For me, the word “exercise” always has the connotation of something that I should force myself to do. Just the sight of the local gym makes me admire all those iron-willed people inside who force their bodies to work while watching TV or listening to music—and at the same time, it makes me shudder inwardly to think that maybe I should do it, too. Maybe it’s just stubbornness or lack of willpower, but whatever the reason, exercise for the sake of exercise drives me up the wall. If you’re like me, here are some ideas to burn calories…without even realizing it. Weight loss has never been so much fun!
1. Take a class.
If dance isn’t your thing (and you might not realize it’s your thing until you’ve checked out a few classes), then maybe martial arts is. Of the martial arts I’ve tried, I really recommend Aikido. You will learn how to take falls, how to roll like in Jackie Chan movies, and of course, how to end up with your opponent face-down on the mat in 30 seconds. What more could you ask for? (Oh yeah—did I mention it’s a whole body workout?)
2. Take a hike.
No offense intended! It’s just an option you may not have considered if you live in an urban area. But exploring the urban jungle can be just as fun (and can burn calories just as much) as a long trek through the woods. Pick a landmark and see how long it takes you to get there. Take a backpack and head to the grocery store. If you have to take the car, park a mile away from your destination and walk! Accessories that double the fun: a friend, a dog, or your mp3 player.
Note #1: Do urban exploration in broad daylight to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Note #2: Do NOT buy a dog so you will get your exercise— a pet is a serious long-term commitment of time, energy, attention, love and money, not a weight loss gadget.
3. Make life harder for yourself.
That’s right. It’s not a typo. The simplest and best way to exercise by accident is to live an active lifestyle. Consider riding a bike to grocery shop or to work. Always take the stairs. If you usually pay neighborhood kids to mow the lawn, rake the leaves, or shovel snow, do it yourself and laugh at the people paying for gym memberships! Use a basket instead of a cart at the grocery store. Park at the far end of the parking lot and carry your groceries.
It may seem just plain dumb to purposefully make life harder for yourself, but there’s something very seriously wrong with making life SO easy, that we die of bad health! Just a few generations ago, people chopped wood, walked miles, washed clothes by hand, and tilled home gardens. There were also no retirement homes for bedridden sick geriatrics. In general, people were active until much later in their lives and weight loss was not such a big deal…it’s no accident!
Laughter is often called the “internal exercise” for good reason. No wonder your stomach hurts from laughing really hard! According to experts, healthy people laugh from 100 to 400 times a day. And not only does it burn calories, it’s good for your mental health, too. So if you absolutely have to watch TV, at least watch something funny. Or read! Or simply take advantage of every opportunity Life offers to really let loose and howl with laughter. Giggle, cackle, hoot, or snort like Erkel—now, THAT’s what I call exercise.
About the author: Varsha Aditya is a writer for the popular calorie counter website CaloriesAndMore.com which promotes healthy and sustainable weight loss without all the impossible rules of fad diets. Find more articles like this one here, and see how CaloriesAndMore.com’s huge database of foods and activities can make calorie counting a breeze.