Does the gym depress you? Do you dread walking into the gym every day after work? Do you ever wonder what it would be like to genuinely enjoy working out and getting fit? Well, we have good news for you – exercise can be fun! It all depends on how you approach it.
Kiss the Gym Membership Goodbye
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, a healthy adult needs to get at least 150 minutes or moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week (or a combination of the two). This comes out to roughly 20 minutes of moderate activity per day. Greater amounts will provide even better results.
For millions of health-conscious American adults, a gym is the answer. But gym memberships are expensive, restrictive, and monotonous. Research shows that the average cost for people who hold a year-round gym membership is somewhere around $700 per person. And that’s just the average. If you live in an expensive market like New York City, you’ll pay an average of $134.50 per month – or $1,614 per year.
Aside from the cost, typical gym memberships are restrictive in the sense that they only offer certain types of equipment. This limits you to basic cardio and weight lifting exercises. Then there’s the fact that working out in a musty gym is boring and repetitive. And though you might be able to stay motivated for a few weeks, long-term consistency is a challenge.
But who says you have to go to the gym to stay healthy? What if there were less expensive, more versatile, and more enjoyable ways to get fit?
4 Fun Ways to Stay Fit
The key to making fitness routines last is to find activities that you enjoy. You want something that gets your heart rate up, but that you don’t necessarily consider exercise. Here are some ideas:
Dance is a fun way to stay active and healthy well into your middle and older years of life. And while you’re probably familiar with the physical cardiovascular benefits of dance, did you know that it also positively impacts your mental health? Research shows that dance significantly reduces the risk of dementia and disability, while also enhancing mental acuity and increasing memory. Just one to two hours of dance per week has been shown to provide physical and cognitive benefits.
- Running Clubs
Some people are born to run, while others would rather watch paint dry. But regardless of whether running is in your DNA or not, you can make jogging a fun part of your regular fitness routine by joining a running club.
Running clubs, which can either be formal or informal in nature, add a social and motivational element to running. When you have people that you connect with, it’s easier to focus on the experience as opposed to the repetitive nature of jogging. Through increased accountability and camaraderie, you’ll find it much easier to meet and surpass your goals.
There’s nothing better than getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city or suburbs and finding a nearby place to hike. Whether it’s a state park, national park, a nature preserve, or private land that you have access to, hiking is a fantastic way to get the blood pumping and to reset your mind on what’s important in life.
- Team Sports
If you’re someone who is driven by competition and likes the opportunity to win, team sports could be a great way to get your exercise. This could be anything from a local rec basketball league to a tennis club to a weekly volleyball get-together with friends. It’s less important what the sport is and more important that you find it enjoyable.
Adding it All Up
You don’t have to make any long-term commitments today – just try something new! If you want to see what it would be like to join a dance class, observe one and ask questions. Think tennis could be fun? Buy an inexpensive racket and head to a local park with a friend. If you end up liking it, you can look for more opportunities to get involved. If you hate it, simply try something else. It’s all about finding the right fit for your skills, interests, and lifestyle. Once you find a marriage between these concepts, getting healthy and staying fit will be much easier.