The key to sticking with a fitness routine is to enjoy your workouts. If you actually like the activity you’re doing, it’s less likely you’ll stick it at the bottom of your “to do” list. Fortunately, exercise doesn’t have to be all sweat and drudgery. There are ways to get your heart rate up and burn body fat without being bored or unhappy. Here are some ways to add fun to your workout routine.
Exercise with a Rebounder
Rebounders are mini-trampolines that are small enough to hide in a closet and bring out when you’re ready for a workout. You can use a rebounder to bounce up and down or run in place while you’re watching television. Jumping on a trampoline is fun. Just ask a child. Plus, you can do it in your home without investing in a full-size trampoline. Will it get you in shape? Depending upon the intensity, you can burn up to 400 calories per hour jumping on a rebounder – and you don’t need a gym. What could be better than that?
Get Out the Hula-Hoop
Hula-hoops aren’t just for kids. It can be a serious workout tool - and one you’ll enjoy. If you don’t take a break, an average-weight person spinning a hula-hoop on their waist and hips can burn over 350 calories per hour. Not to mention hula-hooping works your core and brings you one step closer to flat abs. One hint. Don’t use a child’s hula-hoop. Go to a sporting goods store and buy a 3 pound weighted one. It will spin more slowly until you get the hang of it.
Dance, Dance, Dance
Don’t underestimate the power of dancing. It’s an excellent cardiovascular workout if you do it with intensity. Check out a dance exercise DVD at your local library or simply put on some fast-paced music and strut like you’re in a dance contest for 20 minutes. To keep it interesting, vary the music each session or “spice it up” even more by enrolling in a salsa class. Encourage your kids to slim down by challenging them to a dance showdown. Whoever dances longest is the winner. How many calories will you burn? If you do it vigorously, you can burn 200 calories or more in 20 minutes.
Take a Hike
There’s something mentally therapeutic about being out in nature. That’s why hiking is as healthy for your mind as it is for your body. On the other hand, it’s more demanding than walking on level ground. Condition yourself before heading to a trail by walking for a few weeks, including hills, to build up some endurance and strengthen your lower body. Then go online and find some interesting trails to tackle. Make it even more enjoyable by bringing along a hiking buddy or your dog. It’s good exercise for Fido too. For even more of a challenge, strap on a backpack.
Strap on a Pedometer
Simply taking more steps during the day is good for your heart - and your overall health. Wearing a pedometer is a great motivator and reminder that you need to move around more, and it’s fun to see how many steps you took during the day. Aim for 10,000 or more steps a day, the equivalent of about 5 miles. For more motivation, organize an office pedometer challenge to see who takes the most steps over a 7 day period.
The Bottom Line?
Choose a fitness activity you enjoy, and you won’t be as quick to find an excuse not to work out. Give some of these fun fitness ideas a try, and get into great shape while enjoying every minute of it.