Marc Shelton is a health and wellness expert and uses his knowledge of the field to freelance for articles and blogs. He hates treadmills.
Waking up at six every morning, struggling into your clothes and shoes, staggering out the door—still bleary-eyed—and running three miles sounds amazing doesn’t it? The same three miles. The same route. Even the same playlist on your iPod. Every single day.
It doesn’t have to be that way. If you keep your workouts fun and fresh, you’ll be more likely to stick with them, and to achieve your long-term health goals. Mixing up your routine will keep things lively and your body guessing. Here are five ways to work out that are sure to keep your interest:
Ride a Bike
There are lots of different cycling workouts. You can head to the gym and take a spin class. You can hop onto a stationary bike and pedal your guts out while you read a book or watch television. You can even buy or rent a bike—road or trail—and get your workout in the great outdoors. Or just pull those old three-speeds out of the garage, grease the chains, and turn them into exercise bikes. Summer is still in full swing, but soon enough the temperatures will drop, making it the perfect time of year to go on some serious cycling tours.
Sign up for a kickball league, join a game of pick-up basketball, or run a 5K with a group of friends. Competing and playing with others is a terrific motivator. If you’re not the team type, compete against yourself. Set mini-goals to keep yourself on track, and buy a heart rate monitor, pedometer, or fitness tracking app to keep track of your goals—and beat them.
Dance, shake, and wiggle your way to physical fitness. If you like music, you have a lot of workout options. Try Zumba—it was developed by a Brazilian choreographer in the ’90s, and it’s really popular right now, so it won’t be hard to find a class. Pole dancing is another fun, sexy, and popular way to get fit. Buy a video game console system—there are many dancing games where you earn points for smooth moves. Or just turn on your favorite radio station and dance for thirty minutes. If you have a music playlist for exercise, change it regularly.
Climb the Mountain
You don’t really need a mountain for this one. Just a climbing wall, which you can find in many gyms. Instructors can hook you up with safety gear and teach you how to make this exercise, which is great for building strength in the upper and lower body, progressively more difficult as your skill level improves. You can also visit state and national parks, where you can climb real rock faces of varying degrees of difficulty.
Be a Ninja
There’s a gym in Virginia that’s offering a class called “Nothing to Ninja.” It’s modeled on the popular television program, “American Ninja Warrior,” and instructors teach participants to dash and leap through obstacle courses just like superheroes. Okay, so you can’t make it to Virginia today. The point is, keep checking the offerings at your local gyms to see if there are any new classes you can take. Switch your classes up before you get bored—try something you never thought of before, like boxing or Crossfit. And hey, if you see a Ninja class, sign up!
Working out doesn’t have to be a chore that you dread and quit at the first opportunity. There’s no need to chain yourself to one particular exercise DVD series or to go to the gym at the same time, every day, to do the same things. If you make the effort to look, you’ll find a world of ways to enjoy your workout—and stay motivated for the long haul.