Doing something fun and different can boost you mood and keep you mentally alert, experts say. On the other hand, doing the same old thing – even when it comes to exercise routines – can actually hurt you.
“Doing the same thing over and over takes its toll on your body,” says Fabio Comana, an exercise physiologist in San Diego, California. “Over time, overuse can cause microtrauma and lead to injuries.”
Here are some fun workouts that burn a lot of calories while requiring mental focus. If you haven’t tried these before, challenge yourself to try one or more to mix up your exercise routine:
1. Kickboxing. This is available with or without actual boxing gloves. It’s a boredom-proof workout alternative that burns up to 1,000 calories an hour. It sharpens your brain while sculpting your muscles and increasing your fitness quotient.
2. Bicycling. Try replacing short trips of just a couple miles – say, to a friend’s house, park or nearby store – with a 10-minute bike ride instead of jumping into the car.
3. Kettlebell training. Weighted balls of iron with handles may look like something weight lifters may use, but it offers weight loss and muscle sculpting – without requiring a lot of athletic ability. “I’ve trained senior citizens, obese people, and people who’ve never exercised before, and they see results in as little as a week,” says Sarah Lurie, author of “Kettlebells for Dummies.”
4. Push-ups. These are one of the best ways to strengthen your body and fight off age-related fat. While your arms do most of the work, other muscles are engaged to keep your body stable.
5. Rock climbing. It’s technique that matters more than sheer pull-up strength. Experts advise that rookies should be sure to start with beginner routes at an indoor climbing facility.
6. Yoga. Studies have shown that yoga can relieve stress, curb overeating and help you feel good about your body. Look for a class you feel comfortable in, experts advise. Stay away from the chanting if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
7. TRX® Suspension Training®. This system uses industrial-grade nylon straps to leverage your own body weight during hundreds of exercises. It develops strength and balance as you get into proper position to perform, say, an Atomic Push-Up. “Think of it as standing Pilates with a bit more athleticism,” says Lisa Witzlib, a TRX instructor in Atlanta, Georgia.