Exercise is important to good health, but doing the same activities over and over can become tedious, even for the most dedicated fitness enthusiast. The key to sticking with a fitness regime is to keep things fun. If you find yourself stuck in an exercise rut, consider these alternatives to get you in the mood for an enjoyable, invigorating workout.
When you were a kid, you likely had a great time swinging on the swings at the playground. You pumped your legs as the swing soared high into the air, and you probably had no idea you were getting a workout at the same time. Swinging not only brings out your inner child, but it is a great workout for the legs, hips and abdomen. Even your arms get a workout as they flex to keep your body in place while you swing back and forth. Do it, and see how many muscle groups you can get in on the act.
Jene Luciani of "Shape" magazine attests to the total bodybuilding power of a pole dancing workout. This relatively new fitness craze requires strength and endurance with the added panache of sex appeal that makes it an interesting alternative to boring fitness classes. Pole fitness allows you to build upper-body strength and tone your legs and abs as you climb and spin around the pole, combining the fluid movements of dance with yoga-like stretches and isometric contractions. Isometric exercises require your muscles to push against a solid object. In this case, the solid object is the pole, and dancing with it lets you work up a sweat and improve flexibility while having a few laughs.
If you've ever jumped on a trampoline, you know how much fun it is to bounce around feeling weightless and carefree. You may also notice it leaves you breathless after while. That's because jumping and running around on the trampoline is a great workout that works all of the major muscle groups in the lower body. Trampoline fitness classes are offered across the country, and trampolines are available for home use as well. You can perform fitness moves such as running in place and doing jumping jacks, or you can just jump freestyle.
Even if you end up sticking with a more basic fitness routine, rev up the fun factor by making a few simple tweaks. Instead of running around the track by yourself, meet up with some friends and have a relay race. Give your mood a boost with a new exercise soundtrack full of powerful, upbeat music that brings a smile to your face while you're cycling or in-line skating. Bring a friend along for a speed-walking session, and just enjoy one another's company while you get fit.
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