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Alternative Fun Workouts: Exercise Outside the Box!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, M.D. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

alternative fun workouts

Is your exercise regimen starting to feel a little boring? You need to switch up your routine and try some alternative fun workouts!

After all, the best workouts are the ones that you actually do!

When the world was wide open, it was easy to join a new class or try something new to spice up your exercises.

However, with many gyms still closed, you need to be more creative in adding new activities to keep you feeling healthy and strong without interrupting your busy schedule.

If you want to stay motivated and accountable for your fitness goals, it's important to pick activities that you actually enjoy.

Mixing up your routine with alternative fun workouts is one way to do this!

Should you strength train? Learn more about women and weightlifting!

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Skiing or Snowboarding

Let’s face it … even if you’re an avid runner or long-time athlete, the treadmill can become a real drag after a while.

During the cold and dark winter months, it can be tough to get outside on a regular basis, but there are still some great cardio options, both indoors and outside.

Outdoor aerobic winter workouts like skiing and snowboarding are great ways to enjoy the outdoors and get some killer cardio in the process.

Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of strength training in the upper and lower body.

One study from The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine showed that alpine and cross country skiing have awesome cardio benefits and can build lower body strength similar to indoor cycling.

And since it’s hard to jump on a bike with snow and ice, this is a great alternative exercise in the winter months.

Try some of these ideas for cardio workouts at home!

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is another fun and different activity that can build serious aerobic fitness and lower body strength.

Studies have found that snowshoeing helps maintain, and even improve, cardiovascular fitness.

According to Snowsports Industries of America, snowshoers can burn more than 45 percent more calories than walking or running at the same speed.

You can snowshoe anywhere that there is snow, even right in your own backyard.

If you want to try it out without committing, many ski and snowboard stores will rent out equipment.

Increase Relaxation and Flexibility with Yoga

While a lot of people think yoga is just about stretching and flexibility, it also builds strength and balance.

There are many different versions of yoga that you can try to mix up your workouts as well.

For example, hot yoga, vinyasa yoga, power yoga, outdoor yoga, and even yoga with goats!

A lot of gyms offer yoga classes for all different levels.

But again, with covid keeping many gym doors closed, you can always try online yoga classes right from your living room.

All you really need is a mat or towel to try this alternative workout.

Play a Video Game

You spend enough time telling your kids to stop playing video games and get active, so it may seem counterintuitive to grab the gaming controller to get in shape.

But it turns out video games can actually keep you active.

Video games, like sports on Wii Fit, get you up and moving around the family room.

And you can even compete against your kids at home!

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Dancing

There are tons of online workout programs that can get you up and moving that range from strength training to high-intensity intervals.

But if you get tired of these more traditional exercises, you can try some dance classes on video.

Not only is dancing a great aerobic exercise, but it will improve your balance and flexibility.

Plus, busting out some new moves is so much fun you won’t even realize that you’re working out.

Stair Workouts

If you have a two-story home, you can create your own at-home strength building and cardio workouts on the stairs.

Stair workouts will give you an amazing glute and leg workout while also getting your heart pumping.

For example, you can try out this stair workout whenever you get some spare time throughout the day:

  • Sprint up the stairs, do ten push-ups, then walk or jog back down.
  • Next, sprint upstairs, do ten burpees, then walk or jog back down.
  • Finally, sprint upstairs, do ten jumping jacks, walk or jog back down.

Repeat two times through for a quick and efficient cardio workout that will also build up your glutes, quads, and hamstrings.

If you can do this 3 or 4 times throughout the day, that’s even better!

A 2019 study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that three bouts a day of vigorous stair workouts done three times a week was highly effective at improving cardiovascular health.

Build an Obstacle Course

Remember when you were a kid and you would time yourself racing through homemade obstacle courses with your friends

Well, this is still a great way to get some exercise.

And you can recruit your kids to help build, and “compete”, in your at-home course.

You can use everyday objects that you have around the house or garage to make your course.

For example, you can set up cones to run around, crates to do box jumps, or branches to jump over to challenge your strength and power.

If you have a basketball hoop or soccer goal you can even add shooting skills to your course.

Or if your kids have a jungle gym in the backyard you can use the monkey bars to work your upper body.

