annual trips made by bike has more than tripled since 1977 and now exceeds 4 billion. Biking to work is becoming more popular, too. Data from the U.S. government’s American Community Survey shows that the number of people who bicycle to work doubled between 2000 and 2009.


“The beauty of bicycling is that it fits every lifestyle, and its benefits are universal,” says Jeff Miller, president of the Alliance for Biking & Walking, a national coalition of bicycle and pedestrian advocates based in Washington, D.C. “Whether you bike 5 or 10 miles to work every day or pedal a few minutes to the grocery store once a week, you’ll build your health–and the health of the planet.”

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Our holiday gift guide has something for every outdoorsman on your list

If there’s a segment of the population for whom the holiday-season dilemma, “What do you get the guy who has everything?” does not apply, it’s sportsmen. How could we possibly have everything when there’s so much cool new gear coming out all the time?



1 Gerber Stag Stockman: Gerber’s Striking rendition of the classic stag-horn pocket knife features a lock-back 2.5-inch clip-point blade, providing safety that’s long been absent from activities like whittling on the front porch. The knife also has two additional blades and beautiful, intricate filigree etching on the bolster.

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The Moves Remember hopscotch and kick ball? In recess classes you’ll also spin a hula hoop, run through an obstacle course, dribble a ball, stretch, and even catch a quick nap (meditation for cooldown). Bonus: Kids are welcome at some classes.

Home Version Join in your children’s game of tag or soccer, or try doing step-ups on a park bench.

The Benefits Just ten minutes of vigorous backyard kick ball or soccer burns up to 100 calories. Soccer tones your legs, the hula hoop targets your middle, and playing on the monkey bars can build upper-arm muscles.

Who Would Love It Adults who are kids at heart looking for a playful workout.

Fitness Ball
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SPORTSMEN HAVE TWO homes–the one where they pay the mortgage, raise kids, and vote and the one where their imagination resides. The first might have good schools and honest cops and maybe even big-leauge sports –but it probably comes up a little short when you want to fish for bass or hunt turkeys. There’s rarely a sweet, clean river close by with a reliable evening hatch. And you’d feel stupid–and probably get arrested–if you put up a tree stand in the old oak at the end of the block.


Then…there is the other place. The one you find yourself thinking about when you’re stuck in traffic. Here, something is always in season, and you don’t have to drive more than 30 minutes to get into something good. There’s land where you can hunt and water where you can float a canoe and cast to rising fish. There are fields aplenty, and if you put a dog out, it’ll point birds. There are people who see the buck in your pickup and cross the street to shake your hand. There is a respect for timehonored sporting traditions. There is a good place to go for breakfast before the sun is up, when you are wearing camouflage and have a duck call hung around your neck.

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URE, FLAT ABS, SEXY LEGS, AND TONED ARMS ARE perfectly good reasons to commit to a regular exercise program, but there’s a more important benefit: It helps you live a healOKthier, longer life. “Overwhelming evidence shows that working out can reduce your risk of cancer-especially of the breast and colon–heart attack, stroke, dementia, depression, and more,” says Tim Church, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of Move Yourself: The Cooper Clinic Medical Director’s Guide to All the Healing Benefits of Exercise (Even a Little!). What’s more, research shows that getting as little as 20 minutes of exercise three times a week can decrease your risk of dying prematurely by 27 percent. Follow all the exercise recommendations here and you can reduce your risk by up to 50 percent! We know it’s easy to get confused when figuring out exactly how much activity is enough, so we made it super-clear by creating some step-by-step cardio and strength plans. Make these your go-to routines and you’ll get your healthiest body ever!



tone muscles–and your heart

WHILE CARDIO GETS THE GLORY for protecting your heart, resistance training is no slouch. Studies have shown that it helps lower blood pressure, improve your cholesterol, and increase your bone density. “Lifting weights also boosts your insulin sensitivity, which can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes,” says Matthew Feigenbaum, Ph.D., a professor of health and exercise science at Furman University. And being stronger helps you get through daily life more easily. You can run up stairs, carry bags of groceries (or children), and do routine household chores with tittle effort and less risk of injury.

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