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It's time to shake off your old routine and try something new. By Elissa Miolene
Lace up and get going. Image via Shutterstock.

Exercising is not always fun. And let’s face it, workout routines can be boring. Fortunately, Washington is full of unique (and fun!) ways to get moving.

1. The National Zoo

Run along Sumatran tigers as you make your way through the sprawling grounds of the zoo. Photograph by Joe Ravi/Shutterstock.

The Smithsonian National Zoo (3001 Connecticut Avenue, NW) sprawls across 163 acres of land in Northwest DC. With so much ground to cover, you'll have your choice of lots of different paths to run, walk or hike. Plus, you’ll be so distracted by the zoo’s 1,800 animals that you’ll barely notice that you’ve been working up a sweat.

Grounds are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., last admittance at 7 p.m.

2. Exorcist Stairway

Photograph by Flickr user Natalie Maguire.

Goodbye, Father Merrin, and hello, exercise! Georgetown hosts the backdrop of one of the most famous movie scenes in history, 97 steps and all. A run up and down this outdoor flight of stairs will get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, and you probably won't need much goading to run faster.

At the corner of Prospect and 36th streets, Northwest, leading down to M Street, Northwest.

3. Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals

Photograph by Flickr user Michael Cisneros.

Kayaking, paddleboarding, and canoeing are great for burning calories and strengthening your core. There are lots of different spots for water sports in the DC area, like the Key Bridge Boathouse, Ballpark Boathouse, and National Harbor. All offer lessons and rentals and, if you get really serious, season passes.

Ballpark Boathouse: Potomac Avenue, Southeast, and First Street, Southeast

Key Bridge Boathouse: 3500 Water Street, Northwest

National Harbor: 165 Waterfront Street, National Harbor, MD 20745

For more infromation email: boatinginfo@boatingindc.com

4. Dance classes

Photograph by Dragon Images/Shutterstock.

Studies have shown that some dance classes burn up to 400 calories an hour. With that kind of result, why not take advantage of some of DC’s dance studios as a fun way to get fit? At Dance Place (3225 8th Street, NE), for example, adults can drop in to any class for $15 on weekends, or $10 on weekdays, and choose from modern dance, jazz, hip-hop, Afro-Cuban, African, salsa, and balance harmony dance classes, among others.

Full schedule can be found here: http://www.danceplace.org/classes/adult-classes/

5. Mount Vernon Trail

Photograph by Flickr user ScotchBroom.

The Mount Vernon Trail winds along the Potomac's Virginia shore and is used by cyclists, runners, hikers, and walkers. The trail is mostly paved but some sections are boardwalk. Open year-round, the 18-mile stretch is filled with scenic views, history, and educational opportunities. The terrain varies from easy to difficult, providing the perfect opportunity for interval exercise.

6. Wipeout Run

A participant of the Ridiculous Obstacle Challenge, an event put on by the partners of Wipeout Run. Since the event, ROC and Wipeout have teamed up to create the Wipeout Run. Photograph by BluIz60/Shutterstock.

On June 20, fans of the show Wipeout will finally be able to prove whether or not they can do better than people on TV. The Wipeout Run (Festival Grounds at RFK, Lot 6; 2400 East Capitol Street, SE) is a 5K course laid with 12 thrilling obstacles. Vendors, food, and refreshments will be available after participants fight to be the last one standing

7. Spartan Race and Tough Mudder

A Tough Mudder participant tackles a Pennsylvania obstacle course in 2012. Photograph by Glynnis Jones/Shutterstock.

For those who are bored with their regular routines, Spartan Race and Tough Mudder offer upcoming events for those who are (thoroughly) prepared.

On August 1, the Spartan Sprint (27861 Budds Creek Road, Mechanicsville, Md.) will come to the Washington area. The Sprint is one of a number of races offered by Spartan Race—this one in particular encompasses three to five miles of distance and over 20 challenging obstacles. The obstacles are obscure and difficult to get through, and participants will have to train well before the day of the sprint.

The Tough Mudder (13112 Dawn Boulevard, Doswell, Va.) comes to Virginia on June 13 and 14, about an hour and 45 minutes from DC. Tough Mudder participants will go through obstacles as fast as they can, navigating rough terrain, mud and water, and pits of ice, among other challenges. Both the Spartan Race and the Tough Mudder are intended to be both a physical and mental challenge and require physical training.

Posted at 09:22 AM/ET, 06/05/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Getting through the workday without a pick-me-up is difficult, and in our 2 p.m. funk, it's easy to quiet our cravings with something quick instead of something healthy. Personal nutritionist Katherine Tallmadge offered six easy swaps to keep you energized throughout the week, without the calorie-overload.

