50 Ways to Turn “Train Time” into “Play Time”

Burn excess fat, build lean muscle, and get that heart rate pumping without even feeling¬†like you put forth the effort. These enjoyable (and shockingly effective!) physical activities take the “work” out of “working out.” No heavy lifting…it’s all fun and games over here!!!


 1. jumping rope

2. paddle-boarding

3. pole dancing

4. kayaking

kayaking

5. gardening

6. playing Wii Sports

7. hula hooping

8. rock climbing

9. ice skating

ice skating

10. fencing

11. strolling the beach

12. roller blading

13. kickboxing

14. geocaching

treasure hunting

15. doing aerial yoga

16. putt-putt golfing

17. playing beach volleyball

18. bowling

bowling

19. playing D.D.R.

20. walking the dog

21. spinning

22. acting out charades

23. swimming

swimming

24. shooting hoops

25. relay racing

26. doing obstacle courses

27. playing tennis

28. primal moving

primal moving

29. housecleaning

30. trampolining

31. horseback riding

32. shopping

33. cross-country skiing

jumping in the snow

34. hiking

35. playing laser tag

36. volunteering

37. bicycling

bicycling

38. painting the house

39. scuba diving

40. body-surfing

41. building a tree fort

42. dancing

dancing

43. throwing darts

44. swinging

45. mowing the lawn

46. banging on drums

drumming

47. washing the car

48. stretching

49. doing martial arts

50. skipping


So, yeah…staying in shape can be MUCH easier than you realized. Capiche?!

15 Reasons to Get Active in the Great Outdoors

In recognition of today as summer’s official start-date, say hello to the limitless playground that is Mother Nature!

Go on, get out there…here’s why you should:


1. Increased exposure to fresh air allows the respiratory, cardiovascular, and circulatory systems to function at their optimum.

2. Being surrounded by nature – particularly plant life – has been proven to reduce anxiety, stress, and clinical depression.

3. Healing powers in both the ground and atmosphere build immunity toward chronic illnesses, such as cancer or diabetes.

4. Regular doses of natural sunlight boost the body’s production of Vitamin D, which supports¬†bone growth and density.

5. The green pigmentation found in leafy foliage stimulates energy, elevates the mood, and sparks a burst of creativity.

6. Both holistic medicine and modern science show that walking barefoot on grass fights insomnia, leading to peaceful sleep.

7. Nature’s abundance of sensory stimuli improves concentration, memory, alertness¬†and other cognitive functions.

8. The average person is more likely to exercise outside than at a gym, so even 10 minutes in the backyard triggers movement.

9. Exploring the wonders of this planet promotes adventure and taking chances, which is vital for personal development.

10. Unplugging from technology and greeting the new day improves eyesight, since staring at LCD screens strains the pupils.

11. Even a stroll around the block is ideal for stretching tight muscles and lubricating stiff joints – especially those knees.

12. Any amount of time spent engaging in recreational activities or relaxing outdoors naturally heightens self-esteem.

13. The simple act of leaving those 4 walls behind encourages face-to-face human interaction, connection, and community.

14. A daily retreat from urban pollution – in a park or by a lake, for instance – boosts the body’s white blood cell count by 50%.

15. Another reason to go barefoot outside, walking on earthy, rough terrain activates reflex points that ease physical tension.

Take the “10,000 Steps a Day” Challenge

Remember all those mornings you faintly mused, “I should get up and go for a run. Uh huh. I’ll do that. Definitely.” (before rolling over and falling right back to sleep)?

Don’t lie…it’s happened. But, hey, no judgment! Running isn’t exactly everybody’s first – or second or third…or fourth – choice. And admitting that doesn’t mean you just committed a fitness felony. After all, exercise should be a feel-good activity, not an instrument of torture. So, even if you don’t have the makings of an Olympic sprinter, you’re not S.O.L. There is, in fact, another (and, I’m sure you’ll agree, less grueling) way to meet your daily cardio quota. And here’s the kicker: you already do it. Constantly. Without much effort.

I mean…you walk, right?

Thought so. Well, then how ’bout walking for a workout?

Yes, it’s a thing. You really can stay in shape by simply putting 1 foot in front of the other. We’re not talking a leisurely meander though. Nope, sorry (you still gotta MOVE, girl!). I’m referring to a purposeful, powerful, pump-those-legs-and-swing-those-arms kinda walk. Put some pep in that step,¬†okay?!

Alright. So, brisk pace. Now, let’s go even further. Allow me to introduce ¬†the – drumroll please! – “10,000 Steps a Day” challenge. Developed by the National Health Service, this incentive offers a virtually painless solution for those, who struggle with fitting exercise into their schedules. Simply lace up those sneakers and start walking from Point A to Point B.

But, just in case you’re skeptical that such a seemingly mundane activity counts toward a legit workout, let’s crunch some numbers. According to NHS, the average person takes 1,000 steps in 10 minutes…so, you do the math: walk for approximately 1-hour-40-minutes and viola! You’ve reached 10,000 steps. Make this a habitual routine and reap the rewards of increased stamina, heart health, limber joints, and energy to burn.

