Exercise is essential to your overall health and well-being. However, many people just don't love the experience of working out at the gym. Instead of sticking to workouts that don't appeal to you, try some of these fun ways to exercise that will get your heart pumping.
Bicycling is a great fitness activity that engages all of the muscles in the lower body. A leisurely ride around the block does not provide the same cardio workout as mountain biking or BMX racing: For the best workout, pedal fast and tackle a few hills—and remember to wear a helmet, obey the rules of the road and watch out for traffic.
If you prefer walking to hiking (or need a quick workout that doesn't require driving to a hiking trail), maintain a brisk pace, choosing routes with hills and hold two- or three-pound weights to build strength and get a better calorie burn. Whether walking or hiking, wear good shoes and stay on sidewalks or marked trails. If you plan to walk in the evening, wear a reflective vest or add reflective tape to your clothing. Hikers should also be prepared with plenty of water, snacks, layers of clothing, maps and a cellphone in case of emergencies.
3. Stand-Up Paddling
Though stand-up paddleboards are wide and designed for standing, gliding across the water requires balance and core strength; paddling uses the arm and shoulder muscles, and riding waves engages the glutes and quads. There is a risk of falling off the board; a quick lesson will include instructions on how to get back on. Wear life jackets as a precaution.
Swimming torches calories. It also reduces stress and engages multiple muscle groups from the head to the toes; serves as a great cardiovascular workout; and, thanks to the resistance of the water, builds strength, too. Swimming is also a no-impact workout, making it ideal for those with injuries. Even beginners can benefit from water workouts. At this point, though, it’s an activity best pursued in your own pool.
5. Try a Workout Video
Workout videos are available for all different interests and fitness levels, and you can try these workouts without having to leave your house. Try lifting weights, doing a boot camp, dancing, practicing yoga poses or participating in any other workout that appeals to you. The videos are led by motivating instructors who keep it fun and engaging.
6. Go Kayaking
Canoeing and kayaking work the arms and shoulders. But if the pace is too slow, you might not get much of a workout. Rowing—including on a machine at the gym—can also be great exercise. At at a vigorous pace, it burns more than 300 calories in 30 minutes while working the abs, pectorals, glutes, hamstrings, rhomboids and deltoids.
Dancing is a serious workout that doesn't feel like the typical time spent at the gym. Try Zumba, flamenco, tango, line dancing or any other style of dance that you enjoy. Simply turn on some music in your house and start moving your body to the beat. Go ahead, have some fun with it and dance like nobody's watching!
Cleaning your house is a great way to burn calories as you improve your living space. Turn it into a game to make it more fun: See how much you can accomplish as your favorite song plays or skip through the house as you tackle your to-do list.
Yoga builds strength and flexibility while helping to calm your mind. You can try all different styles of yoga to decide what you like best, although it's helpful to start with poses that are easier to do. Taking a class online also introduces a community element that working out alone simply doesn't have.
10. Take the Stairs
When you have the opportunity to choose between the elevator or the stairs, opt for the activity that will get your body moving.
11. Go for a Walk
A walk is an easy way to get in some exercise, and you don't need any equipment. Simply lace up a pair of supportive, comfortable shoes, and head out to pound the pavement in your neighborhood. You can also take a lunchtime walk on your break at work to get your heart rate up during the workday.
12. Sit in a Squat
Engage your lower body instead of sitting on the couch by leaning against the wall in a sitting squat position. Try sitting in the squat while watching your favorite TV show, and see how long you can last. As you get stronger, you can try maintaining the squat position during the show while taking a break during commercials.
Running is great aerobic exercise. If you have a canine companion, take him or her out with you to make your run even more enjoyable.
Pilates is an amazing way to build your core, but it's also surprisingly fun. This popular workout can also help you improve your muscle endurance, increase your flexibility and calm your mind. Classes are available online and via DVD.
15. Workout Video Games
Playing video games can get you active in unique and fun ways. Try Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), Beat Saber, Just Move or any of the activity-based games that get you off your couch and into a healthier routine. If you're not into this kind of game, simply make yourself a workout rule as you play your favorites. Enjoy playing auto racing games? Do 10 pushups or jumping jacks after every race.
Stay active and have fun with these exercises that don't require you to step foot in the gym. Enjoy your workout and the experience of giving your body the physical activity it needs to stay healthy and strong.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.