Last updated: Mar 04, 2008

Best for: A trim tummy without the hard work


Why its a fat blaster: You burn 20 percent more calories Nordic-walking (using cross-country ski-type poles to involve your upper body). Plus, your workout actually feels easier because the poles help propel you forward. Bonus: Youll build upper-body strength and take some pressure off your knees.

Total time: 45 minutes | Calories burned: 284

How to do it: First, find the right poles, says Suzanne Nottingham, a long-time fitness instructor who developed a Nordic-walking program for pole manufacturer Leki USA. Hold them out in front of you, hands on the grips and pole tips on the ground; your hands should be slightly lower than your waist. Stick to flat pavement or sidewalks for your first few Nordic walks, then mix things up by adding in hills or heading off-road to a park or nature reserve. Walk at a comfortable pace with a loose grip on the pole handles for 15 minutes to warm up. Poles should be angled backward (not in front of you), with arms and hands in front. Aim for long strides and nearly straight arms (a slight bend in the elbows); allow your torso to rotate a bit with each arm swing. By the end of the warm-up, your pace will probably have increased, although you may not feel like youre working very hard. Keep a very brisk pace for 20 minutes, then ease up for a 10-minute cool down.

Do-it-better trick: To create more resistance, grip harder with your first two fingers and thumb (while still lightly cupping handles with your palm and other two fingers), and think about pressing the poles rubber tips into the ground.