Nothing puts a damper on fitness faster than a boring exercise routine, so make your workouts stick by trying fun exercises this year.
Get a kick out of fitness
We've rounded up 10 fun possibilities, but the best routine is the one you enjoy — so keep trying new things until you find one you love. Hint: Look to all the fun activities you used to do during recess as a kid.
One of the most effective fitness tools we've found, kettlebells will boost your cardio, sculpt your body and improve your strength with every move. Kettlebells come in a wide range of weights, giving you the ability to start easy and work your way up as your fitness soars. Our suggestion is to get the Empower Fitness 3-in-1 Kettlebell, which gives you five-, eight-, and 12-pound options. It also comes with Gin Miller's Swing Yourself Fit DVD, which features three different workouts that will change your body. Kettlebells will not only tone you from head-to-toe, they are also a fun way to bust fitness boredom.
Remember the good ol' days when all your friends had their birthday parties at the skating rink, and you spent hours racing around the floor? Recapture the fun by grabbing a pair of quads or inline skates and hitting the pavement. You'll love the feel of the wind in your hair, and you'll be psyched to know that the average 150-pound woman burns roughly 450 calories during an hour of skating.
Trampoline gyms like Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park are popping up all across the country. That's because jumping on a trampoline is excellent exercise — and it's just plain fun.
If you don't have a trampoline gym in your area, create your own jumping workout using a home trampoline. Representatives from Springfree Trampoline suggest performing a total-body strengthening workout incorporating straight jumps, seat drops, pike jumps, hands-and-knees drops and jumping jacks. A 20-minute routine will leave you feeling both exhilarated and worn out.
Hula hooping requires balance, coordination and core strength; plus, the constant movement boosts the heart rate for an effective cardio workout. Pick up a weighted hula hoop and hooping video to get moving.
Dancing is a great way to exercise while having a blast, and the best part is that you can do it anywhere there's music. Simply turn up your stereo and create your own routine to your favorite playlist.
If you need a little help to get your hips swaying, take a Zumba, hip-hop or barre ballet class at a recreation center. Leigh-Ann Plac, P.T., D.P.T. at The Hospital for Special Surgery's Rehabilitation and Performance Center points out that Zumba's incorporation of a wide variety of dance styles requires whole-body movements that help develop coordination, power, balance and aerobic fitness. Likewise, she notes that barre ballet helps boost balance, flexibility, core stability and strength using body weight resistance. Plus, you can do it practically anywhere.
Suspension training using a TRX or Jungle Gym XT trainer can help you gain excellent full-body balance and strength wherever you are. These easily transportable devices engage large and small muscle groups while you perform pushups, squats, lunges and other body-weight exercises.
Practically anyone can take part in and benefit from water-based fitness activities such as water aerobics, water jogging and lap swimming. You'll love the weightless feeling of water exercise, and you'll be amazed at how your body can move when it isn't constrained by gravity. Try classes like aqua Zumba, Ai Chi and aquatic group cycling for a break from the usual water exercise routine.
Yoga has been around for thousands of years, and its following continues to grow because of the fun challenge that it presents. Yoga instructor Maria Fratus says, "Yoga has amazing effects on the mind and body, and you can't ignore the fact that participants get into positions their bodies have not seen since the fifth grade: handstands, wheels, down dogs! Now that's fun!"
Outdoor cycling and alternatives
Indoor spinning classes can be fun, but nothing beats the thrill of a real ride. Pick up a bike and hit the roads and trails for a consistently fun challenge.
If you shy away from cycling because you can't stand the butt burn, check out a few of the new outdoor cycling alternatives such as the Trikke and the ElliptiGO. The Trikke engages your legs and core as you power the three-wheeled standing cycle around town, while the Elliptigo functions as an outdoor elliptical machine, allowing you to run on wheels!
Sure, you could grab a jump rope and get a great cardio workout by yourself, but nothing will get you huffing and puffing faster than the full-out Punk Rope fitness class. The great thing is you'll be having so much fun that you won't care how hard you're working. Find a class near you by scoping out the Punk Rope website.
More for the new year