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Tracy Frank, Published July 25 2013

5 ways to exercise without working out

FARGO – Working out sometimes seems like, well, a lot of work.

But there are plenty of fun ways to use your mus-cles and get your heart racing that don’t involve going to the gym or count-ing reps.

Here are five ways to burn calories without feeling like your exercis-ing.

1. Hoola Hooping

Hooping burns more cal-ories than step aerobics and power yoga and only slightly less than boot camp and cardio kickbox-ing, according to the Amer-ican Council on Exercise.

In a study, the council found that hooping with fitness hoops burns an average of seven calories per minute for a total of about 210 calories during a 30-minute hooping workout.

Hooping is a total-body workout that can improve flexibility and balance while strengthening and toning back, abdomen, arm and leg muscles, according to the council. The rhyth-mic nature of hooping may also be relaxing and medi-tative, the council stated.

2. Dancing

Dancing is a great way to get your heart rate up, get rid of extra body fat and build lean muscle, accord-ing to www.fitnessblender.com, a free fitness website. It’s also something you can do alone or on a night out with friends.

Hip Hop, which involves large movements of the entire body, burns between 370 and 610 calories an hour, depending on a per-son’s body weight.

Salsa dancing burns roughly 405 calories per hour for a 140-pound per-son.

Ballet burns an estimated 380 to 450 calories per hour and tends to improve posture, core strength, flexibility and leg strength. Even professional football play-ers use ballet training to improve their performanc-es, according to Fitness Blender.

Slower-paced ballroom dances burn 150 and 220 calories an hour, while quicker styles burn be-tween 250 and 320 calories. Swing dancing is a moder-ate-to-intense cardio workout that burns 300 to 550 calories an hour, de-pending on intensity.

Country or west-ern dances burn between 290 and 420 calories an hour, depending on effort, speed and difficulty of movement.

In addition to building strength, a relatively new fitness trend, pole dancing, burns between 250 and 350 calories an hour.

3. Singing

Want to really challenge yourself, try singing and dancing at the same time. It’s a lot harder than it seems and requires a lot of breath control.

A 35-year-old, 150-lb. woman who is 5 feet 5 inches tall burns 310 calo-ries an hour if singing while moving around, according to www.livestrong.com.

That same person would burn 121 calories per hour singing while standing and 90 calories an hour singing while sitting down.

In addition to giving your lungs and diaphragm a workout, singing also helps relieve stress, improve mood, and lower heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, according to Livestrong,

4. Bike riding

Biking can be a fun fami-ly or solo activity. I don’t mean sitting on a station-ary bike in your basement but getting outside and riding for fun.

Even leisure riding at less than 10 miles an hour, a 150-pound person will burn 136 calories in 30 minutes, according to www.bicycling.com.

Increase that to a moder-ate effort of 12 to 14 miles an hour, and you can burn 273 calories in 30 minutes.

5. Gardening

Doing yard work in-volves a wide variety of movements such as squat-ting, lifting, bending and stretching that burns calories and tones your muscles.

The number of calories burned depends on a lot of factors including weight, gender, age, muscle con-tent and how strenuous your yard work is. A 150-pound person burns an estimated 326 calories an hour gardening, according to www.fitnessblender.com.

The best part about all of these activities is if you’re having fun, you’re proba-bly getting in a great workout without watching the clock or even thinking about how many calories you’ve burned.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526