The first thing most people think of when trying to stay active is going to the gym. While that's a great place to lift weights, join a cycling class, or take advantage of a personal trainer, there's so much more in the fitness world. Discover these enjoyable alternatives to traditional gym workouts.
1. Dancing as a Cardio Workout
People from around the globe have been dancing throughout history — as far back as 70,000 years ago — and for a good reason. In addition to lowering stress, boosting energy, and making you feel good, dancing helps you stay young. It also brings people closer together and can even help with depression. Being a great dancer is not required to get a good cardio workout.
You can watch Zoomba exercise videos, try out YouTube dance tutorials, or sign up for a dance class. Try everything from hip hop and ballet to tap and belly dancing. Who knows, you may find yourself on stage performing for an audience.
2. Outdoor Activities Like Hiking and Biking
The great outdoors is all around us and chock full of year-round activities. There's no doubting the physical health benefits of immersing yourself in nature. But did you know that exercising outdoors is better for your brain? It doesn't matter where you live; there's always something for everyone. You can go to your backyard and do yoga or walk briskly around the neighborhood. If you're up for a little more adventure, consider hitting a nature trail to go hiking or biking.
3. Home Workouts Using Bodyweight Exercises
Going to the gym has its advantages but requires extra costs and effort. Working out at home gives you more flexibility and can be less intimidating. You could buy dumbbells, a weight bench, or other exercise equipment, but you don't need any. You can do many of the same gym exercises using only your body weight, including incline pushups and body squats. Do these bodyweight exercises as a circuit to get the most out of the routine. This gives you a full-body workout that combines cardiovascular and strength training.
4. Competing With a Sports Team or Club
If you love a good game and are competitive, why not join a sports team or club? While softball, tennis, bowling, and similar team activities might come to mind, be bold and think outside the batter's box. Some of the most fun sports you may not have considered include pickleball, roller derby, martial arts, golfing, jump roping, swimming, and more.
5. Challenging Yourself With Daring Activities
Embrace your inner daredevil by trying activities out of most people's comfort zone. Whitewater rafting, rock climbing, mountain biking, and caving are examples. If you're interested in multiple challenging activities, then canyoning might be for you. When you go canyoning, your day's adventure might include hiking, climbing, waterslides, ravines, etc.
6. Participating in a Marathon
You probably have friends or family members who brag about running a marathon. Although it may sound intimidating, anybody can participate. You have to find one that matches your interest and skill level. There are many types of marathons, from easy 5K marathons where people can walk or run to mini triathlons where you have to run, bike, and swim.
7. Going Geocaching
Geocaching might not be something you think about doing to stay active, but it's a fun way to get outside and move around. People hide trinkets everywhere, but some of the best places to look are in local, state, and national parks. All you need to go treasure hunting is a list of coordinates, a GPS-capable smartphone, and hiking shoes.
8. Taking Flow Art or Circus Art Lessons
If you grew up playing with a hula hoop, you might not know that it's more than kids play. It's part of an entire art form called flow arts. Flow arts involves manipulating an object, like a hula hoop, while doing another activity like dancing or martial arts. In addition to hula hoops, you can learn how to "flow" using poi, levi-wands, spheres, and fire staffs. If you find a studio that offers these types of classes, circus arts might be close by, too. This involves hanging and twirling on silk scarves and hoops suspended from the ceiling, much like trapeze artists.
9. Joining Leisure Activity Groups
Taking part in a sport doesn't have to involve clocking times and finish lines. You can join a group that regularly organizes leisure activities. This could be a group for running, biking, kayaking, open-water swimming, beach volleyball, horseback riding, and other fitness activities. You'll improve your overall health while making new friends.
10. Trying New Fitness Classes
Taking classes will always be a great way to maintain your health and well-being. It also gives you the opportunity to try something new and mix things up. Fitness clubs and gyms might be the most common places to go, but there are many other places to find fun classes. Teachers often hold classes in the community at various public places such as senior centers, beaches, parks, and other open spaces.
Discover More Fun Ways to Stay Fit
As you can see from this list of fun ways to stay active without going to the gym, you have many options.
Are you still trying to figure out where to look?
Check listings in community publications, search for social media groups, scope out coffee shop bullet boards, and ask friends and family if they know of any activities. You can also find fitness-related activities that you can do online and through apps. Exercise doesn't have to be boring; find activities you genuinely enjoy.
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