It seems that most people are interested in living healthier lives; and everyone agrees that exercise is one of the keys to living better and longer. The gym is often a good choice for people; but, everyone doesn’t like going to the gym. Some people just don’t feel like getting on a treadmill twice or three times a week.
The good news is, of course, that you can do a lot of things that will increase your heart rate without going anywhere near a gym. Here’s a list of 10 fun activities that you can do by yourself, or with friends and family. You’ll keep active and fit, and have a great time in the process. Remember, of course, that any activity requires some physical exertion; so always check with your health care provider if you’re in doubt.
Here’s an activity that is guaranteed to give you a great workout and lots of fun at the same time. There are so many different kinds of dance classes available now that you’re spoiled for choice: line dancing, ballroom dancing, Zumba, Flamenco; there’s really no reason why you can’t find something that sounds interesting to you. You can attend many of these classes by yourself, and not feel out of place. Dancing is a great opportunity to socialize, too, and that’s a bonus to the physical invigoration it can provide. If you like music and movement, then dancing is one of the best ways to work up a sweat. Many places hold classes for specific groups, like senior classes, or new mother classes. It’s a great way to burn calories while making new friends.
2) Playing a Musical Instrument
Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, but were never able to do so. Well, go ahead because you’ll not only stimulate your brain, you’ll also get some exercise. Some people suggest that playing a guitar for an hour causes you to exert about 169 calories of effort; and with exertion comes an increase heart rate. Playing your guitar while walking around for an hour will burn more than 200 calories. If you include performing before a live audience, then you’re likely to get some light exercise, and use over 250 calories. Playing the drums for an hour requires the most energy, and gives you a really great workout. What’s nice, too, is you don’t need to be very good to get the benefits of the exercise!
3) Sponsored Walking
Walking as an activity has so many benefits; and you don’t need to walk all that fast to increase your heart rate. If you swing your arms a bit, you’ll be really getting great exercise. Certainly, many people already make walking part of their daily routine, such as when taking the dog out, or strolling along scenic routes in the local park. More and more, however, people are going on sponsored walks, for charitable reasons. Sponsored walks are a tremendous way to show support for someone you love who may be battling a disease, or to show support for a cause you feel is important—and it keeps you fit. You can choose how long you walk, so sponsored walking is ideal for people at any fitness level.
4) Wii gaming
With the advent of Wii gaming, there’s no excuse for you not to get your exercise right in the privacy of your own living room. Gaming gives you the chance to try out a range of physical activities from archery and golf, to dance and guitar competitions. The reason gaming is such a great way to get your exercise is that it’s so very convenient and the choice of activities is simply astounding. The whole family can partake as well; and this makes it all the more fun. You’ll need to make the initial investment in the equipment and games, of course; and this isn’t always cheap. But, just think about all the money you’ll be saving from not going to the gym to get your exercise.
5) Community Gardening
This is a tremendous way of increasing your heart rate, and helping your neighborhood at the same time. There are many different ways in which community gardens are structured. For example, some are privately sponsored, whilst others may be managed by the city or county’s park and recreations department. People with back trouble might not want to be bending up and down; but there are plenty of other ways to help, such as raking, or watering. It’s not seasonal, either: there are always things to do in the garden at every time of year. Some gardens focus on restoration of natural plants and flora; whilst others are themed, say for seniors. Community gardening really is a wonderful way of getting exercise, and it will boost the health of your community, too.
While there is no doubt that bowling is a sport, it’s also a great activity for the average person who’s looking to get some exercise. Bowling is popular across the world. Different countries have their own, different versions; but all involve you throwing a ball to knock something down. Commonly what you are knocking down are pins, arranged in a particular formation. The goal is to knock down all the pins; and your score is based on how many you manage to hit. Bowling is a tremendous substitute for formal exercising; and is equivalent in its benefits to walking. It is low impact, requires careful and deliberate movements, and improves coordination and overall movement. Bowling is also a good pastime for older people to enjoy.
7) Live Action Role Playing
This is a great alternative to going to the gym, and is particularly good for people who like a bit of history. Live action role playing (or LARP) involves you pretending to be someone living in a bygone age. One of the best examples is LARP in reenactment battles: people, dressed in period costumes with period weapons, recreate notable battles in history. These reenactment battles are hard work and require practice. Wielding a sword and carrying a shield certainly get your heart rate going. You don’t have to partake in war, however. Many reenactments offer daily scenes from the past, like local farmers tilling fields. You can ask for a LARP that involves you doing something physical, even if it’s strolling around the town in a costume. An added bonus is the history lesson that comes with the workout!
Paintballing is a game of tag. Players tag or mark each other with paintball capsules that are propelled from a paintball marker, or paintball gun. Once hit by a capsule—it’s obvious by the splat of paint on the player—the person is removed. You’ll be given a protective kit, which will always include a helmet and vest, if not backpacks and other gear. The rules are fairly consistent across different fields: anywhere a player gets hit will count towards his or her elimination. There’s different kinds of landscapes through which a player has to go; and the game involves a lot of hiding, running, and dodging in order to avoid opponents’ paintballs. Paintballing is great exercise and a lot of fun, especially if you go with friends or family.
This is an activity that has its origins in the game of following hidden clues, letterboxing; but it’s very definitely a 21st century version that has you running around. Geocaching is essentially a game of hide and seek, using the sophisticated technology of global positioning systems. Caches, which may or may not be containers with some sort of “treasures”, are listed by coordinates on a site. Treasures are generally not worth much monetarily, but represent value to the geocacher; and goods are often exchanged. These hidden bounties will require you to look almost anywhere, and over almost any terrain—some caches have been found in Antarctica. You’ll definitely get a good work out as you search for your treasure far and wide, in fields, streams, or along rolling hills.
10) Hopping On/Off
Getting on a bus is one way of getting a workout; but we’re not just talking about any bus—it’s the hop on/hop off tours that will get your heart rate to increase. Hop on/ hop off buses are essentially what their name implies: for a fee, say over for a 24 hour period, you can hop on and off the bus at designated stops, as often as you wish, within that 24 hours. One day’s travelling on a tour bus could involve you doing a lot of embarking and disembarking—which means you’d be getting quite a bit of exercise walking around checking out the sites and neighborhoods. If you live in a major city, and did this once a week, you’d be assured of getting a reasonable workout. The whole family can participate, as well.