By CORNELL McCLELLAN
Forget expensive diet products and overpriced gym memberships. The key to a leaner, sexier bod might be waiting for you in a local animal shelter.
A new study from the Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey has found that dog owners are 34 percent more likely to get the recommended weekly amount of exercise than people who don’t own a pooch.
According to the study, two-thirds of dog owners regularly walk their dogs. Dog owners also were found to be more likely to engage in other physical activities as well, such as gardening or playing sports.
But, don’t fret, cat lovers; you are not doomed a life of Garfield bellies. There are so many ways to get active in the springtime, whether you own a dog or not.
Consider the following:
Give kayaking a try. Kayakers burn around 350 calories an hour, and this fun activity can help tone your upper body, core and hips. It’s also a great way to target and trim the obliques. So not only will you be saying goodbye to your love handles, but you also will have the opportunity to commune with nature and rediscover the city in a whole new light. Beginners can check out classes at kayaking schools such as Kayak Chicago.
Try a vintage workout. Remember gym class standbys such as dodgeball and kickball? These old-school exercises are still a fun way to burn calories and make new friends. Start up an impromptu game with your friends or join a league with a group such as Chicago Social. You might find that you still have that great arm you had in fourth grade!
Start climbing. Rock climbing is a great way to tone the whole body. All of your muscles will be engaged from your arms to your upper body to butt and thighs. Rock climbing is a great way to get your endorphins pumping and your heart racing.
As you scale to the top, you will be so engaged that you won’t even realize you are burning up to 800 calories an hour!
Find your inner “Black Swan.” If you hate being bored on the treadmill, look no further than a challenging dance class. Whether you go for ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, ballroom or disco, you can brush up on your dance moves all while toning your trouble spots.
Take a nature hike. As spring begins, you can take this opportunity to start exploring the many beautiful trails and nature preserves around the Chicago area.
Or go to Goebbert’s in South Barrington to pick out fresh veggies or to learn how to plant your vegetable garden.
Help an animal in need. You can get in shape and help an animal in need at the same time. Volunteer at your local animal shelter and help walk some lovable dogs, with Team PAWS Chicago. Go to www.pawschicago.org/ to learn more.