Health & Wellness: Have trouble sticking to an exercise plan? Make fitness fun!
If you’re struggling to stick to an exercise plan, you’re not alone. Some reports state that up to 90% of people who start an exercise program end up quitting after only a few months. Still, exercise is essential when it comes to physical health. Exercise can also improve your mental health. There’s no substitution.
Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys lifting weights or jogging on a treadmill. Repeatedly forcing yourself to do something you don’t like is difficult. Many people find that their willpower quickly diminishes, and they start making excuses for why they can’t exercise.
If you find yourself putting off exercise or making excuses for why you haven’t been to the gym in a while, try thinking of exercise in a different way. Exercise doesn’t have to require willpower at all. You just need to find a form of exercise that you love. If you do, you will require much less willpower to exercise. Let’s explore some fun activities that will make you sweat.
Go for a hike
Utah is known for its excellent hiking trails and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery around. Instead of slogging through a cardio session indoors, take advantage of one of the many easily accessible hiking trails located throughout Utah. Because of Utah’s mountainous terrain, it’s easy for a hike to quickly turn into a workout. Pick a trail that challenges your current level of fitness. Hiking a steep trail is just like increasing the incline on a treadmill, but much more interesting and satisfying when you finally reach the end of the trail.
Hiking is also something you can do with friends and family of all skill levels. Want more of a challenge? Add a weight vest or try trail running. You’ll work more muscles than you ever could while staying indoors. Other health benefits of hiking include lower blood pressure and an increase in endorphins, to name a few.
Pick a sport
Sports is one of the most popular alternatives to plain exercise. Almost all sports will give you a great workout and provide serious health benefits when done at the appropriate intensity. What makes sports a great form of exercise is the fact that your mind doesn’t have time to focus on the body’s discomfort during physical exertion — you’re completely focused on playing the game.
Not everyone enjoys the competitive nature of traditional sports like basketball or football. If that’s you, consider other sports like ultimate frisbee, golf, dodgeball, racquetball or any other sport that’s off the beaten path. Some of these sports can even be done alone. Shooting hoops or playing racquetball against yourself can be great forms of exercise, no teammates needed. There are tons of community sports teams, recreation centers and other clubs that would welcome your participation if you’d like to give a certain sport a try.
Indulge your need for speed
It’s hard to deny the thrill you feel when you’re going fast. The key is to find a way to go fast without getting hurt. Luckily, Utah is one of the best places to be if you have a need for speed and exercise. Some of the most popular outdoor activities in Utah include skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking, all of which are very good forms of exercise. After a day of trying any one of these activities, you’ll be sore afterward.
There are multiple ski resorts along the Wasatch Front in both Utah and Salt Lake counties where you can ski or snowboard in the winter and mountain bike in the summer. If you’re not willing to take the risk associated with these winter sports, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Both are fun, safe and slower alternatives.
Try something new
You’ve probably played most popular sports at some point, and you may have already gone skiing or biking a few times. If none of these activities have ignited your passion, look for an activity off the beaten path.
Consider rock climbing. Utah has great natural formations and rock faces that attract climbers from all over the West. You can also try indoor climbing, which is safer and more accessible.
But there’s more. What about roller skating? There are indoor rinks and outdoor trails all over. What about gymnastics, parkour, swimming, skateboarding, jump roping or kayaking? Even gardening can be a good form of exercise.
The list goes on. It may take a while, but finding something you truly enjoy doing will make exercising a pleasure instead of a burden. Even if you don’t do it every week, planning something fun is a great addition to any exercise plan, and it makes getting in shape much more enjoyable. Who knows? You might even find a lifelong passion in the process.
Brandon Stillwell is a project manager at Stage Marketing, a full-service content marketing agency based in Pleasant Grove.