In a perfect world, there would always be time for the gym. Sadly, life is often far from perfect. And if you’re like the majority of Americans out there, finding the time and inclination to work out each day can be … challenging. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition, less than 5 percent of Americans get more than 30 minutes of exercise daily – a shocking statistic when you consider that heart disease is a leading cause of death in this country. Scientists have known for years that regular physical activity is a major deterrent to cardiovascular disease.
Yet still, we can’t make time for the gym.
The good news is that you can keep the old ticker in fine operating condition even without a pricey gym membership. There’s a form of exercise out there to satisfy even the most gym-shy among us, and even if treadmills and rowing machines intimidate you, a lean, fit form is still totally attainable. All it takes is a willingness to get to know yourself and your interests. Once you find a form of exercise that you genuinely enjoy, engaging in it once a day will become much more appealing.
Take time to explore a few of the lesser-known forms of physical fitness and the equipment needed to perform them properly, and you just might end up with the flattest abs on the block – all without ever leaving the cul-de-sac.
Be a Hooper
Hooping – working out using weighted hula hoops – is another fun way to get moving without ever leaving the house. Hooping can burn between 165 and 200 calories per hour and offers all the same cardio and muscle-toning benefits as other traditional forms of dance including salsa and swing dancing.
For the fine points of getting started in hooping, visit Health.com.
Rebounding – jumping up and down on a mini trampoline – has amazing health benefits. Not only will this fun form of exercise not feel like exercise at all, but it will help tone and strengthen leg and core muscles. It’s also a great way to boost your immune system. Rebounding increases your gravitational load and puts the good kind of stress on various areas of your body, including your circulatory system that stimulates your lymph nodes. Rebounding can even be instrumental in helping prevent and lessen the effects of cancer.
There are three basic routines that you can use when working out on a mini trampoline:
- Health Bounce- low impact where your feet never leave the surface of the trampoline
- Strength Bounce- jumping as high as you can
- Aerobic Bounce- incorporating aerial acrobatics such as twirls and spins
You can rebound in your backyard or in your bedroom with only the cost of the mini trampoline weighing you down. To learn more about the many, many health benefits of rebounding, check out this article by Live Bold & Bloom.
Originating in Berlin in 2001, Speedminton is a fun, outdoor game that has since taken the world by storm. And if you’re thinking that Speedminton simply equals badminton plus speed, you’re wrong. Sure, those chaotic hours spent batting a birdie back and forth across a net when you were a kid were fun, but they can’t compare to the blast you and your friends and family will have during a good game of Speedminton.
Speedminton uses a speeder. This type of shuttlecock is heavier and more aerodynamic than badminton’s birdie. It’s also much more accurate to aim. And instead of hitting the speeder over a net, Speedminton opponents each defend their own 18-foot square space. Best of all, you can easily chalk out your Speedminton court in minutes with simple sidewalk chalk.
You can learn the rules of Speedminton here. It’s a great cardio workout that provides fun fitness for your entire family.
Try Inline Skating
Not into running? Try skating instead. A decent pair of inline skates and a few pieces of personal protective equipment are all you need to get started, well that and a nice paved driveway.
Much less jarring and easier on joints than running or jogging, inline skating is the perfect way to sculpt lean thighs and buns, and this activity can burn as many as 816 calories per hour.
To get started, purchase a decent, well-fitting pair of skates, a helmet, and wrist and knee guards. A good pair of beginner skates will run you anywhere from $100 and up. You can read up on the fine points of what to look for in the Inline Warehouse Buying Guide for Inline Skates.
LARP, or live-action role play has its basis in board games. Remember all those years you spent playing Dungeons and Dragons as a kid? When you LARP, you basically move a favorite board game into the real world by assuming the identities of the characters. Invite family and friends over to play a live-action version of chess in your backyard, just make sure everyone dresses accordingly. Costumes are the best part about LARPing because they add in that extra little element of fun. They can also help you sweat off excess weight.
You can LARP in your own backyard or with a local group at organized LARP events. To learn more about Live Action Role Play, visit Larping.org.
Learn Traditional Dance
Learning to properly perform a traditional form of dance such as clogging, flat-footing, hoofing, soft-shoe, square dancing, or jigging is an excellent form of exercise that’s not only unique and entertaining, it’s a terrific cardio workout too. You can teach yourself these types of traditional dances at home using DVDs or even instructional YouTube videos such as the one included above.
Buy Some Exercise Toys
Want to find more interesting ways to perform traditional exercises such as crunches or pushups? Invest in a few fun toys to make it all a bit more interesting. Balancing both hands on a medicine ball while doing a push-up or stretching across a stability ball on your back to perform sit-ups or crunches makes your workout lower impact. It also makes it a bit more fun. For some great routines that utilize exercise balls, visit bodybuilding.com.
Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it never really has to take you away from your responsibilities at home. Anyone can stay fit and healthy in an affordable fashion by testing a few of the ideas listed above. It’s just a matter of experimenting to find the one that best fits your budget and lifestyle and then building on it one workout at a time.