You already know that working out is good for you – it’s safe to say that everyone does. Exercise not only gets you in shape and helps you lose weight, but it can also lower your risk of heart disease, certain cancers and even help with depression and sleep irregularities. But while the benefits of regular exercise are clear, knowing these benefits alone is oftentimes not enough to motivate yourself to get up and hit the gym.
If you’re one of the many people who want to exercise more but need that extra push, let’s work on ways to make working out a more appealing endeavour for you. Perhaps you might even walk away from these tips with the notion that exercise can in fact be fun.
Hiking, Walking, and Climbing… with Friends
Exercise doesn’t have to mean a vigorous aerobics class or lifting weights at the gym gym. If you’re picturing long, unpleasant, sweaty tests of endurance, you’re limiting your options. Exercise is anything that gets you active, and that includes getting outside with your friends. The term “workout” might even be misleading and discouraging, and if that’s the case, you can just think of it as getting active. Getting outside with friends for a walk or a hike is a great way to start adding more activity into your life. Besides, going outside doesn’t restrict you to limited space or equipment, as Shape notes. In fact, you’ll likely find yourself having fun and working up a sweat before you know it, and the endorphins released will keep you feeling great.
Try finding a trail to hike in a local park, or just walk to your favorite bar or coffee shop instead of driving or using public transportation. Even better, get a group of friends together to play a game of ultimate frisbee. You might find yourself surprised by how much fun you have, and how much of a workout you get as a by-product.
If you didn’t think dancing was legitimate exercise, think again. Dancing might be one of the most fun ways to get your heart rate up with aerobic exercise, while also boosting confidence and skill. It doesn’t matter what type of dancing it is – if ballroom dancing is your cup of tea, sign up for a class; it’s still a way to get active! If you’re self-conscious about joining a dance group or a class at the gym, you can always dance at home. Turn on the radio or a favorite CD and start dancing like nobody’s watching (because, honestly, nobody is). If you need some direction, dance exercise DVDs like Bombay Jam are kind of like having a personal instructor in your home. Plus, you’ll learn some new and exciting ways to dance that you might not have been familiar with.
Get Your Dog Involved
Exercise doesn’t need to be an added effort or involve some revolutionary concept. If you have a dog, you’ve got one of the best motivators there are. According to research at Health magazine, dog owners were 34 percent more likely to get the recommended amount of exercise per week! Not all of this comes from just your daily and nightly walks, though. Your dog loves the outdoors; perhaps that love will start to become infectious if you explore a bit more of the outside world together. Playing fetch or frisbee with your dog can give both you and your dog a workout if you add a lot of action and running around. Or you might want to keep things simple and go for an extended power walk or a jog when you take your dog out. Maybe your dog is really high energy, in that case ride your bicycle while your canine buddy runs alongside.
Finally… Don’t Forget to Switch it Up
When it comes to keeping up a workout routine, the most important thing to remember is to keep fresh. When things start to get boring is when you start neglecting to exercise, and once you get out of the habit, it’s harder to get it back. No matter what you choose to do, make sure you keep things exciting and different when it comes to your exercise schedule. If you keep physical activity fun, fresh, and in a varied rotation, perhaps the thought of exercise won’t seem so daunting anymore.