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Posted at 01:30 PM/ET, 06/03/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Focus on wellness with a fitness class series, healthy menus, and athletic apparel shops. By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy Sam Kittner.

Starting June 8, the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) is kicking off a summer-long series of health and wellness programs as a part of their “Healthy Days of Summer in Georgetown” promotion. There are free fitness classes hosted in neighborhoods across Washington, but this summer campaign will expand beyond sweat sessions by partnering with Georgetown restaurants and businesses.

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Posted at 12:26 PM/ET, 06/03/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Photograph by Wavebreak Media/Alamy

Fertility procedures have come a long way in the 37 years since Louise Brown, the first test-tube baby, was born. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 percent of babies born each year in the US are conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF), a process in which an egg is fertilized outside the womb and then implanted.

Here are three of the most recent advancements in fertility treatments.

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Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 06/03/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
A crunchy, creamy, delicious mix of vegetables. By Rebecca Scritchfield
Image via Shutterstock/travellight.

Coleslaw is a summer grill out staple, but with mounds of mayonnaise in it, it’s hardly considered a health food. Though this version is mayo-free, it’s still creamy, flavorful, and chock-full of veggies. Make it for Memorial Day and you’ll wonder why you ever used to buy the tub of soggy slaw from the grocery store.

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Posted at 10:12 AM/ET, 05/21/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Who needs pulled pork when you've got mushrooms, eggplant, and the miraculous meat-subsitute Jackfruit? By Ryan Weisser
This chipotle BBQ pulled portobello sandwich, topped with fresh cilantro and feta cheese, makes a great alternative to a traditional pulled pork or brisket sammie. Photograph by The Artful Desperado.

Summer can be rough on vegetarians, who can get stuck eating only potato salad and popsicles at cookouts. Not even the baked beans are safe (they're usually made with bacon, pork, or other animal-based additives).

So what's a rabbit-food-lover to do?

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Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 05/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
"I don’t eat pasta during the week," she says. By Emily Codik
Maria Trabocchi mostly keeps things carb-free. All photos by Maria Trabocchi.

Though Maria Trabocchi is constantly surrounded by pasta, she rarely indulges. She adheres to a low-carb diet. "I don't eat pasta during the week, so I can enjoy my designated 'cheat day' on Sundays when anything goes," she says.

That's not exactly what you'd expect from the restaurateur who owns three of the best Italian spots in town—Fiola, Fiola Mare, and Casa Luca—alongside her chef-husband, Fabio. Trabocchi, who grew up in Mallorca and Madrid, oversees what she describes as the restaurants's guest experience, juggling the demands of some of Washington's biggest players, including Michelle Obama. To stay on her toes, Trabocchi exercises with a trainer and eats healthfully. Here's how she eats on an ordinary day.

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Posted at 11:46 AM/ET, 05/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Overcoming sugar withdrawals can be the worst part of eating healthier, but these two dietitians share their secrets for success. By Angie Hilsman
Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

As the weather heats up, it's easy to reach for ice-cold fraps and sugary drinks to quench the thirst, but artificial sweetners are a sure way to slow down your summer fun. Registered dietician Danielle Omar and nutrition counselor Katherine Tallmadge share their top tips for satisfying the sweet tooth while cutting out added sugar.

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Posted at 09:26 AM/ET, 05/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
This low-sugar recipe is perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert! By Angie Hilsman
Photograph courtesy of foodconfidence.com

Limiting sugar intake can be a great way to up energy, improve health, and avoid cavities, but it can be difficult to balance nutrition and a nagging sweet tooth.

"There is no one-size-fits-all," said registered dietician Danielle Omar. Recommended sugar intake depends on a person's health history and lifestyle, but limiting to six teaspoons of sugar a day is a great start, she said. Omar shared her banana chia pudding recipe with us to get ahead of the sugar cravings, and it only has two teaspoons of sugar.

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Posted at 10:00 AM/ET, 05/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Via Shutterstock.

As Washingtonian got ready for Friday's Bike to Work Day, we realized we had enough bike-related content to fill an entire week. So fill a week we did. Here's a rundown of all the bike-related articles we've published lately. As someone who's been getting to work on two wheels since 2006, I sincerely hope they encourage you to try bike commuting. Sometimes it can be frustrating, but most of the time it's one of the best parts of my day.

Have a fun, safe ride tomorrow.

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Posted at 05:09 PM/ET, 05/14/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()