Fun Ways to Exercise: 10 alternative Workout Ideas
Exercise is a potent tool for strengthening your physical and mental health, and it doesn't have to mean pumping iron at your local gym.
Need some motivation for your fitness mission? Check out our list of different exercise ideas for other ways to break a sweat.
Exercising can sometimes feel like a private club, accessible only to people who are already super fit. No matter where you are on your fitness journey, you too can experience satisfaction while moving your body and getting your heart rate up.
If the thought of working out conjures up visions of a muscled bodybuilder lifting giant weights in a spartan gym, think again. Working out can be whatever you want it to be—it doesn't have to be limited to the weight room or a tedious treadmill. You can exercise anywhere. (Yes, the park, your office stairwell, and your kitchen, it all counts.)
So, what are some fun ways to exercise that don't involve a gym membership? If you need a bit of motivation for your next calorie-burning routine, we've got a list of exercise activities that just might entice you to jump off the couch.
Why should you exercise?
We all know we should exercise—along with drinking plenty of water, getting a full night's sleep, eating fresh, whole foods, and using nutritional supplements for extra support. But how specifically does exercise help us?
Researchers have spent a lot of time studying this question. Exercise has numerous science-backed benefits:
- Working out can extend your lifespan, help stave off cardiovascular diseases and lower your risk of diabetes.
- Physical activity can help fight the effects of aging while keeping your immune system healthy.
- Routine movement can help strengthen your bones and help you feel more energized and less tired.
- Exercise can contribute positive benefits to your mental health and sharpness.
As long as you're moving your body, you're on the right track.
Fun (alternative) ways to exercise
1.Rollerblading or rollerskating
As you sail along the sidewalk on your rollerblades or roller skates—with the wind in your hair and a smile on your face—you won't even notice that you're technically exercising. Stop by a local thrift shop or used sporting goods store to find a pair in your size, then… Just. Start. Grab a helmet and some elbow and knee pads while you're at it, too. Better to be safe than sorry, right?
Hiking can be whatever you want—a super steep and rocky climb or a casual saunter along a mostly flat trail. The important thing is: You're outside, enjoying nature and moving.
Paddling a kayak is a fabulous workout. You'll engage your core, your arms, and your legs as you move through the water and stabilize the boat while you move. Plus, you live in New Zealand, there's ocean and lakes almost everywhere, so take advantage!
4.Standup paddleboard yoga
Standup paddleboarding is at the top of the fun workouts list in its own right. But throw in a few yoga poses, and it becomes a full-blown physical challenge. Research a few poses online before you hit the water, or consider signing up for a local paddleboard yoga class. You'll be surprised at how much you use your core and all those little stabilizer muscles throughout your body to stay upright as you move through your flow! It might be a bit cold at the moment but... summer will be with us soon enough!
Even if you live in an area with a flat landscape, you can still get vertical by visiting a local climbing gym. Choose between top-rope climbing, which allows you to climb higher on the wall since you're secured with ropes and a harness, and bouldering, which is done closer to the padded flooring and doesn't involve ropes.
6.Take a dance class (or just dance!)
Even if you're not the most coordinated person on the planet, signing up for a dance class or a dance lesson will help you move your body without realizing that you're exercising. Whether you're into hip-hop, tango, two-step, shuffling, or some other style of dance, you'll find studios, clubs, and ballrooms offering lessons and classes near you.
Pro tip: Too nervous about dancing in public? Crank up your favorite playlist at home and dance your heart out in the kitchen!
Bring back some of that childhood nostalgia and get your heart pumping by jumping rope. Head to your backyard or set up in a room in your house with a tall ceiling, then crank some upbeat music and jump away. You'll remember it's more complicated than it looks.
8.Ride a bike
You don't have to be Lance Armstrong to have fun—and get in a good workout. And don't worry about buying a special cycling kit or shoes. Just lace up your sneakers, put on your helmet, grab a water bottle, and start riding. Pedal at a leisurely pace for as long as you feel like riding, or challenge yourself with a few mini-sprints or uphill climbs. If riding outside doesn't work for you, consider trying out an indoor cycling class.
Trampoline fitness, also known as rebounding, is a fun and novel workout trend that involves hopping on your own mini trampoline while following the movements shown by an instructor. Don't be fooled: These classes are challenging! They're high-energy, paired with fun music and lots of other people around having a good time. You can find these classes on youtube for free.
10.Play in the playground
When was the last time you played like a kid? Head to your local park, then go wild on the playground—swing from the monkey bars, go down the slide, play tag with a friend, run up and down the stairs.
How to choose
As you can see, there are tons of unique, fun exercise ideas to choose from.
And remember: If one unique workout doesn't inspire you, you can always move on to the next. There's no one-size-fits-all path to making exercise fun, so if at first you don't succeed, try again… and again… and again!
Your mind and body will thank you later.