Before I really got into fitness, I thought of exercise as a form of torture. I hated sports in school, I thought running was incredibly boring and I didn’t see how strength training could help me at all in my life. After hitting puberty, I did start exercising, but for all the wrong reasons. (I started getting fat). From then on, I felt like I had to exercise, and that just added to the hatred.
I began seeing exercise in a more positive way when I realized how much regular exercise benefited my mental health. When I was being consistent, I would feel less anxious, more motivated and all around happier. Aside from that, I felt more confident and loved seeing myself progress enough to increase my speed and weight limits.
But that’s not the point. The point is that when you are at the beginning stages of exercising, it can suck. You know it’s going to be good for you; you’ve read all about the benefits of exercise. You want to be tough, and fit and healthy. But a part of you hates exercise. At least, that’s what you think. Perhaps you just haven’t found the right kind of exercise yet. If that is the case for you, here is a list of 14 things to try:
- Just Dance/ Zumba- Dancing is and will probably always be my favorite type of exercise. You can take classes for Zumba (which are pretty fun, if you don’t mind the company of others and can also be a good way to make friends and stay motivated), or you can buy the discs. If that is too costly, you can find hundreds of dance routines on Youtube for free. For awhile I didn’t tell anyone that I used to do dance routines in the living room when I was home alone. Now, I just own it.
- Yoga- I haven’t done a lot of yoga myself, but I know a few people who are pretty fanatical about it (as I’m sure you do too). From what I understand, yoga is awesome because it has great physical benefits (like improved flexibility, relaxation and fitness) as well as more ‘spiritual’ benefits. Yoga can help people achieve self-actualization by promoting us to get in touch with our bodies and emotions. Meditation has been shown to have benefits for our mental health, and yoga is a pretty low-key way to incorporate it.
- Hiking- Hiking is similar to dancing in the sense that it feel like fun more than work. If you’re new at hiking, you can start with shorter, less hilly trails until you’re ready for the serious ones. Hiking is awesome because it gives you a chance to spend some time in nature, time to reflect, and time to do other things while you hike. You can work on photography, listen to podcasts/music/ebooks or you can play on your phone so it’s like you’re not even outside.
- Go Trampolining- I tried skyzone for the first time a few days ago. For like $20, it was a pretty intense workout that made me feel like a kid. After about 10 minutes of jumping I realized how hard it is, and I’ve heard that most people have that same experience. But even though it’s hard, you also don’t want to stop because it’s incredibly fun. If you ever get a chance to try skyzone, even just to say you tried it..do it!!
- Biking, skateboarding and rollerblading – Find the wheels that fit your needs!
- Skating- depending on your location and time of year, access to ice can be fairly easy to come by. Of course, I live in Canada, so skating is a really big deal.
- Make a snowman- if you have a creative side, this is a great way to use it for physical benefit. If you don’t think building snowmen is creative, think again; You don’t have to stop at the plain old three button, carrot nose, maniod snow creature. Make a snowpig or a snow dragon or something.
- Gymnastics- don’t you envy people who can do perfect cartwheels and celebrate their joy with backflips? Yeah, me too. Maybe we should learn how.
- Climb a Tree- **disclaimer, this could be dangerous. None the less, it’s pretty fun.
- Walk around the mall- a couple solid hours of mall walking adds up to a couple solid hours of walking, which ads up to a couple solid hours of decent exercise and fun shopping adventures!
- Go swimming – I personally dislike swimming a lot, but I realize some other people enjoy it. So if swimming is your thing, all the power to you.
- Yard work- I realize yard work isn’t for everyone. However, some people really love it. Also keep in mind that some forms of yard work are more entertaining than others. Planting a garden can be fairly relaxing while still providing good exercise. Chopping wood for a fire can be pretty fun too, and it’s a good way to get out that pent aggression.
- Hulahooping- fullfill your childhood dream to actually get good at hoolahooping while simultaneously working towards some sick washboard abs.
- Do some solo improv- you might not think I’m serious about this, but I am. Next time you have some space to yourself, do some impressions, or come up with your own wacky character. The kicker is that if you want it to count as exercise, you have to get your whole body into it. Wander around the house and use elaborate gestures as you recite your monologues. Master the walk of a crazy man, and learn the best way to drop to the floor like a child having a tantrum. Yeah, maybe it’s a little weird, but it will also teach you some good acting skills and maybe even help you learn something about emotions. Not to mention, it’s fun.
Finding an exercise you love might take a little bit of time. If you can’t find something you love right away, don’t give up, okay? You’re mind, body and soul will all thank you.