15 Activities That Are Not Only Fun but Also a Great WorkoutFriday, February 17, 2017 Uncategorised by Casie Phillips
When it comes to working out, sometimes we just need a change. While regular trips to the gym or yoga studio are great, any exercise expert will tell you that variety is the spice of life. Keeping your workouts fresh will help keep you committed to your health. Even more effective than variety, however, is fun!
We all need fun in our lives, and with the fast pace of life these days, it can be difficult to find space for it. Or maybe you’re someone who struggles to find time for exercise. You aren’t willing to sacrifice your other commitments, including a high value on fun to sweat it out at the gym. That doesn’t sound fun to you at all.
Combining fun and fitness is a great solution, allowing us to keep up with our commitment to a healthy lifestyle while still placing a priority on frivolity and fun. However, where should you start? How do you know which activities are actually an effective combination of exercise and enjoyment?
Fun Activities and Great Workout in One
We’ve done the work for you and have come up with a list of 15 different activities that are great workouts and are also a blast. We’ve listed outdoor activities, indoor activities and water activities, so there is something for everyone.
1. Water Games
Ask any kid at the local pool and he or she will rattle off a list a mile long of fun water games. At the top of this list, of course, is the age-old favourite, Marco Polo. Marco Polo requires one person to close his or her eyes and call out, “Marco!”
While the other players attempt to keep their locations secret, they respond, “Polo!” Marco then swims in the direction of the voices in an attempt to tag players. Before he can reach them, the other swimmers attempt to swim away silently and sneakily, avoiding the tag.
This game requires almost constant swimming, will almost always result in a lot of laughter and is a great workout.
Kayaking is a great upper body workout, as well as an efficient calorie burner. With kayaking, you have the option to enjoy the placid waters of a lake, the rough currents of a river or the strong waves and winds of the ocean. The versatility of this sport allows for both a more moderate workout as well as one that is more demanding.
Kayaking can be a solo sport or something you enjoy in a group. Depending on your location, you may even encounter spectacular wildlife.
One of the easiest and most engaging ways to get a great workout is to gather a group of friends and go for a hike. In all likelihood, you won’t have to go far to find a well-worn trail that will allow you get your cardio.
Hiking is one of those activities that can be as complicated and intricate as you make it. If you just want to grab a good walking stick, a pair of supportive shoes and sunblock, you can get a couple of hours in.
However, you just might end up loving it. Then you can start collecting the gear and planning longer, more difficult hikes. Whichever way you choose to go about it, you can count on working your abs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves and your hip muscles.
4. Family Bike Ride
Some experts believe cycling is the best cardio workout. It engages all the major muscle groups but doesn’t build bulk. Instead, it’s more likely to tone and tighten your glutes, abs and quads.
The great thing about cycling is that it is a fun activity for all ages. Particularly when the seasons begin to warm up, there’s nothing better than a nice, long family bike ride after dinner or on a Saturday morning.
Not only does this promote an appreciation for exercise, but it also bonds you as a family.
5. Ultimate Frisbee
Ultimate Frisbee is an activity that has grown in popularity in recent years, with competitive women’s teams emerging on the scene. This is another one of those activities all ages love.
To play the game, players are divided into two teams. Instead of a ball, they toss a disc to team members, avoiding the other team in an attempt to score at the end of the field. As you can imagine, this active sport burns a lot of calories while also engaging your lower body muscles in particular.
6. Play Tag
So maybe you aren’t in the mood for another go on the treadmill. The playground game of tag is a fun way to get your run in, while laughing and working all the same muscles you would on a three-mile run. There’s no doubt your heart rate will become elevated, and you can check cardio off your to-do list.
Plus, if you have kids (or even just neighbours who have kids), you’ll be very popular if you start up a game on a hot afternoon.
From strengthening your core to increasing your agility and flexibility, there’s no doubt skiing is an excellent whole-body workout. Not only does it intensely work your upper body, it actually increases the ability of your bones and joints to carry and support the weight you place on them while skiing downhill. This, in turn, protects your knees and helps to prevent osteoporosis.
Skiing is not just a great workout, but it’s also a much-loved and exhilarating activity that will bring a lot of enjoyment to your life.
8. Rock Climbing
Whole groups of people have found rock climbing to be an enjoyable, if demanding, way to work out. Because it works both your arms and legs, your core is automatically engaged.
The most significant point of influence, however, is in the shoulders, particularly in the deltoids. However, your biceps and triceps are also worked, and you can expect significant toning and added muscle mass.
Rock climbing is so popular there are clubs and teams you can join. There are even indoor climbing courses to practice and get smaller climbing workouts in.
