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8 Unconventional Ways to Stay Active

So, traditional gym workouts aren’t your thing. Honestly, we get it. Gym workouts can be mind-numbingly boring at times. Barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell—there’s only so many “bells” we can lift before it all starts feeling a little monotonous. There’s also the gym environment itself, which is more often than not filled with wannabe Olympians who take themselves way too seriously (and who don’t seem to know anything about proper sweatiquette).

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay active which don’t involve lifting any heavy metal or making awkward eye contact in the mirror with your fellow gym-goers. If you’re feeling skeptical, just check out this list of unconventional ways to stay active. Warning: You might just start looking forward to exercising again.

  • Play in a Rec League—For many of us, sports were our first introduction to physical fitness. Sports were fun, exciting and, most importantly, not anything resembling a boring treadmill workout. Who says you need to give that up during adulthood? Round up your buddies and play in a recreational league for fun. Not only will you work up a killer sweat, being on a team will help keep you accountable. Plus, you get the opportunity to name your team something silly, like “Agony of de Feet” or “Game of Throws.”
  • Go Rock Climbing—Before you swear off gyms altogether, check out your local rock climbing gym. Instead of a musty-smelling gym filled with the sounds of heavy grunts and clanging weights, you’ll hear—well, to be fair, you probably still will hear a good bit of grunting. Have you ever tried rock climbing? It’s an insane full body workout that few other types of exercises can rival. You’re pretty much guaranteed to work up a sweat, so be sure to pack your travel cologne bottle in your gym bag, or dopp kit for any man’s grooming needs, to keep yourself smelling fresh all day. Sign up for a belay certification course (a must before you can even touch a climbing wall) and discover the fun for yourself.
  • Get Fit with Fido—You know who is always down for exercise? Your dog. Even the most couch potatoey of breeds (looking at you, basset hounds) appreciate a good walk. If walking around the neighborhood is too boring for you, take Fido for hikes on the weekend. You can hit the trails together, take in some breathtaking scenery and enjoy a relaxing day in nature with your pup.
  • Suggest Walking Meetings—Look, we get it. You’re busy. We’re all busy. To stay active with a typical 9-5, you may need to get a little creative. Why not suggest a walking meeting? Take that boring, sit-down meeting outside (it probably could have been an email, anyway) and enjoy the fresh air while brainstorming with your team. Research shows that walking can boost creativity in real time, which may lead to some out-of-the-box ideas. The only real downside is the unpredictable weather. If it’s a particularly windy day, you’ll definitely need some high-quality hair putty to keep your locks in place. And don’t forget your sunscreen!
  • Take Up Geocaching—Do you enjoy searching for hidden treasure? Do you love exploring a side of nature you’ve never seen before? If you said yes to both, then geocaching might be for you. With this activity, you use a Global Positioning System (GPS) device to find containers (called geocaches) filled with trinkets (think: keychains and cool toys). Not only is geocaching a fun and interesting hobby, it’s a great excuse to get outside and explore places you’ve never been before. Plus, it’s a family-friendly activity. If you need to make exercise double as family time, geocaching is the ultimate way to do exactly that.
  • Try an Arcade-Style Workout—Step one: Go to your favorite arcade with your nephew. Step two: Locate the dance arcade game. Step three: Burn a ridiculous number of calories while simultaneously being the coolest uncle ever. Or you could just hit up one of the new arcade-style gyms that are popping up in major cities. Arcade-style gyms have virtual reality bikes, dance games and other electronic games to help you forget that you’re working out. Hey, it beats staying at home and playing video games in your PJs.
  • Go Bowling—Surprisingly, bowling can burn a decent number of calories. According to MyFitnessPal, a person weighing 150 pounds can burn just over 200 calories per hour bowling. Of course, there is one major downside to bowling. It’s one of the few sports you can do while eating and drinking. If you can resist the urge to order a plate of nachos or curly fries, then go for it. Otherwise, you may be better off throwing strikes with Wii Sports Bowling instead.
  • Clean Up—Before you immediately poo-poo this one, hear us out: Cleaning your house can be both a killer workout and an amazing mood booster. Have you ever blasted your favorite tunes while tidying up the place? It’s surprisingly fun and relaxing. Sure, it might be a little embarrassing if you’re caught rocking out to T-Swift while air-strumming a mop, but that’s why you close your blinds before you start cleaning. As an added bonus, your mom will no longer cringe at the state of your house whenever she comes to visit. It’s a win-win!

Experimenting Is Key

Regular gym workouts aren’t for everyone. If lifting weights and running on a treadmill just isn’t your thing, consider trying one of these unique activities on for size. Better yet, challenge yourself to try a new activity each month. Experimenting with new activities will help you find the ones that “click,” which is key to staying fit for the long-term.


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