Five Exercises that Won't Feel Like Work

You want to get fit, but going to a gym just isn’t your idea of fun, so you can’t find the motivation to actually workout. If this sounds familiar, then perhaps you need to change your idea of working out. If you find an activity that pushes your body out of it’s comfort zone and increases your heart rate, then it counts as exercise.

1. Fencing
The sport of fencing is nicknamed "physical chess with speed of light,” says PAFC - Western Sydney Fencing Club. You have to think smart, act fast, and be strong. Fencing gives you a full-body workout from your feet and legs up to your arms and neck. It’s great for cardio and helps improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination. Fencing works your brain too, increasing focus and concentration by honing strategic thinking and decision-making skills. Challenge your friends to a fencing session or attend a class to meet new friends.

2. Kayaking
Although you may think kayaking only works your arms, Kayak Base notes that rowing utilizes the chest, shoulders, abs, and thighs. It’s particularly great for your abs because rowing involves a torso twisting movement. They also add that many people find kayaking a meditative and peaceful activity where they enjoy the beauty of nature, whether they’re alone or with family and friends.

3. Barre
A barre is the bar you see ballerinas using to warm up, but ballerinas aren’t the only ones using it. Barre-based exercises are rapidly gaining popularity across the country. Shape says most barre-based classes are a combination ballet, yoga, and Pilates. The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises, and some classes incorporate dumbbells and mats into their routines. A barre workout strengthens your muscles, improves posture, promotes weight loss, increases flexibility, and reduces stress. Find a studio and attend with your friends or use a piece of furniture as a barre and workout at home.

4. Dog walking
If you own a dog, don’t just open your door and let him do his business; put him on a leash and take him for walk. It’s not just for his benefit – you benefit from walking your dog too. You’re obviously getting exercise from walking your dog, but a study shows there’s more to it. Participants who started consistently walking their dogs walked more often and for longer distances than those without dogs. If you don’t own a dog (or even if you do), become a (paid) dog walker or volunteer to walk the dogs at a local animal shelter.

5. Skateboarding
Although you’ll get a better workout if you add in some tricks, even just pushing around a skateboard on a flat surface for 30 minutes increases your heart rate and burn up to 360 calories, states Men’s Fitness. Skateboarding is a great cardio workout because it switches back and forth between pacing to more explosive efforts. It also strengthens your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and abs. Skate parks are located outdoors or indoors, and you can bring your own equipment or rent equipment there.

It’s easy to get fit while enjoying your workout if you rethink what exercise means. Head to your home gym for a self-paced workout, lace up your sneakers and take your dog for a walk, or learn a new skill like fencing. Just remember to have fun, and the rest will follow!