Fun Exercises: 9 Ways To Get Moving Beyond the Gym

It’s not news that exercising is an essential and healthy activity for humans.

Moving your body throughout the week is not just about losing weight and looking good, either. Exercising builds strength, supports mental functioning, boosts energy, reduces stress, prevents health problems, promotes better sleep, and much more.

But often, people find it hard to get to the gym or become bored with running on the treadmill daily. Fortunately, there are hundreds of ways to exercise outside the treadmill, weights, and intimidating machines.

And remember, some exercise is better than none. So keep reading to find fun exercises that you can add to your daily or weekly routine and get moving!

Why Is Exercise Important?

We’ve all heard that exercising is important for our health, but what does that mean?

For one, exercise supports our cardiovascular system by helping to prevent heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.

It also helps to improve our lung function and can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Exercise also benefits mental health by reducing anxiety and depression, improving mood and cognitive function, and even staving off Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

In short, exercise is important for our overall physical and mental health and well-being.

So how much exercise do we need to reap these benefits? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that people should get at around 150 minutes of moderately intense aerobic activity. 

You could also do 75 minutes of intense exercise per week. This works out to about 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week.

How To Make Exercising Fun

If reading about how important exercising is has started to feel intimidating — don’t worry. Working out does not have to be a drag.

No matter how physically active you currently are, there might be something you already enjoy doing that involves moving your body. The key to getting more exercise may be as simple as carving out more time in your week to do that.

In this way, getting more exercise can be an enjoyable way to break up your week, as opposed to a chore or something you have to force yourself to do.

9 Fun Exercises

So if you’re looking for fun ways to get in your exercise, here are some great ideas.

1. Dance Classes

Dance classes offer a fun and engaging way to exercise while also learning a new skill.

There are all kinds of dance styles to choose from, including but not limited to:

  • Hip-Hop
  • Jazz
  • Ballroom
  • Salsa
  • Belly Dancing
  • Breakdancing
  • Contemporary
  • etc.

Most dance studios offer classes for beginner dancers, so you don’t have to worry if you’re not a pro. Even if you’ve never tried dancing a day in your life, you can sign up for a beginner’s class and follow along.

So even if you don’t hit all the steps or look exceptional, you’ll likely break a sweat and have fun doing it.

If you don’t want to move in front of people, you can just dance by yourself in the privacy of your own home. Set a timer for 30 minutes, put on your favorite upbeat playlist, and bust a move.

2. Kayaking

Kayaking is a fun water activity that gets you moving and can be done solo or with a group. Most kayaks seat one to two people, so you can go out alone or with a friend.

Kayaking is also an engaging way to enjoy the outdoors, whether on a lake, river, or the ocean.

Just be sure to research the area you’ll be kayaking in ahead of time and take the necessary safety precautions, such as bringing a life jacket.

3. Hiking

Another outdoor activity that can make you break a sweat is hiking. Hiking is an ideal exercise for those living in an area with many hiking trails.

Hiking is a fun way to explore nature and get some fresh air. And like kayaking, it can be done solo or in a group setting.

Depending on the trail you choose, there are varying intensity levels when it comes to hiking. You can opt for a shallow trail with little elevation if you want a more leisurely experience.

Or, if you want a tougher workout, steeper trails with more inclines will get your heart rate up.

4. Swimming

Swimming is another fun activity that doubles as a great workout. It’s a low-impact exercise, which means it’s easy on your joints, making it a good option for those with joint pain or other limitations.

Swimming is also a great way to cool off on a hot day. And like some of the other physical activities on this list, you can swim alone or choose to do it with friends to make it even more enjoyable.

If you don’t know how to swim, there are plenty of beginner classes that can help you get started.

In terms of location, you have various options depending on where you live and what you have access to. If you live near a beach or a lake, then you can enjoy nature and completely forget that you’re working out while you swim.

Otherwise, joining a community pool, visiting a recreation center, or installing a pool in your backyard are all good options.

5. Jump Roping

If you don’t live near nature, hate dancing, and don’t know how to swim, you might feel like this list isn’t for you. But what about jump roping?

Jump roping is a fun activity that’s highly portable, making it a great option for those who want to work out at home. You can do it in your room, outside, or almost anywhere — as long as you have enough space for the jump romp to not hit something as it swings in the air.

Jump roping is a great exercise for cardiovascular health because it increases your heart rate, and you can do it for long periods.

You can also mix things up when jump roping by trying different jump roping tricks or even Double Dutch, which is jump roping with two ropes instead of one.

6. Rollerblading or Roller Skating

If you’d like to relive your childhood while getting a great workout, consider rollerblading or roller skating. 

These activities are fun and relatively easy to learn. You can rollerblade or rollerskate in a park, on a boardwalk, or even in your neighborhood.

Rollerblading and rollerskating are great cardio workouts and can help tone your legs and core. And like jump roping, they’re also portable, so you can do them almost anywhere.

Suppose you don’t know how to rollerblade or rollerskate; you may be able to find beginner classes in your town. Otherwise, there are also tutorials available online.

7. Cycling

Cycling is another fun activity that you can do alone, with a few friends, or even in a large cycling group. Riding bikes is a lovely way to explore your city or town, and it’s also a great workout.

If you want more of a cycling challenge, you can even take your bike out on some off-road trails. Just be sure to invest in a good quality mountain bike and the necessary safety gear, like a helmet and

Cycling is a great cardio workout, helping tone your legs and butt. And if you cycle outdoors, you may see your mental health improve greatly. You’re getting the benefit of sun and nature exposure combined with the benefit of breaking a sweat.

Join a cycling group, and you can get the benefits of an expanded social life as well.

8. Team Sports

Many people play team sports in childhood and early adulthood, then stop because they don’t have plans to take it into college or become professional.

But team sports aren’t just about making it into a national league. They are great fun and can be an excellent, consistent way to stay active. They also offer great mental health benefits, like social interaction, stress relief, and a sense of accomplishment.

There are group sports available for all interests, including:

  • Kickball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Rugby
  • Lacrosse
  • Field hockey
  • Volleyball
  • Tennis
  • Badminton

You can find a club sport in your community with like-minded or age-appropriate individuals. They’ll have weekly meetups to play the sport and, often, have plans to hang out at a bar or restaurant afterward.

9. Rock Climbing

If you’re looking to go beyond just cardio exercise but exercises that focus on arms, legs, and core strength, rock climbing is the perfect fun option for you. 

Rock climbing is an excellent full-body exercise that tones and strengthens various muscle groups.

Plus, you can push yourself to climb higher and more challenging courses as you improve, which is a way to exercise your mental strength, endurance, and persistence.

You can rock climb outside if you live near some good trails or courses. Or many cities have indoor rock climbing gyms that are perfect for those hot summer or cold winter days when you would prefer to be inside.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a myriad of fun exercises you can partake in. For some of them, you might even forget you’re working out while you’re doing them.

The key is to take a physical activity you already like doing – or are already interested in trying – and make plans to do it consistently each week.

So take your pick, get moving, and have fun!