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1-hour workouts that don't feel like an hour

By Lexi Lampel,
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 1756 GMT (0156 HKT)
  • A stability ball can help keep you in shape while you're working
  • Gardening can burn more than 200 calories per hour
  • Dancing is a great way to get exercise and have fun, too

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( -- As the days grow longer and warmer in spring, it's good to take a few notes from the kids we see tirelessly playing in the park.

Unlike most adults, they're almost constantly active -- without even realizing that they're getting health-boosting exercise. (Where do we sign up?)

Even for adults, exercise can boost health in many invisible ways (while also helping prevent cancer and heart disease). So if a schoolyard workout isn't for you, try doing these sneaky forms of exercise for an hour. They'll help keep you in shape practically without you realizing it!

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Replace your desk chair with a stability ball

Even though stability balls are usually found at the gym, they're also beneficial and fun to use in settings where it's more difficult to exercise.

"You'll be constantly moving and burning calories because you have to rotate your body to stay upright," explains Dr. Pam Peeke, author of the New York Times best seller "The Hunger Fix."

If you have some downtime during your lunch break, twisting your body or rolling yourself over the ball -- before you eat -- can feel fantastic. "The ball goes right over your glutes and massages your hamstrings," Peeke says.

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Wrestle the weeds in your garden

"Gardening requires a tremendous amount of work," explains Peeke. "You're moving heavy bags of compost, pulling weeds and bending up and down."

Because you'll be focused on the task at hand, exercise probably won't be on your mind -- even though gardening burns an average of 200 to 400 calories per hour. If you can remember to, try switching the hand you're digging with, to mimic the way you'd switch sides when "officially" working out.

Really looking for a challenge? Minimize your use of electric tools and garden by hand as often as you can.

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Dance it out

Dancing is an excellent form of cardio, so try turning on some fast-paced songs or going out to a dance venue instead of letting hours pass by in front of the TV. It's a full-body workout that reduces stress, increases flexibility and can be performed almost anywhere.

"When we dance, we're not thinking about repetitions or calories," Peeke says. "Dancing tends to be a workout in disguise because we're thoroughly enjoying ourselves."

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