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Exercise Ideas for the Real World

Aug 24, 2008
You want to get into better shape, but joining a gym is just not for you. You've walked on the treadmill in front of the television, but it left you flat. You need something that will have you excited and looking forward to exercise. You need to play.

Playing with your exercise routine will make it much more exciting. Make a list of five or six physical activities you enjoy. Decide on at least three to start doing regularly and get the equipment for the other two or three together in the next few weeks. Consider activities such as riding a bike, taking a morning or evening walk, playing a game of basketball or tennis at the local park, or swimming.

- Take into account the facilities and people around you. Swimming would be great if you have a local pool. Basketball will work if the park by your house has basketball hoops. Tennis is an option with tennis courts and bike riding is an option if there is a safe place to ride. Some of these require a friend or partner. Finding a friend who also wants to get into shape shouldn't be to hard. There are lots of us out there. If there are no facilities nearby, consider buying one of those outdoor basketball hoops or a cheap volleyball net and ball.

- Plan to play. There are things you do every day because they need to be done. I'm hoping you brush your teeth, take a shower, and get dressed. Making time for these things is not negotiable. Apply that same level of discipline to your workout schedule. This is time for you, make it fit.

If you need to plan to include your children, then get a jogging stroller for those walks or a bike trailer for that bicycle. You can even bring a bucket of sidewalk chalk to the basketball court for the children's entertainment while you play. If children are not your speed bump then figure out what is and then figure out how to make it work. It won't happen on its own, you need to make a plan and then make it happen.

- Play with your plan. While it may be easier to do the same activity every day, you'll add a level of excitement if you vary your routine between a few enjoyable activities. Go swimming once a week, ride your bike once or twice, and then have a friend meet you at the park for a basketball game the fourth evening. You'll feel so much better both physically and mentally.

- Now, play with your work. If you have tasks that you have to do regularly such as cutting the grass, put that on your list of activities. You may not consider it play, but you should definitely consider it exercise... unless you are using a riding lawn mower.

If you enjoy gardening, then figure out which gardening activity would count as exercise and add it into your schedule. If, on the other hand, you are spending an hour or two at the ball field while your child practices, next time bring your walking shoes, or your bicycle, or your tennis racket. Use that time to your benefit; you were going to be there anyway.

Keeping your exercise routine interesting and fresh will help you enjoy it. Whenever your interest starts to lag, change out one activity for another. When your schedule gets particularly tight, figure out what activities will allow you to achieve your goal to get moving. Even if the pounds are slow to come off, you will be doing your body a world of good.
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