STILL not sold? Taking more steps throughout the day can be as minimal as following these suggestions:

1. Opt for the stairs instead of an elevator.

2. Park further away from the mall entrance than you typically would.

3. Forego driving and pound the pavement to work (if you live close enough).

4. Stroll through the park with a friend or significant other.

5. Leash up your dog and actually let him drag you, for a change.

6. Join a cause like the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk.

7. Grab your IPod and bebop along to some favorite tunes.

8. Feel the sand between your toes along the beach.

7. Invest in a pedometer, Apple Fitbit, or Nike FuelBand and make a game out of setting (then beating) personal walking records.

Challenge. Accepted.

My Top Picks for an “I Hate Working Out” Work-Out

You lack the motivation to tell your “Orange Is the New Black” addiction it’s time to explore other (more physical?) activities. The sheer notion of going for a jog or brushing the dust off those 5-pound weights just exhausts you. There are so many scribbles in your Lilly Pulitzer planner you don’t even have 10 spare minutes to sweat. You detest sports bras. And lycra…let’s not even touch that subject. (“No really! I’m doing a service for everybody else at the gym. No one wants to see these rolls!”). You’re notorious for making that same New Year’s Resolution every single January, then losing interest by mid-February.

In short, working out: not your thang.

Sound familiar?

Hey, you’re not alone. After all, exercise often gets a bad rap. It’s painful. It’s boring. It’s tiring. It’s daunting. It’s time consuming. It’s…blah, right? Well, at first it is. But here’s the good news: if you power through the sore muscles, fatigue, and recurring thoughts of “there are about a million other things I’d rather be doing,” you might just make a life-changing discovery. Exercise feels amazing! Invigorating. Empowering. Revitalizing. Suddenly you’ve got enough strength and stamina to run circles around the baddest bitch from “OITNB.” Hell. You’re the freakin’ Energizer Bunny!

But the fact remains that many of us still struggle with finding the willpower to push past temporary discomforts of physical exertion in order to reap long-term benefits. If that sounds suspiciously like the story of your life, then stand by. I’ve been busy scouring the web for some foolproof, fun, fast, and fairly simple work-outs that’ll make getting a sweat on easier than you ever imagined.

Anyone can learn to love the burn. Women, who never played a sport in their lives, can unleash inner-athletes when they dare to try. Those, who argue they just don’t have enough time, can find ways to make physical activity part of their daily routines.

And that means YOU too.

Yup, even you can get up and move (and enjoy it to boot!). Check out my recommendations below, choose the work-out regimen that best suits your lifestyle, and start pumping those muscles. Because, girlfriend, a healthy body is a sexy body!


For Cardio Training:

1. Go for a bike ride.¬†Intensity for your legs and relaxation for your mind, that’s the beauty of a 2-wheeler. Pick a scenic route to distract yourself from the continuous pedaling motion. Start at a leisurely pace for 30 minutes, then gradually increase to vigorous for 1 hour. So, to recap: fresh air, nature, and toned thighs. #Winning.

2. Play some DDR.¬†Movement doesn’t have to be conventional or even choreographed. It can be as simple¬†as jumping around your living room, courtesy of Dance Dance Revolution. Challenge yourself with the “Maniac” mode and see how long you can keep pace before getting booed off the stage. Never has sweating been so fun.

3. Take the plunge.¬†Swimming laps is one of the most effective full-body exercises like…ever. So, “beach babes” and “pool partiers,” take heart: your natural habitat can be part of your fitness plan. For someone of average endurance, a basic routine would include 2 breaststroke laps, 2 freestyles, 2 backstrokes, and 2 butterflies.


For Strength Training:

1. Jump Squat: This move targets both your upper and lower body. Follow these steps to execute a jump squat: (1) lace fingers behind head and stand with feet shoulder-width apart (2) bend knees slightly to gain momentum, then launch straight into the air (3) after landing, lower body down as far as you can with hips and glutes pushed back  (4) hold for 5 counts, then raise yourself back to a standing position (5) repeat 20 times. You should particularly feel the burn in your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes,

Image

(image courtesy of healthfulpage.com)

2. Bicycle Crunch: This move primarily targets your core. Follow these steps to execute a bicycle crunch: (1) lie flat with lower back pressed into the floor (2) lace fingers at the base of neck and contract abdominal muscles (3) raise legs to a 45-degree angle and bend knees (4) move legs in a circular motion as though pedaling a bike (5) lift upper body off the floor and twist from one side to the other, alternately touching one elbow to the opposite knee (6) repeat 30 times on each side. You should particularly feel the burn in your obliques.

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(image courtesy of sassyfitgirl.com)

3. Push-Up: This move primarily targets your upper body. Follow these steps to execute a push-up: (1) lower down to a plank position with hands facing forward and spread shoulder-width apart (2) flatten back and push glutes down, creating a straight slant along spine (3) clench glutes and tighten abdominal muscles (4) bend elbows and lower body down, while still maintaining a straight spine (5) hold this position for 2 counts, then raise back up into a plank (5) repeat 40 times. You should particularly feel the burn in your triceps, deltoids, and pectorals.

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(image courtesy of fitsugar.com)