2. Cardio Hill Blast
Why: Running and hiking uphill increases your leg strength and improves your cardiovascular fitness while also torching fat—win, win, win! For each degree of incline, count on at least a 10 percent increase in calories burned, according to New York City nutrition and metabolism expert Jana Klauer, M.D., author of The Park Avenue Nutritionist's Plan: The No-Fail Prescription for Energy, Vitality & Weight Loss. So running up a 5 percent grade (a gentle hill) will burn 50 percent more calories than running on a totally flat surface for the same amount of time. (Get fitter and faster than ever by learning the best cardio you can do!)
How: Run up gradual hills at a strong but comfortable pace (you're breathing hard, but you can still say a few words). Keep your chest lifted and your shoulders relaxed and down. On steep grades, switch to a quick walk, using medium to long strides. If the route you take has only one or two hills, do repeats: Run or walk the hill, jog back down, then take the climb again. Aim for 4 to 8 total hill climbs.
3. Power Up, Race Down
Why: When you do squats, lunges and other strength moves uphill, and then run downhill, you'll get a balanced lower-body workout. The uphill exercises target the glutes, calves, and inner and outer thighs, while downhill running works your quads. Bonus: Doing strength moves on an incline requires more energy, so you'll burn more calories, and managing uneven ground as you descend improves balance and coordination.
How: When you get to a hill, perform one of the following strength moves. Then run down the other side (or the same side). If the climb is long enough, perform 20 reps of each exercise on the way up.
Walking Hill Lunge
Facing the hill with your chest lifted and abdominals engaged, step forward into a lunge. Toe off with the back foot while pushing through the heel of the front foot to take the next step.
Lateral Sumo Squat
Face the hill sideways and step into a squat, keeping your core engaged, back straight and chest lifted. Remain in this squat stance as you press through the arch of the lower foot to push off—this really works the adductors, or inner thighs—and take another step uphill laterally. That's one rep. Continue for 10 reps, then change sides so you're leading with the opposite foot.
Walking Heel Lift
Walking uphill naturally strengthens and tones your calves. To intensify the move, exaggerate the heel lift and push off with greater force.
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