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Exercises That Are More Fun Than Jogging

4 min read

By Jeff Hayward

Sometimes, it’s the motivation that we’re lacking to start an exercise routine, not a lack of energy. With that in mind, many people choose jogging as their go-to activity – which is all fine and dandy – but that may not appeal to everyone.

There are lots of other activities aside from running that incorporate cardio benefits, but you might not even notice that you’re breaking a sweat with some of these activities because they’re also entertaining. Let’s take a look at eight fun alternatives to traditional exercise choices…

1. Zumba

The story behind this group (or solo) exercise is that in the 1990s, a dance choreographer from Colombia needed a substitute for music he forgot to bring to class. So he chose the salsa music he had with him, and a new revolution in movement was born that continues to be popular.

Debate rages on whether this is a dance or an exercise or both, but one thing’s for sure, it’s an up-beat substitute to your traditional aerobics class. As WebMD points out, you’ll likely feel like you’ve stepped into a dance club rather than an exercise studio. And you don’t need to be a trained dancer to execute the moves.

2. Geocaching

Long before people started searching for virtual characters on their smartphones, there was geocaching. This involves participants “hiding” objects at particular spots (such as in the crux of a tree), and then giving geographic coordinates to find them via GPS.

The thing is, you could spend a day searching out objects in a particular area, and since you’ll probably be thinking more about what little treasures you’ll find, you might not even notice that your legs are burning from the non-stop walking. One of the rules of geocaching is that when you find an object, you replace it with another to keep it going.

3. Obstacle Courses

There are many organized obstacle courses out there that can take you through water, mud, or over walls. Some of these are organized just for the challenge, while others are specific to fundraising for charities.

Training for these obstacle courses are one thing, but doing them is quite another. Often there is a team atmosphere with an audience cheering you on, and your motivation to excel and leave the other teams (literally) in the dirt can be exhilarating.

4. Parkour

Also known in North America as “free running,” this is a practice that makes an urban landscape into your personal playground. Basically, you learn how to jump over everyday obstacles you would normally walk around, and for the more advanced, you can even jump from rooftop to rooftop (not recommended without training).

As explains, parkour is a full-body workout, but it’s also a ton of fun and lets you be creative. Perhaps you slide down a staircase rather than stepping down it, or do a backflip off a wall just because you can. Obviously it takes time to master, but it’s also a confidence booster.

5. Video Games

These have come a long way from the days of sitting on your butt shooting at aliens all day using a joystick. Today’s systems are much more interactive and the gaming systems can track your movements whether you’re dancing or even playing a virtual game of tennis.

Without leaving the comfort of your living room, you can challenge your kids to a dance-off with the help of the pixilated choreographer on the screen. You’ll be surprised by how exhausted (yet energized) you are after even 20 or 30-minutes.

6. Rec-League Sports

The competitive spirit of team sports could be what you need to get you off the couch. Not every sport appeals to everyone, so perhaps find a drop-in recreational sports program (like ball hockey, indoor soccer, or ultimate frisbee) in the neighborhood and have a go without any commitment.

Even if you’re not great at sports, you’re sure to still get some exercise while building some hand-eye coordination skills. Of course there’s that possibility your team will actually win, which will help boost your self-confidence and motivation to play even more.

7. Rock Climbing

Once reserved for extreme sports fanatics, rock climbing can also be performed at one the thousands of indoor facilities around the U.S. All muscle groups are engaged when you’re looking for your next handheld or foothold to reach the top, whether you’re on a climbing wall or the side of a cliff (for the latter, make sure you’re experienced and properly harnessed). notes that rock climbing also has the ability to increase your stamina and strength over time, and once you’re a bit more conditioned, you can challenge yourself to (literally) reach new heights. It takes concentration to figure out your next move, which will also help distract you from the fact you’re getting exercise.

8. Make Love

This one is probably a bit too obvious for this article, but we’re mentioning it anyway. According to Woman’s Day, the act of intercourse itself can burn around 150-calories every 30-minutes. Changing positions during the act will help work different muscle groups, adds the source.

If doesn’t have to be intercourse to burn calories, other intimate couple activities can have health benefits as well. For example, straight-up kissing burns 68-calories an hour, while hot-and-heavy making out can burn 238-calories in 30-minutes. Apparently, it’s the anticipation of the latter act that burns calories.

Writer, General Health

Jeff has more than 15 years of experience writing professionally about health, travel and the arts among other subjects. He continuously looks to improve his own overall health through exercise, diet and mindfulness. He is also a proud stay-at-home dad that loves taking photographs both professionally and as a hobby.

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