So, you’re ready to transform your life, get off the couch and start an exercise routine. Haven’t we been here before?
Most of us are familiar with the old on-and-off again fitness cycle. You wake up excited to start your new regime, you spend a bunch of money on athleisure and gym memberships, then you push yourself too hard and wake up too sore to sit down for the next three days.
Maybe you stick with the program for a few weeks or even a few months, but come next holiday season, you’re making a new year’s resolution to get serious about your health and fitness all over again.
This year is the year you break the cycle by incorporating low-impact, high-enjoyment exercises into your everyday life. Whether you’re looking to get outside the house or stay indoors while you sweat, are ready to gear up or want to make do with what you’ve got around the house, these seven exercise options are so fun and efficient, you’ll actually be excited to come back.
Quite possibly the easiest and most accessible form of exercise, a nice walk in the great outdoors not only gets your blood pumping, it refreshes your mind and mood. A walk in the park (or down a popular market street, for city dwellers) gets you out of the office and off the couch, and one mile walked burns an average of 100 calories in about 20 minutes. Pair your stroll with an audiobook or podcast, and make it a part of the day you can look forward to. A smart pedometer watch helps you compare your steps to friends and family, which encourages you to go just that much further. Ready to step it up? Find a moderate to hard hike near you on Alltrails and discover something beautiful and challenging in your own backyard. You’ll be making hikes a part of your regular travel itinerary before you know it!
More of an at-home workout type? While mountain climbing isn’t what we’d call “low impact,” the CLMBR machine offers a full-body workout experience that won’t trigger injuries and in fact could help alleviate back and joint pain. Pairing resistance training with cardio, CLMBR boasts on-demand virtual classes ranging from 15 to 45 minutes, though you can burn up to 670 calories in 30. It’s adjustable design is suitable for any body type, experience level and age range, and it runs rather quietly, too. The machine helps you track your progress, and vertical climbing has long-lasting effects way after your session, helping you burn even more fat and calories for the hours to come while you benefit from higher blood-oxygen levels.
Less of a land lover and more of a sea captain? Paddle boarding and kayaking are two great ways to spend a day floating toward your fitness goals. Kayaking burns about 283 calories an hour, and paddle boarding can burn around 300 to 400 calories an hour on calm waters! Both methods offer a front-row seat to wildlife, albeit from a safe vantage point. Explore local rivers, lakes and other waterways, and catch a tan while doing it. Beyond burning calories, these water sports help tone your muscles, strengthen your core, improve focus and improve your cardiac health. Most importantly, it won’t feel like you’re exercising. It’ll just feel like an afternoon well spent.
Have a pool handy? Get some laps in! Swimming offers one of the best full-body workouts with the lowest impact possible. Tone your muscles and have some fun splashing about. This summertime favorite is a great way to keep toned and build endurance while improving your cardiovascular fitness. The weightlessness of being in the water keeps swimming soft on your joints and helps lengthen your spine. It can even improve your posture. Active lap swimming burns, on average, 250 calories per 30-minute session.
See also: 5 Must-Follow Fitness Influencers
Another great indoor activity, yoga is the art of strength training, stretching and breath control combined. Though it originated in ancient India, yoga has become one of the most practiced wellness and spiritual activities around the world. There are many schools of practice. You can use yoga to warm up your body in the morning or wind down at the end of the day; to stretch your achy muscles or get a sweat-inducing workout. You don’t need much in the way of fancy equipment, just a mat and a positive intention. While there’s certainly a few yoga studios in your area, there are also plenty of YouTube yoga courses to get you started. Yoga With Adriene is an especially-popular channel. Her 30-days of yoga series each January offer the perfect motivation to help you build your practice and stick with it.
Dancing is the definition of exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. You’re so busy getting down to the groove, you don’t realize you’re burning an average of 9.5 calories per minute. That’s 285 calories in one 30-minute session, not to mention how many calories you burn during a night at the club. Dance workouts help build coordination, confidence and lean muscle mass. Zumba is the wildly-popular dance workout program with classes offered in many gyms across the country, and you can find hours of dance fitness programs on YouTube that cater to all manner of genres, styles and techniques. From hip-hop to Latin, pop, modern and more, why not dance your way to a fitter, happier you?
View this post on Instagram
Mix a bit of nostalgia with your aerobic workout and get down with Retrosweat Home Video! This Australian-based fitness collective brings the colorful VHS exercise tapes of the ‘80s back to life with online pay-per-view classes. Scrunch your socks and pump your hips with Shannon’s Classic Burn, Hits of the '80s with Kristina, One Hit Wonders with Elouise and more. Retrosweat even offers its own neon yoga classes and funky fitness accessories, so you can get the look and fit the theme. Want a taste of what’s in store? Check the Retrosweat Instagram for some fit-inspiration. You’ll want to come back to class just to see what everyone’s wearing.
Photography by: Sarah Cervantes / Unsplash; Jon Flobrant / Unsplash; Nick Fewings / Unsplash; Courtesy of CLMBR; Serena Repice Lentini / Unsplash; Olivia Bauso / Unsplash; Anastasia Hisel / Unsplash