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How to Make Exercise Fun

Updated on September 3, 2008

Remember when we were young and had enough energy for 12 people? Back then, every day was spent playing, running around the neighborhood, playing hide and seek, and creating our own sports or games for fun. We never thought of it as exercise because we were just being kids. It was fun exercise!

Now fast forward a couple decades, add in a stressful full-time job, rent or mortgage and all of a sudden exercise becomes a half hour on the treadmill before dinner. Snore.

For something we're supposed to do 3-4 times a week, exercise shouldn't be as boring as we've made it. People aren't supposed to be stuck inside gyms, walking on machines every other day while reading legal briefs. In our adult years, we've made working out pretty boring.

If you're in an exercise rut, here are some easy tips for making exercise fun again:

1. Take a Walk in the Park:

Unless you live in Antarctica where it's freezing all year round, you'll be able to exercise outside at least half the year. Take advantage of this during the warm months and exercise in the park instead of at the gym. Even the most concrete-filled places like New York have parks. Go find one and walk or run for your exercise during lunch, after work or on the weekends at least.

2. Take a Bike Ride:

Once again, probably not something you could do if the ground is sleet outside, but when it's available to you. If you own a bike, ride your bike to run errands like going to the bank or picking up some bread from the grocery store. In most places, we rely on cars for everything. But a simple bike ride around the neighborhood or to the supermarket could be your exercise for the day.

3. Bring Back Childhood Games:

You don't have to be a parent yet to play like a kid as an adult. Even if it's too cold outside, you can bring the games indoors. Buy a hula hoop and you've got a $5 exercising machine! If you have space, do some sommersalts or do handstands against a wall to work your arms. Play jump rope games or play tag with friends on the weekends. Remember, don't be afraid to have fun.

4. Use Sports as Exercise Inspiration:

Maybe not something you could do after work on a normal day, but sports can be a fun way to exercise. You don't have to be on a sports team or have a super organized get together. Grab a friend and shoot hoops, play catch or take a trip down to a local ice skating rink. Some of these you could even do after work during Daylight Savings Time, when it gets dark later.

5. Take a Class or Try Martial Arts:

Aerobics, gymnastics, dance, kickboxing, martial arts...all of these are excellent ways to exercise and much more fun than the stationary bike. You can usually find these classes inside your local gym, so there's no reason not to try something new. If you like discipline, go to a martial arts center and sign up for a class that sounds interesting.

6. Use Hand Weights Instead of Weight Machines at the Gym:

It's easy to get stuck in the routine of weight machines. But there are a lot of hand weight exercises you can find in magazines and online that make exercise more fun. Find exercises that involve other props like chairs for some exciting and different ways to pump you up (and doesn't involve getting all the germs from 60 people who have used those weight machines daily).

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