If you’re trying to get into shape, or just to be healthier all-round, then the introduction of some exercise into your life is probably a good idea. Of course, you could get a membership at a gym or CrossFit box, start jogging, or something else similar. But what if you “hate” exercise? Is all hope lost?
The main thing to remember is that exercise is really anything that gets your body moving outside of the stuff you normally do. You can’t really count sweeping or vacuuming your house if you do it every day; you’ll need to bump it up a bit.
Of course, no amount of exercise will undo bad eating habits, so if your goal is fat loss, the first thing you need to address is what you put in your mouth. But that topic is for another post. Exercise is really just a bonus gift you’re giving yourself. You’ll feel better, your heart will become stronger, you can build some muscle, you can do something you enjoy, and you can even maybe get some extra Vitamin D if you choose activities that get you outside.
“But I don’t like exercise” is really just an excuse. What you mean to say is, you don’t like a particular activity. If you don’t like aerobics classes, don’t do them. If you don’t want to get a gym membership, don’t. If you hate to run, don’t go signing up for races. It’s as easy as that. The trick is to find activities that you like to do, are fun, and don’t feel like a chore.
1. Play with your kids. Go make piles of leaves in the backyard and jump in them. Chase them around. Pretend you’re a monster and try to catch them. Give them horsey rides. They’ll love it.
2. Join a martial arts class. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what a gi is, or that you’ve never done a class in your life. There’s sure to be other newbies in pretty much any class you choose. Look at all the different types in your area. Look at it this way: you’ll be active, you’ll learn some self-defense moves, and you’ll feel like Neo in The Matrix. Okay, maybe not, but you’ll definitely be a cooler version of your current self.
3. Wash your car. If it’s nice outside, get out there and wash your car! You’ll get to enjoy some sunshine, burn off some calories, and your car will look pretty when you’re done.
4. Do something active with friends instead of meeting for coffee. Next time your friends want to meet for coffee, why don’t you suggest doing something active? Go bowling, play some Frisbee, go for a walk, or play some mini golf.
5. Spring clean your house/apartment. Yes, as mentioned, regular housecleaning doesn’t count, but if you do more than you usually do, it counts. For example, take down all the curtains and wash them, wash all your baseboards, empty out your cabinets and clean inside, clean your fridge, clean your oven…the list is really quite long of things you can do. A side bonus is that your place will be really clean!
6. Play Wii Fit or some other video game that requires you to move. Dance Dance Revolution is great. You also have Wii Tennis and other ones similar. Don’t have a Wii? Have a party and play Twister.
7. Take up yoga or Tai Chi. These activities benefit your mind and soul as well as your body. Need to relax? Take up yoga. Want to learn a slow-motion martial art? Learn Tai Chi. You’ll also gain flexibility and strength. There are plenty of different types of yoga, too, so you could even try a few kinds before you pick the one you like best. Hot yoga is, well, hot…but it burns even more calories than regular yoga, if your goal is to burn fat. But it’s hot. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
8. Join a recreational league. Not only are rec leagues great for getting some exercise, they’re also perfect for meeting people and making new friends. You probably have a choice from several, like soccer, softball, bowling, volleyball, and ice hockey, depending on the season.
9. Ride your bike instead of driving. This may sound overly simple, but if you live 10km from work or less, keep the car at home and ride your bike to work. You’ll get some awesome exercise, you’ll save gas money, and you’ll probably see some major changes to your physique without even doing anything else.
10. Climb some trees or rocks. Let’s face it: climbing on stuff is fun. Go for a hike and climb some rocks, go to a meadow and climb some trees, or go rock climbing.
11. Rake your yard instead of paying someone else to do it; in fact, do all of your own yard work. Mow your lawn, weed your garden, plant your bulbs for next year, rake your leaves, and shovel your driveway and walks in the winter. You’ll save money and get some awesome exercise while you’re at it.
12. Play a musical instrument. You can burn the same number of calories in an hour playing the cello or violin as you do walking a track. On top of it, you’ll make music and forge new pathways in your brain.
13. Do some home renovations. Do you feel like your home needs some freshening up? Now’s a great time to do it. Pick out some new paint colors, put up some new wallpaper, hang some new photos, or go whole-hog and reno your bathroom or kitchen.
14. Go geocaching. You’ll get to be active while being a bit of a nerd, all at the same time! You can do it old-school with an actual compass, use a handheld GPS system, or use your smartphone. Some of the items are easy to find but some are pretty tough!
Once you start being more active, you’ll realize what you were missing and you’ll be more likely to keep it up. If you need more motivation, pick one or more of these activities listed and get a buddy. Sign up for classes that you have to pay for; if you don’t like to waste money that will offer some motivation to continue. Finally, have fun!
What’s your preferred way to exercise?