June 8th, 2011 by Digestive Detective
For many, the idea of traditional exercise and fitness can be, well, just plain boring. Getting motivated to begin and even more so actually adhering to some regular exercise and physical activity can be a challenge. In some part this comes from antiquated notions that exercise is limited to monotonous machine workouts and slogans such as “no pain, no gain.”
It’s all a matter of perception and of application. Replace adjectives like "work", "intense", and "exercise" with "play", "invigorating, and "activity" and you change the mindset towards making fitness fun. Broaden your vision of fitness and you can find an entire world of possibilities that allow everyone, everywhere to find something they enjoy doing. After all, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing – if it feels forced – chances are you’re not going to stick with it.
Here are the 10 best ways you can make exercise and fitness FUN:
1. Focus on movement – Rather than concentrating on specific exercises or machines, focus on movement – adopt the mantra: “Move it to Lose It!” Focusing on movement provides an array of options to get fit including calisthenics, dance, etc.
2. Make a game out of it – Select different activities you can do and then go on a “fitness scavenger hunt” where you amass points for completing the activities. Ex. Walk the dog around the entire neighborhood – 5 points, ride your bike to your favorite bookstore – 10 points. Reward yourself once you have accumulated a certain number of points to reinforce your positive action.
3. Play Time – Get together with friends and transport to a time when fitness was fun with games like tag, kickball, wiffle ball, “red light, green light,” etc.
4. Get in touch with Nature – The serenity of nature provides a great backdrop to add some adventure and fun to your exercise – go hiking, explore your nearest park or follow a stream to see where it leads.
5. Run Amuck – RunAmuck Festivals are held all over the country each year and involve making your way over a 3 mile course laden with mud pits and waterways. You can participate as an individual or team up with friends, and they even have a costumed category where you can make your way through the course in a crazy, fun costume! (www.runamuckfestival.com)
6. Go “Old School” – Head to your nearest school or playground and make your way through the jungle gym, traverse the monkey bars and hopscotch your way fit
7. Dance Party – Invite friends and family over and have a dance party. See who can dance the fastest, the longest and the craziest! Then share some healthy snacks together and exchange recipes for nutritious dishes to add some food to your flair.
8. Become a tourist – Tour your own city on foot, mapping out destinations ahead of time that take you from one cool spot to the next. You’ll experience culture and burn calories at the same time.
9. Flex your Green Thumb – Plant some new flowers, shrubs and plants in your yard, or carry some new saplings to different spots around your neighborhood and community and get to digging!
10. Make it a Family Affair – Organize a family or neighborhood Fun & Fit Day and have different events like sack races, 3-legged relays, Hula-hoop contests and more!
Remember, fitness isn’t about drudgery and obligation, but opportunity and freedom – freedom of movement, of expression, and of the benefits you gain both physically and, often more importantly, emotionally/psychologically.
Jason Bosley-Smith, CSCS, FDN is a trainer and lifestyle coach as well as a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist. He is the founder of www.digestivedetective.com – a comprehensive health, fitness and training website that provides articles, podcasts, fitness videos, webinars and customized online training/coaching for individuals seeking to improve the way they feel, function, look and live.