Working out is, obviously, a very healthy thing to do. In fact, regular exercise and moderate-high levels of baseline physical activity are some of the most important factors of all when it comes to your overall health.
Unfortunately, working out can — for many of us — be a bit of a drag, and not only because of the fact that working up a sweat is naturally a big tiring in and of itself.
The usual gym routines and exercises that we are often advised to take up when trying to get fit can simply be quite monotonous and mundane. Things like running on a treadmill, for example, or even — depending on your particular temperament and preferences — lifting weights.
Fortunately, there are many more than just a handful of ways in which to move your body and get in shape. Here are a handful of different activities that can help you to get in shape and to develop your physical fitness, while ideally having a bit more fun than you would have had doing more run-of-the-mill workouts, and maybe with less stress.
Take up a dance class
Dance is something that human beings have been doing for all of recorded history, and almost certainly for all of our pre-recorded history, as well.
Dance is often a powerful cultural expression, such as in the form of the Shen Yun dancers, and it’s something that regularly happens at weddings, birthday parties, and all sorts of events that involve feeling and expressing a bit of positivity and zest for life.
Fortunately, not only is dancing a great way of getting into a flow state and enjoying the experience of being alive, but it’s also a great way of getting your heart rate up.
High energy dances, in particular, can be a fantastic workout — but even slow dances can do a lot of good, as every form of movement is beneficial.
Certain dances have even been created, or adapted, specifically to be effective workouts — such as Zumba.
Whatever kind of dance you may be interested in, signing up for a dance class is just one great way of potentially getting your workouts in.
Go on hikes to beautiful locations
There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t get your cardiovascular exercise in the great outdoors rather than in an enclosed gym environment — and, in fact, there are a broad range of benefits to training in the outdoors.
Among other things, training outside means getting more fresh air and — often — moving over different forms and elevations of terrain, both of which are good for health and fitness.
Journeying around beautiful natural locations on foot can also be deeply uplifting and life-affirming in and of itself.
While you could go for trail runs, simply hiking has the potential to be a very health-promoting and effective form of exercise, particularly if you’re hiking up mountain paths and the like.
Practice yoga, Pilates and callisthenics
Yoga and Pilates are examples of forms of exercise that rely on creating a good degree of balance in the muscles of the body, and on promoting good flexibility, stability, and posture, as opposed to things like getting the biggest muscles possible.
Both of these practices — and perhaps especially yoga — can be highly engaging, centring and all-encompassing practices in and of themselves, but even more general calisthenic workouts including things like pull-ups may be more your cup of tea than conventional weight training.
One great benefit of yoga, Pilates, and general-purpose callisthenics routines, is that they all involve little if any equipment, and don’t require you to tediously track reps and weights day after day and week after week.
Sign up for a martial arts class
Martial arts classes come in a wide variety of different types, ranging from modern sports-and-combat focused variants such as Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to Traditional Martial Arts such as karate and judo.
Whichever form of martial arts you might find interesting, there are some distinct benefits to be had from signing up for a martial arts class, more or less irrespective of your age.
Increased confidence and a greater potential ability to defend yourself are certainly two benefits of martial arts training. But camaraderie, discipline, a sense of progression and accomplishment, and just straightforward fun, are also all parts of the equation.
If you sign up for a martial arts class, you will undoubtedly get a good workout in — but you will likely be so absorbed in the activity itself that you won’t even think of it as “exercise.”