At Home Circuit Training

You can set up your own at-home circuit training with minimal equipment to get a fun, and effective, strength and cardio workout.

Circuit training is a great way to incorporate aerobic and resistance exercises through high-intensity intervals and plyometric moves.

Plus, the workout will fly by as you move from one exercise to the next.

Try out this heart-pumping circuit the next time you are looking for alternative fun workouts.

Just be sure to have a water bottle and towel nearby!

Start with an easy warm-up to get your muscles primed for the main set.

Warm-Up

Do each move for 30 seconds, then move to the next. Repeat twice through and then start on the main set.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Butt Kickers
  • High Knees
  • Jog in Place

Main Set

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest 30 seconds before immediately starting the next move.

Rest for one minute after the circuit, then repeat two more times.

Side to Side Hops

  • Roll up a towel or place a thin object on the ground that you can easily jump over.
  • Keep your legs together and knees slightly bent as you jump from right to left over the object as quickly as possible.
  • You can swing your arms by your side to help maintain balance and keep your momentum going for the full 30 seconds.

Side to Side Push-Ups

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Move to the right with your right arm and right leg while bending at the elbows to lower your chest to the ground in a push-up.
  • Extend your arms to return to the top.
  • Then repeat to the left side.
  • Continue alternating sides.

Jump Rope

  • Start with standard jump rope with single hops on both feet.
  • As your fitness improves you can try single leg or side to side jumps to challenge yourself even more.

Burpees

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Squat down and place your hands on the floor.
  • Kick back into a push-up position.
  • Do one push-up.
  • Jump your legs back to a squat and jump up, throwing your hands above your head.
  • Land and repeat.

Squat Jumps

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Come down into a squat and then jump up explosively.
  • When you land, lower your body back into the squat position.
  • Repeat as many reps as possible for 30 seconds.
  • Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat for three sets.

This full-body, at-home workout with no equipment will keep you in shape!

TRX Bands

Resistance training using suspension bands is a great alternative workout when you get bored with the same old dumbbell and resistance band workouts.

TRX bands are a type of suspension training where you use your body weight and gravity to get you killer full-body workouts.

These exercises can be done just about anywhere where you can hang the bands, and you can modify the moves to match your abilities.

TRX bands are an awesome addition to any collection of home workout equipment.

Like resistance bands, they are easy to pack up and travel with, or fold up and keep around the house.

Plus, there are tons of different exercises that can be done with these bands so that your workouts never get boring.

Not only can you target all of your muscles just like with free weights, but TRX bands also force you to engage your core and stabilizer muscles as you balance throughout the movements.

This adds an additional challenge to your workouts.

And TRX bands even have research supporting their fitness benefits.

A study from the International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology found that regular participation in TRX Suspension Training improved muscular fitness.

Not only that, but there were improvements in major cardiovascular disease risk factors including reductions in waist circumference, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and body fat.

TRX bands come with great diagrams that demonstrate all types of suspension training workouts that will help build strength and tone your muscles.

Balance on a BOSU Ball

Performing exercises on an unstable surface, like a BOSU ball, can help improve core strength to a greater degree than when working out on a stable surface.

This is because you are recruiting all of your smaller muscles to stabilize your spine and body.

Not only can you get a killer core workout by using a BOSU ball, but these alternative fun workouts can also add variety to an otherwise monotonous workout routine.

Adding new and fun moves to your workout arsenal will keep you motivated to want to exercise.

Stay Accountable and Motivated with Alternative Fun Workouts

It can be easy to skip a workout when you feel burnt out or bored with the same old routine.

One way to avoid this is to spice up your fitness program with alternative fun workouts.

When you add these new activities to your weekly fitness schedule, you will soon find yourself excited to workout again.

So don’t let the dark winter days and boring, monotonous workouts let you give up on your health goals.

Try some of these fresh alternative fun workouts today and actually look forward to your next exercise session!

Holly Smith
Holly Smith

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is an osteopathic physician, runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast.

She is board certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelors degree in dietetics and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, olympic distance triathlons, half marathons and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

She has also recently qualified for the 2020 World Championships for Ironman 70.3, in New Zealand!

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on alternative fun workouts.

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