Can exercise be fun?
If you're anything like me, you would like to be more active, but you don't actually enjoy the thought of "working out." Physical activities have to be fun to do, or you'll find excuses to skip them. Too much work and too little time become the excuses many of us use when we think of exercise as something we have to do, rather than something we want to do.
If you've been more inactive lately than you would like to admit, then here are suggestions for 20 fun and enjoyable ways to keep active.
Please note: While I wrote this article with women in mind, most of these activities should also work well for men looking for ways to be more active.
Reasons to Exercise Regularly
The physical and emotional health benefits of exercise are widely touted. You shouldn't need a reminder that exercise is good for you, but just in case you need some extra motivation to get up and get moving, here are some of the many health benefits of exercising regularly:
- decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many other health related illnesses and disease
- reduced stress and more positive outlook on life
- stronger bones and muscles, reducing the risk of injuries and falls
- improved mood and energy levels
- it's important to be a good role model for your kids
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Regular exercise is good for us all. So let's look at some ways to have more fun while keeping active.
20 Enjoyable Ways to Keep Active
1. Walk with a friend. Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise, and you can do it virtually anywhere, anytime. To make it more enjoyable, invite a friend or your spouse along for a walk, and spend some quality time catching up with each other. Whenever I go for a walk with a friend, we always seem to walk much longer than I would have on my own, as we get engrossed in our conversation and want it to continue for as long as possible!
2. Hike. Hiking is good for your physical and emotional well-being. Getting out into nature on foot, even for short periods of time, can help you relieve tension and give you a more positive outlook on life. Vary your trails and the difficulty levels and lengths of your hikes to keep things interesting.
3. Ride your bike. Hit the mountain bike trails, ride around your neighbourhood or take a bike tour with friends or your spouse. Whatever you choose, biking is an enjoyable activity that also happens to be very good for your body.
4. Do yoga. Yoga is a great way to relieve tension, stretch your muscles and strengthen your core. There's a wide range of yoga classes to suit everyone - from gentle yoga right on up to hot power yoga. You're sure to find one to meet your needs, whether you're looking for relaxation and inner peace or a stress relieving and invigorating workout.
5. Swim. Swimming is a low impact activity that can help improve your strength, stamina and cardiovascular health. It's a great way to cool down on a hot day, have fun with your kids or just forget about some of your worries for awhile.
6. Kayak. Or go canoeing, row a boat or try paddleboarding. There's something about being in a boat out on the water that's just good for your soul, and if the boat is being powered by your own muscle then it's a win-win.
7. Dance. Whether you sign-up for ballroom or Latin dance lessons, or shake your thing at weddings or while doing housework, dancing is a fun way to keep active. So dance like nobody's watching, every chance you get.
8. Work in the garden. Digging in the dirt, planting flowers and vegetables, weeding the garden, raking leaves and all of that other yard work that needs to be done works muscles that you may have forgotten you had.
9. Skip rope. Skipping is a quick and easy way to fit in a workout whenever you don't have a lot of time.
10. Do a Zumba workout. It's hard to not love Zumba, with its energetic music and fun dance moves. It's an amazing workout that's sure to make you sweat, but it's so much fun you might almost forget you're exercising.
11. Go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. Head on out to the forest for some winter fun and you might be surprised how much you enjoy it. Both cross country skiing and snowshoeing are excellent full-body workouts, even if you go at a fairly relaxed pace, and the fresh air may do wonders for your state of mind.
12. Go rock climbing. Whether you go to an indoor climbing wall, or head outdoors, rock climbing challenges your strength, determination and creativity and is great exercise.
13. Jump on a trampoline. This is one of those things that will surprise you, if you haven't done it for a long time. First of all, it is more tiring that you expect it to be for something that looks pretty basic. Secondly, it's also more fun and is sure to bring a smile to your face. Just a warning: if you're a woman over 30 who has ever given birth, you may want to head to the restroom first. Consider yourself warned...
14. Hit a punching bag. In addition to being a great workout for your whole upper body, hitting a punching bag is also a healthy way to release anger or frustration. Just be sure to learn some proper technique and wear proper boxing gloves, or you'll have new reasons to be angry or frustrated!
15. Play outdoor sports with your kids. Kick around a soccer ball, toss around a baseball, play tennis or shoot some basketball hoops with them. You'll both enjoy some fresh air and exercise together.
16. Run. Now I have to admit, running is not fun for me - at all. However, I know some people who do really enjoy it. Among other things, they say it's an excellent stress reliever, so I'm including it in this list. Good luck with this one.
17. Golf. Playing a round of golf on a nice sunny day can make for an enjoyable few hours. It's also a pretty good workout - especially if you skip the golf carts and walk the course.
18. Go bowling. Head on over to the local bowling alley with some friends or family, lace up some funky bowling shoes and have fun.
19. Skate. Skating is a great overall body workout and helps you work on your balance and strength. Go ice skating on a outdoor rink or frozen pond, or head on over to the ice arena for some public skating. If cold isn't your thing, there's always rollerskating or rollerblading.
20. Relive your childhood. Play hopscotch, join a game of tag, do some hula-hooping, climb on some equipment or go tobogganing. Sometimes I wonder how kids today can be so inactive, when all of the childhood games we used to play for hours are just so much fun.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Kathy Sima
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 07, 2013:
Those are definitely fun choices, and can be really great workouts too. Thanks for stopping by!
daisyjae from Canada on February 06, 2013:
I'd love to get a trampoline and a punching bag for exercise! That sounds like so much fun! Thanks for these usable tips.
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 06, 2013:
I'm so glad to hear that this helped to motivate you to stay with your exercise plan RTalloni! I think keeping it interesting and fun makes all of the difference. Thanks for your comments. :)
RTalloni on February 05, 2013:
Keeping things interesting really helps. You have encouraged me to keep at my exercise plan--thanks! Your hub sort of supports today's Hub of the Day. :)
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 05, 2013:
I know! Running is definitely boring for me too - and painful - which is not a great combination! I'll stick with my fun activities, I think. I love zumba and yoga too. :)
Sarah Carlsley from Minnesota on February 04, 2013:
Very nice hub! I do zumba at least twice a week and try to do yoga once a week. I feel like I should probably start running again but it seems to boring next to all the fun classes that are out now :)
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 01, 2013:
Thanks Russ! I'll admit I've been doing more of the sitting lately, and not enough being active. I wrote this hub partly to inspire myself to be more active. If I find a way to write and exercise at the same time, I will be sure to let you know!
Russ Moran - The Write Stuff from Long Island, New York on February 01, 2013:
Although I enjoy a nice brisk sit, your suggestions are inspirational. I wish I could find a way to write and exercise at the same time. Voted up and useful - Good job.
Kathy Sima (author) from Ontario, Canada on February 01, 2013:
Thanks Stephanie! I think outdoor activities are great - most of us could use more fresh air!
stephanieb27 from United States on January 31, 2013:
I love how most of the ideas are outside. I love being outside! I walk daily and love to swim in the summer. :)