Work Out, Recess-Style: 5 Childhood Activities That Double As Workouts

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If the last time you had fun working out was on the playground in fifth grade, that’s all about to change: Here, five recess favorites that double as serious calorie-burning, muscle-toning, grown-up workouts.




1. Grab a jump rope

If you crossed jumping rope off your list of favorite pastimes the day you graduated from middle school, it's time to reconsider: This recess favorite is key to getting a killer cardio workout, on or off the blacktop. And it's a serious timesaver, too. Just 10 minutes of jumping rope burns the same amount of calories as 30 minutes of running. Meaning: You can squeeze in a workout and a manicure, all on your lunch break. Who knew the key to productivity was behaving like a 10-year old?

2. Hang out on the jungle gym

One thing fearless, inexhaustible, resilient six-year-olds fail to realize: making it all the way across the monkey bars is hard work. And you know why they don't realize it's hard work? Because they're having so much freakin' fun.

Jungle gym workouts are a blast and, best of all, they're free! So what are you waiting for? Head to the coolest jungle gym you can find with this workout in hand and get your sweat on.

3. Hula-hoop the day away

At my elementary school, whenever it rained during recess, the teachers would stuff us into the cafeteria, throw some hula-hoops at us and hope for the best. Inevitably, hula-hoop contests would ensue and after 30 minutes of hula-hooping madness, we'd stumble back into our classrooms, completely and utterly exhausted. Little did we know, we'd just burned about 300 calories each.

Yep: In just 30 minutes of hula-hooping, you can burn 300 calories. So take a cue from my 9-year old self and strike up a competition with a friend. With all the hip-twisting and laughing involved, you're sure to get a killer core workout. Or, if you'd rather hoop solo, try this workout.

4. Lace up a pair of roller skates

If you've got knee problems, this one's for you: Roller skating boasts similar cardiovascular benefits to running, without taking the same toll on your knees. Plus, in just 30 minutes of gliding around, you'll burn about 250 calories. So if you've got a pair of skates lying around in storage, bust 'em out. Otherwise, head to a rollerskating rink and rent a pair. Believe me—the middle-school nostalgia alone is worth the trip.

5. Play Capture the Flag

The greatest gym-class game ever invented is, without a doubt, Capture the Flag. I mean, sure, dodgeball is fun, but who wants balls flying at their face for an hour? Personally, I prefer a game that won't give me a black eye.

And just because your gym-class days have passed doesn't mean your Capture the Flag days have to be over, too. All you need are two bandanas, a field, some willing participants and BAM: You've got yourself the makings of a good ol' fashioned Capture the Flag game that doubles as a cardio workout. Think about it: You'll alternate sprinting and jogging, with some really wicked agility practice thrown in the mix. If you need a refresher on the rules, check them out here.

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