Calories burned: 500 to 700 per hour, depending on speed and terrain
Body benefits: Improved cardiovascular fitness plus solid legs and buns. "It helped me lose 20 pounds!" says Jan Reeves, 49, a recreational cyclist and mother of four in Lexington, KY. "And I eat whatever I want."
Weekend benefits: Cycling will give you more zip, both on and off the bike. "My kids told me I needed to get a life," says Reeves, who started cycling as a way to meet people after her divorce. When she completed a 4-day, 300-mile cycling trip last fall, she felt "totally empowered and energized; my kids are really proud that I ride."
Word to the wise: We know that spandex can be unflattering, but it makes a huge difference when cycling. Cycle shorts provide padding and wick away moisture, preventing your rear end, legs, and crotch from getting chafed.
Your destination: Try Redwood National Park in California or Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. For biking trails in your state, consult Bicycling.com. Also, to connect with women riders in your area go to the newly organized Giant for Women Ride Society.
Calories burned: 816 per hour
Body benefits: Sculpts your buns and thighs without pounding your knees. Skating is much less jarring than other high-intensity sports like jogging. "I was a runner for years but switched to skating when running started to hurt," says Joanne Geveshausen, 48, of Winchester, KY.
Weekend benefits: Provides a high-adrenaline release from mental baggage. "I needed an activity that demanded total concentration--and the gym wasn't cutting it," says Phyllis Wolf, 62, of Chicago, who started skating 4 years ago as a way to deal with the stress of caring for elderly relatives. "I skate for an hour, then go to the senior center--nothing bothers me."
Word to the wise: Don't be intimidated. "Few people my age are skating, which is too bad," says the self-proclaimed speedster. Wolf's advice: Ease into it by taking lessons.
Your destination: An empty parking lot or your driveway for practicing. For something more challenging, try the Pinellas Trail in Pinellas County, FL. Or, for good courses in your area, check out the Inline Skating Resource Center.
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