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The best calorie-burning cardio exercises for rainy days

Can’t go outdoors? Grab a hula hoop, shadowbox, jump-rope or follow a high-intensity training video
/ 01:00 AM June 14, 2011

Beach season has come to an end. For some, it can be harder to get moving, to run on a treadmill, to use the elliptical machine, or to join fitness classes in the gym during rainy season.

It might also be harder for you to pursue your outdoor exercises such as running, walking or cycling.


In fact, there are still many physical activities you can do at home while burning the same or even more calories than your usual cardio workouts.

Here are the top four challenging and fun cardio workouts you can do in your house on rainy days to control your weight, and still maintain or improve your fitness level.


But you still need to consider your weight, exercise intensity, and actual heart rate to accurately determine the total calorie burn (the heavier you are, the higher your heart rate is, the more calories you burn).


Calories burned: 210 calories in 30 minutes, according to the study below
Equipment needed: Hula hoop
According to a recent news release from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), “hooping” is equivalent to the same amount of calories burned as walking 4 to 4.5 miles per hour (6.4-7.2 km per hour), enough energy cost to control one’s body weight. This exercise has also been considered a popular group exercise class in the US.

If you are getting bored using the treadmill or can’t take a walk, hooping might work for you. Aside from burning more calories, you also get to work on your whole body, especially your torso and core muscles, to control the movement.

Shadow boxing

Calories burned: 200-300 calories (30 minutes)
Equipment needed: Mirror

If you’re used to joining cardio kickboxing classes or have experienced boxing as a sport or form of exercise, you can still do the same moves at home before the mirror so you can really watch your form.


You can burn enough calories in a 30-minute shadowboxing workout by alternating and combining different types of punches and kicks and imagining that there’s an actual opponent in front of you.

Keep your feet moving and bouncing to maintain a steady heart rate. You can start with basic boxing warm-ups like jumping jacks, jogs and shuffles. Then to start up a high-calorie shadow kickboxing routine, start with basic kicks on each leg, like front kicks, side kicks, back kicks and round house kicks, followed by 15-20 sets of jabs, crosses, hooks and uppercuts on each arm. Then combine moves, vary the speed, and increase the intensity until you reach your target duration or calorie burn.

Jump rope

Calories burned: 250-400 calories (30 minutes)
Equipment needed: Jumping rope

The New York Times just reported using jumping rope as a high-calorie burning cardio exercise. According to a New York Times interview with Edward Jackowski, owner of a fitness center in New York City that offers jumping rope exercise to clients, just 10 minutes of jumping rope at 150 turns per minute is equivalent to 30 minutes of running six to seven miles per hour (9.6-11.2 km per hour).

Just follow the proper jumping technique, where you stay high on your toes and do not jump more than an inch off the floor.

Although this high-intensity exercise can make you burn more calories, you might have a hard time sustaining a longer workout because of the high heart rate caused by jumping, especially if you are just a beginner.

It’s is still better to combine this exercise with lighter sets of cardio moves like marching in place or light jogs in place during recovery breaks to regulate your heart rate.

You can alternate one minute of jumping rope with one to two minutes of light cardio moves and a minute of body weight resistance exercise like push-ups or crunches.

As you progress and become stronger, you can increase the duration of the jumping rope set.

High-intensity interval training

Calories burned: 350-500 calories (30 minutes)
Equipment needed: High-intensity interval training exercise video like “Insanity”

If you are free of injuries and if your cardiovascular fitness level is high enough and you’re used to doing speed interval run training, plyometric exercises or high-intensity racquet sports like squash, you can try a different form of high-intensity interval indoor workout like the “Insanity” exercise video, created by Shaun T, also known for his Hip-Hop Abs.

I have already watched and tried some of the “Insanity” moves that can really increase your heart rate, such that you can’t sustain some moves for long. So the short rest period can still make you burn more calories because your heart rate is still up and going.

Cardio routines are more on jumps, hop, skips, squats, lunges and kicks, and mostly with upper body moves.

If you are planning to try the workout, make sure you are doing the proper form. Anyway, you can always modify the intensity by shortening the duration of the high-intensity period by choosing the safest moves or by increasing the rest periods.

E-mail the author at mitchfelipe

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TAGS: cardio exercises, Health and Fitness, healthy tips, rainy days, training video
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