The wonderful thing about dancing is there are so many styles. Almost anyone can find a style to enjoy. From ballet’s strength, endurance and lean muscle building to hip-hop’s cardio and agility strengthening, the high quality of a dance workout cannot be denied.
The best part is you can dance anywhere. You can dance in your kitchen. You can dance at a nightclub. You can dance in class. It’s one workout that requires nothing but a sense of fun and a good beat.
10. Active Video Games
Maybe you’ve avoided video games because you don’t want another reason to sit around. But it turns out video game creators decided to change their reputation and offer active video games for pretty much every platform and console.
No longer is gamer synonymous with a couch potato. Between Xbox Fitness, Dance, Dance Revolution and Wii Fit U, there’s an active option for everyone. You can choose between cardio, strength training or even something like Tai Chi or Pilates. Your options are endless.
11. Hula Hoop Contest
Who knew the thing the 8-year-old neighbourhood kids used to play way back when would turn out to be a serious ab workout? While people use it to tighten the abs and other core muscles, it’s also a pretty serious cardio workout, burning about seven calories a minute.
Make this workout even more efficient by purchasing a weighted hula hoop, and then host a contest with your friends to see who still has their skills all these years later!
12. Ice Skating
Though typically viewed as a winter sport, you can ice skate at your local rink all year. Though there is a learning curve, once you’ve got the basic movements down, you will love the feeling of flying over the ice.
Additionally, it’s a wonderful workout. Obviously, your lower body is most greatly impacted, and all the usual leg muscles are engaged. However, because of the unique side-to-side movement, your hip adductors also get a nice workout. The reliance on your ankles also builds bone and joint strength.
13. Laser Tag
Talk about fun! Get a group of friends together or take the family for an outing, and head to laser tag. There is nothing more fun than running around in the dark with glow-in-the-dark stickers to light the way. Add laser guns, teams and a course with blockades, and you’re in for fifteen or twenty minutes of nonstop fun.
Because you’re running and crouching without a break, laser tag is a terrific cardio exercise. Also, wearing the scorekeeping vest and carrying the laser gun is great for minor strength training.
14. Martial Arts
There’s no doubt about it, martial arts is an incredibly effective workout. Coincidentally, it can also be a lot of fun. Where else are you encouraged to kick a dummy and display your strength by chopping a board in half?
Martial arts receives a lot of attention for its focus on, well, focus. Through the teaching of discipline and concentration, the focus becomes a highly developed skill. But it turns out martial arts is also highly aerobic, which means it’s an effective exercise regimen.
It’s also great at developing muscle control, which leads to strength and toning. Martial arts are good for your heart, your other muscles and your mind. What could be better?
You’re probably wondering how on earth bowling can be considered a good workout. Of course, there’s the weighted ball, which leads to stronger arm muscles, more flexible joints and more agile ligaments, but other than that, what does bowling have to offer?
It turns out that the weighted ball also leads to lower body strength because every time you walk to your lane, assume the stance, and roll the ball toward the pins, you are putting enough stress on your lower body to work those muscle groups.
Bowling has always been a fun pastime. Between bowling leagues, birthday parties and just fun Friday nights, it’s always a good time to don your bowling shoes and pick a lane.
General Tips of Combining Fun and Sports
Between your regular workouts and this list of fun activities, getting fit shouldn’t feel like a chore. It also shouldn’t feel like a solo endeavour.
One of the best ways to vary your routine is to commit to one new activity a week or even every two weeks. Whether it’s a new activity or one you’ve tried before, you’ll experience the relief of variety.
Track your results
As you pursue this new approach, there are many tools available to help you keep track of your activities as well as their fitness value. By installing an app or two on your phone, you can easily log your activities, discover their caloric value, and make informed decisions about further exercise and diet. Most of these apps will even track your food choices, so you don’t have to attempt to count calories and do the complicated math of calories in, calories out.
Additionally, you can also download apps that will help you discover local classes or get-togethers. You can join groups or even sign up for classes all from the convenience of your phone or tablet. Or simply use websites like ActivityFan.com to book an activity at a time or a whole course.
This is one of the healthiest ways we can use technology, to promote our own wellness. We use our phones to carry on so much business, both personal and business related, it makes sense to use it for something as positive as fitness and health. Depending on your location (gym, class, trail) when using the apps, though, you’ll want to make sure you’re never on an open network and that you’ve taken care to protect any private information you keep on your phone.
Fitness doesn’t have to be the same old thing all the time. It doesn’t even have to be a lot of work. By changing up your routine, giving a little bit of priority to fun and letting your phone or tablet take care of the details, you just might discover a renewed love for exercise.