5 ways to get a great workout in 30 minutes or less

older couple walking in the woods

Time is a precious commodity, and some days there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it to go around. No matter how busy life gets, it’s important to squeeze in some regular exercise to keep your body fit and healthy. Here are five fun ways to get a great workout in 30 minutes or less – no gym membership required!

1. Plan a girls’ night out

Gather your girlfriends for an evening of dancing. Whether you hit the floor at a local club or take a salsa or ballroom lesson, you’re guaranteed to burn calories and fat while also having fun. As an alternative, you could meet at someone’s home to do a 30-minute cardio dance workout video. Even people who “can’t dance” will have a blast trying to perform the moves. According to a study by The American Council on Exercise, as reported in Shape Magazine, healthy females burned approximately eight calories per minute during a QiDance™ session. That’s over 200 calories in just half an hour!

Long for a lean, toned dancer's body? Look no further than your next girls' night out.Long for a lean, toned dancer’s body? Look no further than your next girls’ night out.

2. Take a walk with the one (or ones) you love

A leisurely stroll down the lane won’t get your blood pumping as much as it needs to for efficient calorie burning and fat loss. However, add a few hills and pick up the pace, and you’ll be shedding stubborn fat in no time. Hiking provides a total body workout that improves stamina and muscle tone. Make it a part of your regular routine – you can do it with your partner or your family, depending on their ages and the difficulty of the trek. There are a ton of hiking apps available that contain difficulty ratings, time required, points of interest and more to guide both newbies and experts alike. Happy trails!

3. Go on a treasure hunt

Popular with adults and kids alike, geocaching is an outdoor game in which players use a GPS-enabled device to navigate their way to hidden containers known as a “geocaches.” The health benefits resemble those of hiking or walking, depending on the container’s location, with one added perk: Many participants get “hooked” on the game, meaning they get more exercise over the course of a year than those who hike or walk from time to time. Need to lose weight but can’t find the motivation? Challenge yourself to find 100 geocaches over the next 12 months and watch the pounds melt away.

” Challenge yourself to find 100 geocaches over the next 12 months.”

4. Host your own bootcamp

There’s a reason why bootcamps are so popular with those trying to get in shape: They work! The combination of high intensity cardio – burpees, anyone? – and weight-bearing exercises work together to help you shed stubborn fat and build lean muscle mass. If you only have 30 minutes to spare, host your own bootcamp workout in your backyard. If you don’t own dumbells, you can use your body weight to lean out by performing exercises such as push ups and sit ups. You should also incorporate cardio such as mountain climbers and jumping jacks into your routine, and perform sets of 10-20 reps.

5. Run errands on foot

For those times when you’ve got 30 minutes to spare and need to pick up a few things at the market or corner store, squeeze in a workout by ditching the car and power walking to your destination. You should aim to maintain a brisk pace for optimal calorie burn: According to Prevention Magazine, that’s 4.5 miles per hour. By walking this rapidly, you can burn almost as many calories as you would jogging at the same speed, with less chance of injury. If you’re new to working out, start off slowly and work up to your desired pace over time as your lung function and stamina improve.

Fitting exercise into a busy lifestyle can be a cinch – just find an activity you enjoy and do it on a regular basis.