Tips for taking the “work” out of working out

By in Sports & Health

Exercise isn’t always easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be excruciating either. If you struggle with staying active, fear not! Try these fitness tips for people who truly hate to exercise.

The simplest thing to do is to incorporate more activity into your daily routine. If the weather permits, walking or biking to school is a good option — although it’s sometimes unrealistic with our Canadian winters. Rather than taking the elevator, climb a couple flights of stairs. Meet a friend for a walking date rather than a coffee. I know these things seem really basic, but they really can make a difference!

If you’re buried in homework — and who isn’t at this time of year? — try scheduling active study breaks. Set a timer for 20-minute intervals and get up and move! I like to do sets of 20 squats, push-ups and crunches to get my blood flowing and to break up the monotony of schoolwork.Fitness Haterz

Exercise can be used as an excuse to socialize, especially if you feel like your friendships are more important than your fitness. Make a gym date with a friend or sign up for a class together. Having a workout buddy can help hold you accountable while also making the time pass more quickly.

There are a number of different apps that are designed to help reluctant users become more active. Fitocracy incorporates elements of video gaming into its interface. Players log their daily exercise and are given points in return, allowing them to level up and go on quests. There is also a social network that connects users to one another, much like a massive multiplayer online game.

Beeminder is an app that literally makes you pay for skipping a workout. Users set certain goals, and log their progress. As long as you meet your goals, the app is free. If you go off track, however, you’re charged money for your error. Beeminder forces you to put your money where your muscle is — or isn’t!

If you hate traditional forms of exercise such as running, biking or swimming, don’t be afraid to break away from conventional thinking! Explore an alternative activity that you can actually get excited about, whether it’s roller derby, inner-tube water polo or even Quidditch.

I don’t know about you, but I love to dance. Sometimes all you need to do is crank up some Beyoncé and shake that bootylicious body of yours around the living room. Or, you know, actually go out to a club or something. Both are good options, but my living room is definitely my favorite place to bust a move.

Music isn’t for everyone, and podcasts make a great alternative listening option while working out. There’s a podcast for every interest, so you’re bound to find something intriguing. Soon you might find yourself so involved in Serial that you start looking for excuses to exercise, just so you can keep listening!

If you’re all out of ideas, the imagination can be a powerful thing. Bored with running on the treadmill? Pretend that you’re running away from zombies! Hate lifting weights? Maybe you’re training for the Hunger Games. Personally, I like to do cardio kickboxing while pretending that I’m Buffy the Vampire Slayer, getting ready to kick some vampire butt.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of exercise alternatives, but it’s a good place to start. Fitness isn’t supposed to be a race, despite the fact that running may be involved. All that matters is finding ways to stay healthy, happy and active without sacrificing your enjoyment.

Image: Jeremy Britz / Graphics Editor