Not everyone enjoys hitting the gym or going on a run, but just because those activities aren't for you doesn't mean you should never workout. Even if you hate the treadmill, there are a number of ways you can exercise without even realizing it, and fitting these activities into your day can help ensure you're reaping all the benefits of physical activity. Working out doesn't have to mean just doing a class or lifting weights, and what really matters is that you're working your muscles and getting moving.
"Exercise should enable our passion for life, not detract from it," says fitness instructor Trish DaCosta over email. "We know that regular exercise is necessary and oftentimes gets stale when we’re working out in the same environment all the time. Working out 'outside the box' not only challenges us more physically and mentally, but it can open us up to new and extraordinary experiences and keep us consistent long-term."
If you're trying to get more active, but don't always have time to hit the gym, try doing some of the below 10 exercises that will have you getting moving without even realizing you're working out. Physical fitness doesn't have to be miserable, after all.
1. Play Tourist
Even if you're not on vacation, you can play tourist in your own hometown or somewhere not too far away. "Make it a point to walk around to museums or new places, not only will you challenge yourself physically, but you’ll get a great night’s sleep as a result," says DaCosta.
A gorgeous view and the calming sense of nature can help distract you from feeling any physical exertion. "Hiking anywhere, whether it be an easy trail or steep terrain, offers the benefit of challenging yourself physically in exchange for beautiful views and a serene landscape. Depending on where you live, hiking spots can be available almost year-round, so don’t be afraid to take a day to check out a new spot."
3. Dance To The Beat
If listening to Bieber makes you want to break out the moves, do it! "If you're listening to music, get up and dance — even if it is only for five minutes," says fitness expert Carol Michaels over email. "Those short periods of movement will add up."
4. Clean The House
We all need to spend some time each week tidying up our living space, and straightening up is yet another way to get moving. "Vacuuming, mopping, and scrubbing are good calorie burners," says Michaels. "You will get in some exercise and have a really nice clean home."
Playing with kids gets you moving in a unique way that doesn't feel like exercise. "Jumping rope, hula hooping, and playing hopscotch or tag are all great ways to 'exercise' without going to the gym," says Jessica Thiefels, owner and founder of HonestBodyFitness over email. "All of them force you to move quickly, and often you have to be agile. Even regular gym goers don't often get this kind of movement in their routine."
6. Walk During Your Next Meeting
"If somebody wants to meet up with you for coffee, suggest something active, going for a walk or a hike, anything that gets you up and moving," says personal trainer Meghan Kennihan over email. "Even phone meeting can be done while walking your dog."
7. Have Sex
Go ahead and get it on — safely, of course. According to the journal PLOS One, sex burns 3.1 calories a minute in women and 4.2 calories a minute in men — about half of what is burned in a regular cardio exercise such as jogging. Although it may not be a replacement for the gym, sex can still add to your aerobic workouts.
8. Play Active Video Games
If the treadmill doesn't cut it, try doing something more entertaining, like a video game that requires you to get on your feet. "Wii Tennis, Wii Fit, Just Dance on Xbox Kinect — there are so many fun games for adults and kids to play these days that are just as good, if not better for you, then forcing yourself to sit on the treadmill for an hour," says Kennihan.
9. Build A Standing Desk
Exercise in a subtle while you get your work done at the office" with a standing desk. "We all know sitting kills, so fix your posture, strengthen your legs, and spend the day being more productive with a standing desk," says Kennihan. "It encourages more movement and is better for you body."
10. Bike To The Grocery Store
Biking everywhere might seem like a big leap, so start small and make each small trip to the grocery store a chance to get on your bicycle. "This low-impact activity is great for when you just need to grab a few things from the store, and is a great way to de-stress from work," says Thiefels. "If you live 1-3 miles from the grocery store, grab a backpack (or buy a basket for your bike) and leave your car at home."
The more activities you do, the more you'll end up exercising without even noticing.
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