Alternative Activities to Help You Get Exercise!

My new favorite thing to do is finding ways to be active without having to think about it.  Sometimes going to the gym or hitting the pavement for a run is just too darn daunting.  It’s tough, especially if you just started trying to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight, which is exactly the decision I made two weeks ago.

With that decision came a flood of hope, desire and drive.  Then reality struck on day two and I realized getting myself moving isn’t going to be easy.  I am one of those people that hates working out when I first start an exercise program, but once it becomes a regular part of my routine I start to love and crave working out.

The issue is that I still have to get to that point of craving a workout.  Two weeks into trying to achieve my challenge I realized that I needed more ways to incorporate physical activity into my everyday life.  I was using excuses like:

  • I’m too tired.
  • I had a long day at work.
  • I’d rather spend time with friends socializing than alone working out.

That’s when I realized that I just have to start looking at my personal challenge to live healthier in a different way.  My main goals or mid-year resolution is to live healthier.  This includes the specific goals of:

  • Losing Weight: Going from 170 to at least 150 (unless muscle is developed then we have to adjust for muscle weight which I deem to be good weight).
  • Eat Healthier:  Less Pringle’s, chips, fried foods, candy, cookies and other junk.  I need to learn to cook healthier meals and how to snack healthier.
  • Exercise 5 days a week: From day one I have told myself to just cover the distance or time.  Go to the gym and hop on a stationary bike or go for a run.  I just want to get some exercise 5 days a week.
  • Hit 10,000 FitBit Steps on days that I do not work out. That way I know I have still helped myself to live healthier that day while also burning off calories.

The first two weeks of this challenge were rough.  I went to the gym just a handful of times and ran once.  Each time hitting the pavement alone wishing I was doing anything else.  My passion for achieving this goal was slowly diminishing as I continued to try and push myself harder. My Fitbit Flex rarely hit the 10,000 steps per day mark, but was coming close.  I just need to make sure I am actually getting to that level and crossing it.

Then my fiancé Blair had the great idea to go hiking.  A friend of ours had gone hiking the week before and mentioned that he goes regularly.  We started to wonder why we have only gone hiking a handful of times since moving to Los Angeles.

There was an easy enough solution. We decided two Sundays ago morning to hike Runyon Canyon instead of going to the gym or running.  Can I tell you that I just adored it.  The act of hiking that is.

The hike started out relatively easy.  I was excited because I not only was getting to hike and getting to talk with my fiancé as we hiked, but I also got to catch some sun on my pasty arms.  Within minutes of starting up the trail we were on I was feeling the burn, sweating and getting a good workout. To top it all off I realized that this was a great Sunday morning activity I could do with friends instead of going to an all you can drink mimosa brunch.  Definitely a healthier activity for everyone involved.

This got me thinking, how else can I change every day activities into physical activities to help support my healthy living lifestyle challenge?  For starters, instead of playing card games at our 4th of July picnic I got our entire group of friends off the picnic blanket and standing in the open grass at the park.  We all ran around the field playing freebie, ring toss, horseshoes, some sad attempts at cartwheels, round-offs and front-hand-springs, and even some tree climbing.

Yes, we might have been having some wine while we ran around the park, but you can’t deny we were getting much needed physical activity.  We changed what could have been a day sitting, drinking and eating in a stationary position into a day of physical activity that was fun for everyone involved!

My advice to you, if you are having troubles motivating yourself the first few weeks of a new workout plan is to try to find ways to include low-impact (or even high-impact) exercises into your everyday social activities.  When you have friends with you, you are definitely more likely to get out and moving.

Activities can include:

  • Hiking.
  • Signing up for a bike tour. They offer tours of most major cities on bike. It’s a great way to see parts of your home town you haven’t seen before while exercising on a bike.
  •  Go ice skating! I went last winter with my company for fun and had a blast. I felt the burn in my legs for a few days.
  • Go to Groupon and look for cheap discounts on things like sailing, kayaking or surfing.  In New York City you can kayak on the Hudson River for free. It’s a great cardio workout and you will have a ton of fun with your friends.

There are plenty of activities out there that will allow you to fold your daily exercise into a social activity therefore giving you further motivation to keep moving forward. The more you exercise, even in these social ways, the more your mind will get in line with your need to exercise.  You’ll start to crave it.  Don’t lose your determination, just because it’s hard the first few weeks to get yourself motivated and working out each day.