Nowadays we barely have any time to exercise. When we do have time, it’s super hard to get up the motivation to do so. I mean, who really wants to go running or go to the sweat lodge otherwise known as the gym. Some people need a gym membership for motivation, but for others just the thought of dying in front of so many people is a de-motivator.
I fall into the “others” category. I like exercising, but I hate the gym. You will never find me working out in one. There’s just so many other ways to get fit and stay active that there is simply no point–to me anyway.
Now that spring is here there are just so many things to do. There’s no excuse for not getting up and moving. Here’s a list I’ve put together over the past couple of years of some of the awesomely fun things I like to do to stay active. Some may be for you and some may not–but try some of them and you’ll be burning extra calories without even thinking about it. You may even have some fun!
- Go for a hike. My partner, Joey and I have made a list of all the state parks within an hour’s drive. Each weekend we pick one and explore the trails. We’ve found some great places this way.
- Organize a cookout. The entertainment: an obstacle course. Set up obstacles around your yard or neighborhood and race to see who can finish first. You could also make it a scavenger hunt and split everyone into groups–but in order to get a good amount of exercise you would have to spread the objects out over a large area and forbid driving.
- Challenge someone with whom you are walking to a race. Make sure that you are with the right kind of person, if you know what I mean. You probably don’t want to chalenge your boss to a race down the hall. Challenging your significant other on the other hand could end in something even more fun than a race.
- Find some tennis courts in the area and take a walk down there to play. The community center in our town recently opened the courts for free and it’s so much fun to walk down and hit a ball around for an hour or two. Even if you’re bad it’s something different.
- If you’ve got some kind of fitness tracker try to beat your best score. Just keep walking/running/biking until you’ve won–against yourself (the best kind of winning).
- Take a walk around your neighborhood looking for landscaping and house decoration inspiration. Your camera will be useful on this trip so that you can use the information later.
- Find bike paths in your area. These are becoming more and more popular and are often some of the prettiest walks around. You can choose whether you’d like to walk, bike, or rollerblade–or even run if that’s your thing. You’ll often find friendly people and can break off the path to explore places you’ve never been before.
- Find some children and play with them outside. They can be your own children, or you can “borrow” some from a relative or friend (with permission from the parents). You’ll find that kids have a ton of energy and will give you one of the best workouts of your life.
- Invest in some toys to indulge your inner child. One day recently I went to Walmart and bought a skip-it, a hula hoop, and a jump rope. As soon as I found a place where no one could see me I played with those three things until dinner was ready. They brought back so many memories and were a blast!
- Turn on some of your favorite music and bust a move. This one’s pretty self-explanatory and you can do it just about anywhere. I personally like to break out into dance at the grocery store. Something about the long aisles just beckons my name…
- Rent some exercise videos from the library. Sometimes these can be very amusing. You will spend more time making fun of the instructor in your head than worrying about the exercise you are doing. The time will absolutely fly by.
- Play a Wii or an Xbox Kinect game. Make sure that these games are active. Zumba and Just Dance 3 for Wii are good workouts. I’ve never tried Wii Fit but I’ve heard that’s a good time as well for some people.
- Clean up your yard or garden. Just getting your garden ready in the beginning of the season will take a good amount of muscle and moving around. Not only will you get a good workout but you will have either food or a pretty garden in a couple of months.
- Volunteer to help around in your neighborhood. Most communities have a good amount of elderly in the area. Often, they can’t really go out and rake their yards. Help them with the heavy-lifting and you not only get a good workout but feel good about helping others.
- Declare a pillow fight. This is especially useful if you’re feeling aggravated with someone. Just smack them with a pillow, and take out your anger with some harmless aggression. Be careful not to hit them too hard in the face though. This fun game can turn nasty awful quick when the head comes into play.
- Join places like LivingSocial and Groupon. You’ll find local deals every week that will help you get in some good exercise. For example, just the other day I got a deal for a week of ballet school. How cool is that?
All of these activities pack even more of a punch if you have a friend to go along with you (a friend who’s game, that is). Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean lifting weights or endlessly jogging on a treadmill. As long as you are moving and your muscles are contracting that counts. It doesn’t take all that much but you must stay conscious, as most of us spend much of the time stationary in front of the computer screen. Our bodies weren’t meant to stay still for so long, and any kind of active stretch you can fit will do you lots of good.
Most of all, just have fun with your exercise, and you’ll find that you do it a lot more.