Your workout time is just for you, and most days, working out should be enjoyable – not a chore. If you find yourself making excuses for not getting to the gym, it’s time to put more fun in your fitness routine.
This is not the time to set lofty goals for more weight or distance, or to see how fast you can have fun. What games did you play as a kid? Did you climb trees? Pretend to be a circus performer, or dream of being an international explorer? As adults, we forget how to pretend and play, but chances are, the activities you enjoyed as a child can easily translate into grown-up fitness fun. Maybe the adult version of climbing trees is tackling a climbing wall. Look for aerial classes to realize your dream of performing under the big top. And if you live in an urban area rather than a place with wooded hiking trails, seek out neighborhoods you haven’t yet explored – preferably with some steep hills to challenge you.
Don’t worry about losing sight of your fitness goals while you take time to play. Dance workouts can be just as aerobically challenging as a long run; even working out with weighted hula hoops can challenge your concentration and provide aerobic benefits.
If your usual workout takes you to a gym, change it up, and get some fresh air by exploring your outdoor exercise options. Jump on a bike, or take a run through a park. (If you stop at a playground along the way, resist the temptation to see how many pull-ups you can do, and hop on the swing set instead!)
If you’re fortunate to live near a lake, public pool or tennis courts, take advantage of low-cost, no-cost fitness opportunities in your neighborhood. When you let yourself relax and lose sight of hard, fast rules about reps and time and calories, you greatly expand your opportunities for a fun workout.
A study in the Journal of Sports Behavior showed that you’re more likely to stick with a fitness program that has variety, too. The study followed three groups of exercisers, and one group switched out their fitness regimen every two weeks, adding newness and fun to their program. Consequently, the researchers found that an increase in participants’ enjoyment of their exercise regimen made them more likely to stick with the program.
Being strong and able to move with ease is a gift. Enjoying the activities that get you fit, and keep you feeling good, is an extra benefit that will make your workouts a lot more fun.