Fun Ways to Exercise

Find out the secrets to making fitness fun—while reaping its benefits

fun exercises

Photo by: Vstock LLC/Thinkstock

To reap continuous anti-aging benefits from exercise, you have to keep doing it—that’s obvious. But sticking to your resolve once the initial excitement passes separates those who drop out from those who are in it for the long haul. So what does that mean for you? Keeping your workouts fun and worthwhile will up the chances that you’ll stick with it.

Here are our best tips for staying inspired and motivated:

Follow the pleasure principle
Redefine fitness as fun, and follow your bliss. Inline skating, hula hooping, dancing, kickboxing, bike riding, spinning, Wii Fit games—they’re all fun, and they all burn calories and benefit your health. Research shows that when you’re enjoying yourself, you’re more likely to stick with an activity, so if jogging isn’t working for you, try something else that gives you pleasure.

Exercise family-style
You may be more likely to stay active if the rest of your family is on board. “Pick things you can do together, like bicycling, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, or bowling,” says Kelli Calabrese, M.S., exercise physiologist and fitness consultant. “Take a martial-arts class. Everyone’s a beginner together; you all start out as white belts and progress from there,” she says. Some local parks may offer fitness courses your family could tackle together. Choose a weekend to hike, bike, or canoe in a nearby city or state park. Or check out a local farm and go apple- or berry-picking. Toss around a football, go ice-skating, take a long walk with the dog twice a week—it’s not exercise, it’s family time.

Learn a new skill
If you’ve always wanted to try tennis, ice-skating, golf, cross-country skiing, ballroom dancing, or rowing—taking a course will give you an entrée into a healthy new activity, and the learning process will help keep it interesting. Check local community organizations or the YMCA for affordable classes.

Do you dislike weight training, or just the guys who hang out by the weights? Maybe it’s the grubby showers at your gym that keep you from returning as often as you should. Or perhaps you get bored walking. Examine the external factors that might be discouraging you from exercise, then see what remedies you can come up with (such as buying a set of dumbbells and ditching your gym membership or downloading books on tape for your walks).

Try these recommended products:

Accusplit Eagle 190 Multi-Function Pedometer

Omron Pocket Pedometer

Yamax CW-300 Digi-Walker