Are you bored of toiling away on a rowing machine? Or fed up with the monotonous sound of a treadmill? If so, these seven fun activities can burn fat without you even realising.
We all know exercising is good for us. Aside from burning calories and helping us lose weight, cardiovascular exercise releases “feel good” endorphins and provides a host of other benefits. These include reducing anxiety and lowering the risk of heart disease.
That doesn’t mean a gruelling workout is fun at the time though! The fact that spending 30 minutes on an indoor bike might help avoid heart disease at some point in the future is often outweighed by the boredom of cardio.
The good news is that there are fun ways to gain many of the benefits of exercising without entering a gym. So, if you can’t face another spin class or HIIT sprint workout, it’s probably a good time to mix up your routine.
The activities below won’t burn as much fat as a high-intensity gym workout, but they can help you live a healthier lifestyle without “feeling” like you’re exercising.
A Quick Disclaimer
If you want to lose weight, you can’t ignore your diet. It’s possible to burn 500 calories during a tough spinning class and still put on weight if you go home and eat a 1000 calorie snack. Unfortunately, many people use a small amount of exercise as an excuse to eat a large amount of food.
With this in mind, make sure you have a solid diet plan that allows you to lose weight while staying healthy. Exercise can burn extra calories and improve your health, but it’s not enough to lose weight on its own.
It’s also vital that you stop thinking of exercise as a chore. This is completely normal – especially if your idea of a cardio workout is running for an hour on a treadmill. But once you realise that exercise can be any activity that raises your heart rate, it becomes much easier to find a way to burn calories that’s also fun.
If you enjoy gardening, you’ll be pleased to know that even basic tasks can help you lose weight. Digging, squatting, pushing and lifting all burn calories – and you are performing these movements all the time when gardening.
Gardening also gets you outside and a way from a desk. This can improve your mental health and top up your body’s vitamin D supplies.
If the idea of exercising for the sake of it sounds boring, try organising a group hike with friends. This is a great way to bond with loved ones while taking in beautiful landscapes – and burning calories at the same time.
If you want to take this a step further, hiking holidays are brilliant for exercising while having fun. Spending a few days with nature can also do wonders for your state of mind.
3. Rock Climbing
This activity is a bit more strenuous – but it’s much more mentally engaging than running on a treadmill.
Aside from being an excellent cardiovascular workout, climbing gives your back, arms and forearms an intense strength-building workout.
4. Cycle to Work
Cycling to work is a great way to lose weight without really trying. It’s amazing how many calories even a short route can burn when you’re doing it twice a day.
It’s important to stay safe when cycling on roads though. If you don’t feel confident, a basic road safety course can make a world of difference.
Note: If you’re in the UK, there are cycle to work schemes that offset the cost of buying a road bike.
Yoga provides multiple benefits, so it’s worth including at least one session per week in your routine.
Aside from improving your flexibility and helping you relax, yoga can also burn calories – at least compared to watching Netflix. There are also many different types of yoga depending on your exercise goals (Yoga Burn is a good example of a weight loss focused yoga class).
6. Martial Arts
We mentioned Taekwondo in our article about types of exercise that burn more calories than running – but the truth is any martial art is great for losing weight. The group environment and focus on form takes the emphasis away from exercising – plus knowing a martial art can improve your confidence.
It’s a good idea to try different types of martial arts before committing to one. There are plenty of options, such as Taekwondo, Kung Fu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so look for one that matches your goals and personality.
7. Take a Dance Class
Professional dancers might look graceful, but any type of dancing requires a lot of strength and cardiovascular endurance. For this reason, taking a dance class can be a fun way to learn a new skill while burning calories.
Like martial arts, there are many types of dancing you could try. Swing dancing is a great choice for losing weight, but exercise-focused classes such as Zumbo can also be a great way to burn calories while having fun.
The Bottom Line: There’s No Excuse to Not Exercise
If you’re the type of person who forces themselves to do cardio, you’re not alone. Some people have a natural ability to push through a gruelling treadmill workout, but most of us struggle to exercise like this on a consistent basis.
That’s not an excuse to avoid exercise though. There are plenty of ways to burn calories and live a healthy lifestyle that don’t require a gym.
The most important thing is to find activities that you enjoy. Even if they don’t burn the most calories per hour, you’re more likely to stick with them in the long run.
So, if you’re already dreading tomorrow’s run, or you can’t face another spin class, try one of the alternatives in this article. There’s nothing better than finding an activity you enjoy that has the added benefit of improving your health!
Have you tried any of the activities in this article as part of your weight loss plan? Or have we missed your favourite activity? Let us know in the comments below!