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Off-beat Exercise Ideas: 6 Ways To Have Fun And Stay Fit!

Posted: August 22, 2014

Hate exercising? Here are some suggestions for non-traditional exercise routines that you can easily incorporate into your schedule!

Some people have no trouble waking up in the morning, and with a spring in their step they head out to the gym to work out. But perhaps you aren’t built like that, and you find exercising boring and unpleasant. What can you do to make working out fun and enjoyable?

Arvind Ashok, coach and co-founder of The Quad in Chennai, is emphatic when he says that it is indeed possible to nurture a love for working out. From a person who never worked out, he has evolved into someone who runs fitness BootCamps, and he credits this transformation to being able to find something that he loved doing and sticking to it.

The traditional way of exercising by hitting the gym for endless cardio and machine-based work can quickly get old. In this article, we explore a few different offbeat or non-traditional exercise ideas that can make working out fun.

Playing a sport

If you can find a sport that you enjoy playing, and a few people who will play with you, exercise will no longer be a chore. Arvind suggests Ultimate Frisbee, a sport that is gaining popularity across India, and uses Facebook to connect with others who love the game. Or pick up tennis, badminton, archery, or any other game that you love. If you cannot find people to play with, get a hula hoop. Hula hooping is fun and can give your core  a terrific workout.

Games which you used to play as a kid

Remember how time used to fly when you played run and catch, hide and seek, and hopscotch? When you grew up, you stopped playing these games. You probably cannot imagine doing it again because you’d be embarrassed. But remember that fun knows no age. No matter how old you are, the child that you once were is still alive inside you. If you have a group of friends, just get out and play! You may be surprised at how many people are interested in joining in.

Activity club

It cannot be stressed enough that doing something with like-minded others can keep you committed to what you’re doing. Join an activity club in your locality, or go ahead and start one. Perhaps once a month or so, you can go on a trek, ride bicycles together, or even volunteer. Arvind talks about how a group of people in Chennai meet regularly to undertake socially beneficial causes like cleaning up the beach. Such activities will not only give you a good physical workout, but also keep you connected to the community and the give you the unexpected bonus of a flourishing social life.

Dance

Love dancing?

“Don’t think only Zumba,” says Arvind. “Try Salsa or Tango. The key is to have fun.”

Pick a dance which does not have a secret agenda to be a fitness program, and you’re likely to enjoy it more. Traditional Indian dances like Bharatanatyam, Kuchipudi, and Odissi, are great for engaging every part of your body. If you were interested in any as a kid, you can start practising again as an adult.

Hard manual work

The reason why we have to hit the gym to maintain physical fitness is because we lead a sedentary lifestyle. Change it all up by engaging in intense physical labour like gardening (weeding, raking, digging the ground, mowing the lawn), cleaning up your yard or neighborhood,  heavy duty cleaning at your house, helping a neighbour with household chores or moving furniture… the possibilities are endless, if you will only open mind and look. Here are some other ideas for yard workouts.

Martial arts

Learn kickboxing, kung fu, or karate, not with the intention of getting a workout, but to learn how to defend yourself. Practising self defence moves with your fellow students will make you feel connected to the community while boosting your self-confidence. The exercise benefits would only be incidental.

The trick is to not restrict yourself to just one activity, only to “exercise.” Let your primary goal be to have fun, and incorporate as many of the above activities into your schedule as possible. If you go trekking one week, go clean up the beach the next week. Or get together with your friends and play some games. Practice dancing and martial arts. Don’t shy away from physically taxing tasks around the house.

If you can manage to do this, you simply won’t need to spend thousands of rupees on a gym membership which you’re probably not going to use.

Do you think any of these activities can be built into your daily schedule? Do you have any other suggestions for non-traditional exercise routines? Let us know in the comments below!

 Pic credit: Niko_si (Used under a CC license)

Nisha Salim is a self-employed writer and a social media junkie.

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