It’s February, the month of love. For many of us ladies, that means romantic evenings with our sweethearts, a few too many Dove chocolate hearts, and cuddling up on the couch to escape winter’s throes. But in the spirit of l-o-v-e, don’t get too comfortable — we challenge you to love your body this month, too, by exercising and intentionally breaking a sweat. To keep things interesting, here we’ve curated 28 workouts to try during this month’s 28 days.
1. Hot yoga
Also called Bikram yoga, this workout can have positive effects on your balance and strength. Make sure to stay hydrated to avoid heat-related illnesses like heat stroke. But even if you’re not feeling the heat on this one, other yoga practices can help improve flexibility, wake up, or relax.
2. Jump rope
This inexpensive piece of equipment can be a major calorie burner in very little time. According to Calorie Lab, a 150-pound person can burn about 120 calories jumping slowly for 15 minutes, or 187 calories jumping fast. Think you’re ready to get hopping? Try this beginner workout from American Council on Exercise (ACE).
3. Plyometric workout
Plyometrics are short bursts of maximum-force movements, like jump squats or burpees. You only need 10 or 15 minutes to get in a great plyometric workout. The ACE lists three exercise levels for whatever challenge you’re feeling.
This low-impact exercise is a great option for cardio. It is less stressful on your lower body than a treadmill and can be a good alternative to jogging. You also can get in an arm workout from using the movable upper body handles. Crank up the resistance to feel the burn in your legs for an extra push. In 30 minutes, you might be surprised how many calories you burned.
5. Circuit training
By combining weights with cardio moves, this total-body workout will make you sweat and burn a substantial number of calories. It’s a great way to have variety in your workout and keep things interesting. And it doesn’t have to take long. The American College of Sports Medicine has a 7-minute workout. Two to three rotations and you’re done.
Easy on your joints, swimming is great for improving cardiovascular, muscular, and mental health. Swimming at a leisurely pace for 30 minutes, you can burn roughly 260 calories. And if you’re looking to tone those abs, swimming helps with that too. Try one of these six workouts to get started.
Grab your S.O. or a friend and hit the trails. You’ll have so much fun chatting and breathing in the fresh air, you’ll forget you’re getting a workout in. Plus, navigating nature for exercise is nice break from navigating the heavy metal machinery. Looking for some inspiration? We have the 10 top places to hike in the North America.
Try a cycling class at your gym, or hit a studio like SoulCycle. You’ll be pumping your legs to the upbeat music, and your toned legs won’t be the only ones to thank you. Biking has many other benefits, including improved heart health and lowered blood pressure. If you’re trying to spin solo, here are some beginner exercise bike workouts to try from ExcerciseBike.net.
A mixture of Pilates and ballet-inspired moves, the majority of barre workouts are tiny movements that isolate and target specific muscles to improve strength, muscle tone, and flexibility. And if you want to do this exercise at home, there’s no reason why you can’t have your own barre studio or simply use the back of a chair.
Indoors or out, grab a partner and test your skills. On the court, you’ll burn fat, improve metabolism, and gain strength. Not to mention the stress you’ll release from smacking the ball.
Get back to the basics — lace up and go. Whether it’s a treadmill or out in the open, jogging is great way to clear your head and get moving. If you’re looking for some assistance, we found some of the best running apps to get you started.
12. Dance class
Try Zumba with friends or salsa with your S.O. Get sweaty, be silly, and let loose for an hour. If you want to keep the party at home, here are 11 dance video workouts.
13. Interval training
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is an effective way to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than steady-state cardio. It also helps increase post-exercise calorie burn. To get started, try sprinting 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, for 10 minutes. You can also watch these workout videos for full-body routines.
14. Couple’s yoga
What a great idea for a Valentine’s Day date! Whether you’re posing side by side or together attempting a back-bending lift, couple’s yoga can improve your relationship. From the research we found, it increases relationship satisfaction, improves intimacy, increases trust, and reduces stress.
15. Leg day
Focus solely on your lower body during strength training. You can use dumbbells or machines to hit major muscle groups like quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. For a week’s work of leg workouts created by women from Bodybuilding.com, try this.
16. Upper body day
Now that you’ve given your legs a workout, time to get that upper body moving. Put your arms, shoulders, chest, and back to work. For some Jessica Alba-worthy arms, try one of these 30-minute routines meant for women from Bodybuilding.com.
17. Ice skating
Tis the season to try this cherished wintertime activity! It can get your heart rate up and your legs working if you’re at a good pace. Find an indoor rink to get some ice time in the warmer weather.
We all have those days where we just want to punch something. Well, that’s what this workout is all about. Releasing frustration or just trying something different, you can work your upper body with boxing, while kickboxing gives you a full-body workout. Here are some tips for your first class.
This type of suspension training will put your core to the test — and, well, every other part of your body too. Hit the gym and try these moves from TRX.com to create a challenging workout.
20. Aerial yoga class
With a hammock as your primary tool, you’ll do traditional yoga poses in an “antigravity” format. They are beautiful and graceful to watch and even more fun to do.
CrossFit focuses on functional movements at high intensity, like situps or walking lunges. Feeling sluggish? This workout can easily be done at home instead of a gym. Try one of these at-home workouts. No equipment needed, just warm up and go.
22. Ab routine
Core strength is fundamental for performing daily tasks, as well as maintaining posture, mobility, and balance. And the secret to getting a toned stomach isn’t from doing a lot of core exercises at once, but consistency over time. Even a couple exercise sets on days when you’re too busy for the gym will help you tone up. Here are five exercises to try (and they’re not boring crunches!).
Hop on the rower at the gym for an alternate form of cardio. And it doesn’t just work your upper body — it works nine different muscle groups. So if you want something different from biking or running, give rowing a try. Try this beginner workout guide from Daily Burn. It guides you through everything from setup to recovery.
24. Water aerobics
It may remind you of old ladies, but water aerobics is easy on your joints while still providing strength training and cardio. Instead of weights, the water provides resistance against your muscles. Check your local YMCA or community pool for class options.
A type of workout that emphasizes proper postural alignment, core strength, and muscle balance, Pilates can be done at any fitness level and with either equipment or just a mat on the floor.
Sounds simple, because it is. Put on an audio book or grab a friend, and just take a walk. Breathe the fresh air outside, or get your sweat on hitting the treadmill indoors.
27. Back day
A strong back is fundamental to a healthy body, and it will look good in those backless dresses come summertime, too. Try these four simple exercises. You can do them on their own or add them to your regular workout routine.
28. Cross-country skiing
If you haven’t taken on the challenge of this fun winter workout yet, it’s time to try cross-country skiing. You’ll torch up to 600 calories an hour and get a full-body, no-impact workout. Check out tours or classes to learn the basics.
No matter which workout you choose, getting your muscles moving is key. Whether you want to switch it up or keep it the same, you do you and happy exercising!