While everyone loves the results of a finely tuned fitness program, not everyone likes to exercise to get the results. At the end of the day, a certain degree of movement is essential to live an optimal life. In order to reduce injury, move comfortably, maintain lean muscle and a strong heart, resistance training, and cardio exercises are necessary. If running your fingernails up and down a chalkboard sounds more appealing than going for an actual run, it’s time to sneak in a workout that incorporates hacks and tricks to keep things interesting and delivers results.
When you were a child, did anyone have to twist your arm to go out and play? Unlikely! Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, everyone can benefit from an activity that is pure fun on the outside but solid exercise underneath. Fitness challenges that encourage friendly competition are great ways to stay in shape year round. In the summer months, hop in a paddle boat, put on the rollerblades or speed walk around the block as you race your friends to the finish line. The winner gets treated to lunch!
If you prefer to sweat solo, you can still appreciate the benefits of a personal challenge as you commit to doing an activity two or three times a week, and aim to increase your pace, time, repetitions or weight. The only motivation needed, is to beat your previous self. While this type of activity may sound and ‘feel’ like exercise, simply listening to lively music will put the emphasis on ‘fun’. Setting up a few of your favourite songs can eat up almost 20 minutes of time and before you know it, you’ll be saying, ‘ Am I done already?’
The best fitness hacks are short yet effective. In other words, HIIT it, then quit it! High-intensity interval training is world renowned for fat loss and toning. Perhaps incorporating three to five minute short bursts of intense activity during commercial breaks is more your speed. Rather than fill the space between segments to grab a snack, or get on the phone, hop onto a stationary bike, do jumping jacks, jog in place or skip until the show returns. Spicing things up by trying to reach a certain number of pedals, skips, runs or jacks will give you the incentive to give it your best.
Ready for a triple win? Tone your muscles first thing in the morning before your brain figures out what it’s doing and commit to 20 crunches while still lying in bed, brush your teeth until 20 full squats are completed and jump for 50 jacks before you hop in the shower.
If you prefer a less obvious way to work up a sweat, take advantage of warm summer mornings by ditching the car and changing your commute. Riding your bicycle or taking the car part way and swapping the wheels for a quick paced walk, will increase the heart rate, challenge the legs and earn you ‘unplanned’ FitPoints.