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    « A Year in Review | Main | How to Avoid Feeling Hungry »

    Making Exercise Fun

    There's nothing glamorous or fun about pounding the pavement for a few miles or spinning away on an elliptical trainer for 20-30 minutes.  Much of the time, the reason people give up on their fitness programs is simply due to the fact that they are bored silly with their routines.  So how do we keep it interesting?  How do we keep boredom from settling in and lulling us to sleep with redundancy?  Here are some ideas:

    • Mix it up.  If you want to stick to a fairly standard routine, you can switch up your cardio training sessions from workout to workout.  Try running one day, riding the bike another, and doing elliptical training on another day.  In addition to keeping your interest levels, your body will be forced to continually adapt to the constantly changing demands, which is good for endurance and cardio training.
    • Replace a regular cardio session with something completely different.  If you always use machines for your cardio, try a beginners cardio kickboxing class.  Other great options include trying a pilates or step aerobics class.  My gym offers a pretty cool rhythm class in which participants beat on inflatable exercise balls with drumsticks to the beat of driving music.  There's a LOT of movement around the room, and the participants really come out looking like they've been working hard.
    • Get outside and play.  If you have children, go outside and go cycling or roller blading with them.  Play some tag football.  Go to the playground and chase your children around.  Play a round of tennis at the park.  When you're playing, you're not thinking about the calories you're burning, so get out there and just have some active fun!
    • Take a karate class.  My wife and I both take karate with our sons.  I posted a blog just a few days ago detailing the degree of intensity involved with our karate classes.  Every class is a little different, and there are very often high intensity intervals that are GREAT for tearing up some calories.
    • Go dancing.  There are very few full-body exercises that can be as much fun as dancing.  If you head to a club, keep your alcohol and food consumption in check - you don't want to burn a bunch of calories just to take them all in before the end of the night.  Another nice thing about dancing - you don't have to leave home to do it.  Crank up your player and just let loose.  Before you know it, 30 minutes have passed along with a few hundred calories.
    • Partner up.  Besides the accountability factor involved in partner workouts, you'll have someone to chat with and bounce ideas off of.  The social aspect of partner workouts makes them that much more enjoyable, especially if your job includes hours of sitting in a cube looking at a computer monitor.
    • Try a Tai Chi or yoga class.  To the uneducated eye, Tai Chi and yoga don't appear to provide much of a workout.  In truth, both of these activities are very physically demanding in addition to allowing the participant to focus on the most important part of our being - breathing.
    • Watch TV while you work out.  If you choose to work out during your favorite TV show, you'll automatically be distracted away from the repitition of a workout.  TV shows offer a perfect mechanism for timing your workout - assuming your show is 30 minutes long!

    The key to all of this is to enjoy your workouts.  Don't focus so much on the exercise aspect of what you're doing, but focus on having fun.  Above all, be well!

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