All Women's Talk

7 Great Ways to Exercise without Feeling like You Are ...

By Melinda

I have to stay active. Just the same, I get incredibly bored. Blame the A.D.D. or blame my hormonal aging, but all women need a combination of cardio and strength training to keep them healthy, fit and youthful.So, I’ve compiled a list of activities to participate in – that will give you a great workout, without feeling as though you put forth much effort. Until you are sore tomorrow. Hey, don’t kill the messenger. Say it with me: Give up the dreadmill! Here are 7 great ways to exercise, without getting bored, or even feeling like you're exercising at all!

1 Kayaking or Canoeing

Kayaking or CanoeingPhoto Credit: pieceoflace

The first time I went kayaking, I knew my arms would be tired. What I didn’t expect was a leg and abs workout! By merely maintaining balance in the boat, you use these muscle groups. The arm and shoulders exercise is just an added bonus – resistance training at its best. Plus: you’re on the water, which is incredibly peaceful.

2 Roller Skating or Ice Skating

Roller Skating or Ice SkatingPhoto Credit: theladymargaret

Nobody is asking you to perform a Triple Salchow or to compete in roller derby (although I would highly recommend the latter!), but just an hour of skating will work your butt, legs and your lower back. Take into account that you are keeping balance on a set of skates, and you will engage both your core and upper body as well. Set your “workout” to disco music and an hour goes by quick. Why not try for two?

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3 Yoga

YogaPhoto Credit: BrittneyBush

We’ve all seen Madonna’s great arms and Gwyneth’s slender figure – they both swear by practicing yoga. And you need not contort yourself into crazy positions in order to reap its benefits. Just 20 minutes of a few basic yoga movements and sun salutations every day can be incredibly beneficial to your core, upper body and hip flexors. Added bonus: when you concentrate on breathing from your diaphragm, you will increase your capacity to maintain breath for further cardio training – a great benefit for marathon runners! Not to mention, yoga is a great way to keep your stress in check. Namaste!

4 Rock Climbing or Hiking

Rock Climbing or HikingPhoto Credit: strobist

Feel like you are climbing the walls, quite literally? Then go rock climbing. With the increasing popularity of indoor climbing gyms, there is no longer a fear of falling off a cliff (just maybe falling into a cushy pad). While you do a LOT of pulling – you will certainly realize your lack of upper body strength – you should do most of the work with your legs. In just a few walls, your body will be toast. Hiking is much the same as walking, but without the boredom. Since you are traversing toward an upward battle of the mountain and/or hill, you will work opposite muscles going down, keeping your muscular structure balanced.

5 Biking

BikingPhoto Credit: xgray

If you live within five miles of your office, you should be biking to work. No, seriously – you SHOULD be. That 20-minute commute is not only amazing for cardio exercise and controlling your weight (you can easily take care of that extra 15 in just half a year), it’s a positive consideration for the sake of the environment. While saving the planet from your car’s exhaust, your mind (and body) will be free from the stress of sitting in an endless rush hour. Trust me, once you have your regular route, it will no longer feel like a workout.

6 Swimming

SwimmingPhoto Credit: Stefan's Page

Swimming is a great no-impact exercise for those with knee or joint problems (so, no excuses!). Yet, because of the natural resistance of your body to the water, it is an amazing way to tone up quickly – without the bulkiness frequently acquired in female weight lifting. Whether you swim a couple laps at your local gym or venture outdoors, your body will thank you (even if you didn’t say please).

7 Ballet (or Dancing)

Ballet (or Dancing)Photo Credit: nikaa

Dancing is wonderful for strength and flexibility – which as women, we all lose as we age. Use it or lose it, right? Have you noticed how much you sweat when you go out for a night on the town? This is because you are doing cardio! You will reap the same benefit from salsa, hip-hop dancing or even doing a little polka. But with the increased core strength from ballet, we acquire balance and a certain grace with our every day movements. En pointe!

I like to think that writing about activities burns a few calories too! But I probably should move these doughnuts away from my desk. THOSE won’t help me get outdoors! How do you have fun while you stay in shape (by simply tricking your body into exercise)?

Top Photo Credit: Kiss the Bride

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