It’s no secret that I love working out. I haven’t always been this way; once upon a time, I would avoid physical activity at all costs. Gym class was my least favourite, and while I enjoyed walking or biking, I definitely wasn’t doing it to get fit. So, what changed? I realized that working out didn’t need to feel like work. It could actually be fun and become something that I enjoy and look forward to. I primarily go to the gym to work out, but sometimes that does get a bit mundane. Doing the same thing day after day can only hold my interest for so long, sometimes I need to look for alternative ways to stay active and keep my interest piqued. Sometimes I’ll try out classes like aerial hammock and hoop or surfing but there are a lot of other great options out there.
Here are some fun ways to mix up your gym routine and actually have fun while you’re getting fit.
Sometimes it’s as simple as getting a change of location. I recently froze my membership at Orangetheory Fitness just so that I could have a bit of extra money to put towards some things that have come up. I still have a membership at a cheaper gym, but I’ve gotten tired of being inside. You really need to enjoy the nice weather while you can when you live somewhere like Saskatchewan. It’s already August which means it’s not long before the cold and snow will come. I’ve started going for runs and walks outside in the morning. The temperature is great, sitting at about 10C-15C. Warm enough that I don’t need long sleeves, but cool enough that I don’t get overheated. It’s nice to have a change of scenery and not just run in place on the treadmill.
Ian and I went camping in BC in July. There was one spot in the campground that had an amazing view of the mountains. I had brought my kettlebell along so there were a few days that I’d lay my blanket out in that spot and workout. I knew I had to take advantage of having a view like that and it helped give me some added motivation.
Hit the Playground
Who didn’t love playing in the park when they were younger? You could have endless fun on the apparatus and monkey bars or going down the slide or “around the world” in the tire swing. Parks have changed a lot since I was a kid and there is very different equipment there now. I doubt my hips would even allow me to go on a slide now, but other equipment can still be useful. A swing could double for TRX straps, monkey bars for pull-ups or sit-ups and there are all sorts of platforms you can use for step ups. Most communities have a playground and best part of this? It’s completely free! I would take advantage of the park across the street for us if it didn’t have the sprinklers going every single morning. Stay tuned for later this month when I show you some of the great workouts you can do on the playground!
I took a couple of hula hoop classes last year and it was an interesting experience. It wasn’t really focused on the fitness aspect but more on the dance and art of it. The class was a bit too new-agey for me but it did give me the inspiration to buy a weighted hula hoop to use for working out. Adult hula hooping is a lot different than when you’re a child. If you’ve ever picked up a hula hoop in your adult life you will realize that for some reason the kid ones just don’t stay up. It turns out that the heavier the hoop is the easier it is to keep the momentum and keep it in the right spot. Studies have been done that show that hooping burns visceral fat, which is notoriously the hardest to get rid of, and you can burn up to 400 calories an hour! Obviously, you are really working your core with this type of workout, but you are also improving your spine’s flexibility and working out your leg muscles. You can make it even better by trying to walk while hooping or squat a bit while keeping the hoop going and you will work-out a whole team of additional muscles. All you need for this is a hoop and enough space so that you aren’t knocking anything over. It’s hard not to have fun while doing this!
It’s seen in every boxing movie out there (this is may or may not be a fact) where there is a big match coming up and one method of training is to jump rope. There’s a good reason for this. This is another workout with exceptional calorie burn; you could potentially burn over 400 in just half an hour! It improves your balance and coordination and works muscles in your legs, especially your calves, your glutes and your forearms, triceps and biceps all get a workout as you turn the rope. As an added bonus, jump ropes are cheap to buy and so light and small that you can easily throw it into your suitcase when going on a trip or into your bag for a quick and effective workout on your lunch break.
Rollerblading is an underrated workout. The exertion needed and calories burned are right up there with running. You can actually burn up to 700 calories in an hour-long rollerblade session! What’s nice about this option is that it’s lower impact and much easier on your knees. It works out your glutes, hamstring, quadriceps, and of course your abs while you are working on keeping your balance. It works these muscles in a different way that running does because of the outward push that you need to get momentum. I actually used my rollerblades for the first time in a long time recently. It was nice to mix things up a bit, the only downside is that our streets and sidewalks are not in great condition. There were some empty residential streets I could take advantage of, but generally speaking, it’s just not good. We do have some better paths near the river that I will definitely utilize to do this next time.
Watch a Video
It can be hard enough to roll out of bed or get off the couch, forget putting on your workout clothes and going outside or driving to the gym. Thankfully there are so many options available to us through DVD or online. Just search on Google & YouTube and you’re bound to find countless videos for every kind of workout available. It’s a great way to try some new things. You can do Pilates, yoga, kettlebell, or even just a good aerobic workout. I don’t really follow any online classes but I do enjoy having a little throwback with some Richard Simmons’ Sweatin’ to the Oldies. I have the 4 disc box set and it’s always my go to. His happy-go-lucky attitude is so contagious that it just keeps my motivation going all the way through a ton of different dance numbers. I’ve done them enough times that I have most moves memorized, and sometimes even work-out in my head if the song comes on the radio. The best part is that it doesn’t even feel like a workout. It’s over in a flash and I have a ton of fun doing it, even when Ian walks by the room and laughs at me. You also don’t need to set aside a large part of your day for a workout like this. You can easily find videos that are as short as 10 minutes or as long as an hour, completely catering to you and your life. Time is no excuse when you literally have a workout at your fingertips!
These are just a few alternates to the repetitiveness of the gym. You can do them on your own time and mix up your routine as much as you want. You don’t have to deal with other people or wandering around while you wait for your favourite machine to be free. The more fun you allow yourself to have, the more you will want to workout. It’s not just about getting in shape or losing the weight, it’s about loving what you do and being as healthy as you can.