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Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Fun Workouts That Don’t Feel Like Working Out

Going to the gym and pumping out rep after rep is the classic image of a good workout, but gym-goers are starting to get fed up with feeling like a hamster on a treadmill. More and more people are looking for ways to exercise that don’t feel like doing your daily chores.

Fortunately, our understanding of physical fitness is improving alongside our desire for more engaging exercise activities, If you’re looking to improve your health, but the boredom of a regular gym routine has got you down. Try incorporating these everyday exercise ideas into your life.

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Hiking

“Walking?!” Many of you might be thinking, what could I mean by endorsing that most boring of activities as a fun alternative to working out. To you I say, what you hate is walking, but hiking is different from walking. When you go walking for its own sake, you’re just plodding along until you go for however far or however long you’ve assigned yourself for this prescribed exercise activity. No wonder you’re bored.

Hiking is about taking in the world around you and any walking that you happen to do along the way is simply instrumental to the pleasure you’re getting from nature. This makes hiking a great way to exercise without feeling like you’re exercising. If you’re worried because you don’t have any hiking trails near where you live, no need to worry. You can get much the same experience in your city’s own parks. Look for things like this list of Philadelphia parks for your local area to get some ideas about where to hike.

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Swimming

It turns out that swimming is great for giving your muscles a good workout. Depending on your swimming pool exercise routine, doing your physical activities in water can either help you to ease into more difficult workouts or step your usual workout up another level with the added resistance of water all around you. Who knew that the ultimate symbol of backyard relaxation was also such an effective way to exercise?

Biking

Commuting by bicycle is something that more and more health conscious people are doing these days. It turns out that by leaving the car at home, you can get some great cardio in while doing your part to help the environment. It also helps that more and more cities are catering to their biking populations by providing safe bike lanes and innovative programs that will encourage citizens to get out on two wheels more often.

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If you’re just starting out with biking, try traveling back and forth to recreational events before you switch over to a totally car-free commute. For example, why not ride your bike to that baseball game that you’re going to see this weekend?

Rock Climbing

Nothing is more fun or provides a more complete workout than rock climbing. Pulling yourself up a sheer cliff is exhilarating, works every single muscle in your body just as well or better than the machines at the gym, and keeps your mind sharp by honing your problem solving skills. It’s the perfect solution for weary gym-goers who are tired of feeling like a hamster on a treadmill.

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If horror stories about the cost of climbing have you worried, fear not. Indoor bouldering (climbing on walls less than 15 or 20 feet tall) has taken off lately and is incredibly safe with large foam mats placed beneath climbers. Unlike traditional climbing, bouldering does not require a wallet-busting collection of gear. All you need is a pair of beginners climbing shoes and a gym membership to get started. That said, if you do decide to go the full gear route and tackle iconic climbs like Half Dome in Yosemite, take a tip from me and find yourself some kind of storage locker to keep your gear organized. There’s nothing more agonizing than spending $100 on a set of nice quickdraws only to have them disappear in a mess of equipment.

Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

All the great workouts in the world won’t help you if you get back from your hike, ride or climb and immediately open up a bag of Cheetos and a bottle of Mountain Dew. With new research showing that weight loss is as much a result of good exercise as it is maintaining a healthy microbiome, there’s more reason than ever to eat well on top of your fitness routine.

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Last Updated on February 6, 2020

10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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