We all know the physical and mental benefits of daily exercise – increased endorphins, stronger muscles, reduced stress, and heightened energy to name a few. Yet it’s something almost everyone struggles to keep up with. It’s easy for Netflix and takeout to seem like a much more appealing activity. But exercise doesn’t have to be this dreaded, gruesome routine – if you don’t look like a Nike commercial during your workout that’s fine. Not everyone is into the traditional gym setting and that’s okay. Here are a few hobbies and exercises you should try if your yoga pants haven’t seen a gym in a while.
Zumba fitness is a great blend of dance and exercise. The craze was invented by Columbian choreographer, Alberto Perez in the early 90s. Zumba routines combine upbeat Latin music with effective, fat-burning workouts. If you’re feeling a little hesitant then try joining the class with a friend! Dance is a great way to build confidence and have fun while exercising. It’s okay if you’re a little embarrassed that you’re not the greatest dancer – stand in the back & avoid criticizing yourself in the mirror. There’s a ton of Zumba routines on Youtube if you’d rather try a class in your living room.
Not everyone lives in a warm climate or has easy access to a pool, but with summer approaching it’s the perfect time to start swimming. I’m sure you already know that swimming is great for people who suffer from joint or muscle pain – that’s why our grandmas are so into water aerobics. Swimming is actually the perfect workout if you hate working out – even treading water is a great way to burn calories.
Ski or Snowboard
Obviously, this exercise is reserved for those who live near some snowy mountains. Both skiing and snowboarding are a great way to incorporate resistance training into your workouts. Hitting the slopes will test your endurance, increase your heart rate, and allow you to enjoy the outdoors. Have you ever seen the calves of a professional snowboarder? If you live far from the action then consider planning a vacation to the mountains this year.
Kayaking is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors, it’s also an incredible upper body workout. Kayaking can build muscles in your chest, shoulders, back, and arms – while still having fun. If you don’t own one don’t worry, plenty of cities offer kayak rentals. Plan a solo outing or bring along some friends. Kayaking is super easy to get the hang of and you may even catch a nice tan.
Indoor rock climbing gyms are becoming increasingly more popular, with locations popping up around the country. If you’re a little intimidated by the culture then do your research, there’s a ton of beginner guides and instructional videos online. Admit it, we were all a little intrigued when we watched Anne Hathway climb in the Princess Diaries. Indoor climbing gyms are actually very easy to find, many college campuses and community recreation centers include a climbing wall. Most places allow you to rent gear so don’t run to REI and break the bank. If you find yourself bored to death at the gym, then climbing might be an upper body workout worth trying.
Most of us aren’t natural born runners so we should stop forcing ourselves to enjoy it. Hiking is a great cardio alternative for those of us who still have nightmares about the high school pacer test. The exercise builds muscle, reduces stress, improves blood pressure, burns calories. It’s also a great way to unplug and relax if you’re feeling a little extra stress.