A big problem that a lot of people have when it comes to exercise is boredom. I’ve seen friends and family with stacks of workout DVDs that sit and collect dust. This is often because it can seem dull doing the same thing every day. I believe in making exercise fun in order to prevent that boredom from ever taking place. After all, you are more likely to stick to a workout routine if it’s something you like doing.
How to Make Exercise Fun
If you’ve been to the site before, you know that I am a big fan of the Xbox Kinect. When used correctly, it can be an important piece to getting into better shape. It’s not merely because I am somewhat of a gamer, but because it can be far more engaging than simply doing a workout routine. For example, I am undefeated in the family when it comes to Kinect Sports both Seasons One and Two.
The Wii is another game system we use semi-often for fitness. However, it’s much easier to cheat at the Wii. For instance, you can simply sit down for most games and move the controller. This doesn’t burn nearly as much calories than if you were to get up and move around. We have a rule in the house; you’re on your feet if the Wii is on. The whole family prefers the games on the Xbox, though. However, I am partial to bowling on Wii Sports. At any rate, gaming is a great way to make exercise fun for yourself as well as the children.
2. Challenge Friends and Family
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of friendly competition to get the blood flowing. I often challenge my daughters to games on the Kinect, but you can easily change it up to compete with others through social media. This was one of the reasons why I started using Exercise.com. Unfortunately, they removed the “challenge” part of their website because the interest was too low. If anyone knows of a good app or site that offers exercise challenges between friends, families or followers, send me a message on Twitter. I am pretty active on that social hub.
In either case, it doesn’t take much to call out a family member for a fitness competition. As long as everyone has good sportsmanship, it can be an engaging way to get fit. For example, my brother joined me on MyFitnessPal. I am now in the mindset that I’ll be damned if he’ll lose more weight than me this month. Our family is kind of big on the “one-up.” This means that anything he can do, I can do better. I bet a lot of siblings have this to some degree, though.
3. Change Up the Routine
A lot of people will focus on specific exercise routines. For instance, maybe you simply want to work on your abs. Don’t get sucked into the same exercises every day. There are a ton of workouts that flex the abs. If you change up the routine throughout the week, it doesn’t feel like a mundane activity. For example, do lying leg raises one day and planks the next. Both activities work on the abs but are completely different activities.
Like those DVDs I mentioned earlier, you don’t want to get stuck in a rut of doing the same thing every day over and over. Even with the best intentions, it could still start to feel like a chore rather than an engaging activity. I try to mix it up by including exercises I’ve never done before. This is how I found out that the plank is currently my favorite ab exercise.
4. City League Sports
If you have the money, I’d suggest finding a league in your home town. Personally, I am quite partial to bowling and golf. I am better at the former rather than the latter, but I still find both to be fun. This isn’t including the fact that each of these activities can burn a great number of calories. In any case, sports leagues keep you active and engaged. You never know, you might even bring home a trophy or two.
I love competing in any form. It’s a way that I make exercise fun by pitting my abilities against others. This is aside from the fact that it gives me a chance to teach sportsmanship to my children and how to be a gracious winner and loser. For instance, I teach that losing is just an opportunity to discover what you can do to improve yourself for the next time. It’s not really a loss but more of a learning experience.
5. Take it to the Park
Taking the kids to the park is a great way to get outside and increase physical activity. Whether you’re throwing the Frisbee or letting the kids play on the equipment while you walk around the edge, everyone is getting some fun time. We have a favorite park that is well-constructed with plenty of trees and nature along a footpath. One of these days, I’ll make a video of some of the best places to walk around in Colorado.
We like the park because it’s a free activity that can easily turn into a picnic. It’s easy to spend hours surrounded by nature knowing that the TV and game consoles are off. Just remember to engage the children. Pick sports or games they would be interested in playing. If you need outdoor “toys,” most dollar stores have cheap alternatives that are good for one or two uses.
6. Join Charity Activities
Charity activities are great as they can be a good way to make exercise fun while helping a notable cause. For instance, the family gets involved with “Relay for Life” every year. It’s a walk to promote breast cancer awareness and help drive donations. I like the thought of my girls viewing a charity as a way to help rather than a chore. They get pretty excited about it every year.
If you live in a larger area, there may be a large number of charitable events you can get involved in. I would like to play golf for charity, but I usually don’t have the money each time it comes around. Get outside and involved in the community. It’ll help you increase activity while giving you a chance to improve the lives of others. For me, this helps make exercise fun as my abilities are used to help others.
7. Become a Record Setter
One of my favorite activities when exercising is setting and breaking personal records. By the time my 30 day weight loss challenge is over, I plan on setting a new record for myself doing planks. It’s all about surpassing your own abilities and improving yourself. You don’t have to lift the most weights to be in the Guinness Book of World Records, but it fills you with confidence and pride when you overcome your own obstacles.
Remember what I said about friendly competition? For me, it’s nice to surpass the skills of friends and family for bragging rights. As long as you’re not an ass about the experience, it can be motivational to go beyond the abilities of others. At one point, I broke the record for the 50-yard dash in high school even though I wasn’t in track. I just wanted to see if I could do it.
8. Seasonal Outdoor Activities
Never underestimate the value of seasonal activities. For instance, swimming is one of the leading activities in the summer. It’s also one of the best cardio workouts you’ll ever do. Get out and play more in the sun. We try to get down to Pueblo and water ski every year. We haven’t been able to in quite some time, but it’s a fun activity.
Even the winter can promote outdoor activities. Skiing, building snowmen with the children, having a snowball fight and more can be a part of the winter routine. It’s all about how you view each season and what can be done outside that is fun.
9. Family Olympics
Hosting a family Olympics can get everyone involved to have some exercise fun. Design competitions that are ideal for each age of those in the house. Invite others over if you want to get some real competition going. It’s all about getting physical while playing against each other in a friendly outdoor series of sports. You could go so far as to post the results up on a white board in the house.
It’s possible to get a great deal of pleasure from exercising. For the most part, it’s going to take a change in your attitude if you want to make exercise fun. Don’t look it as a chore. Try to view it more as a hobby, or perhaps as a form of entertainment. It could be much more enjoyable if you try to keep the right frame of mind.