Walking. Running. Lifting weights. It gets repetitive—we get it.
If you’re going to break a sweat, you might as well make it fun, right? Thankfully, there’s no limit to unconventional workouts that get you moving toward a healthier you.
“Be creative,” says Blaine Schmidt, performance coach at Memorial Hermann | Rockets Sports Medicine Institute. “As long as you get your heart rate up, you’ll see some benefits.”
Here are some ideas to try in lieu of the treadmill.
1. Rock Climbing
Indoor or outdoor climbing offers a fresh way to build strength. And since you’re relying on yourself to lift up your body, it often inspires weight loss.
Climbing works the heart, builds upper and lower body muscles, increases flexibility and even offers a mental break. No screens—just you.
“Some of the greatest benefits are spiritual rather than physical since the nature of this sport requires focus, balance, determination and overcoming fear,” Schmidt says.
2. Hip-Hop Yoga
There are almost as many different forms of yoga as there are postures. There’s Hatha, which on physical yoga postures, or Bikram yoga, which is typically set in a sauna-like environment.
Restorative yoga focuses on winding down after a long day and relaxing your mind. “You spend more time in fewer postures,” Schmidt says.
But in hip-hop yoga, you trade meditative peace for amped-up music and energy.
Whatever yoga you choose, you’ll enhance your flexibility, strength, breathing and concentration.
“One of the main benefits is you get a better mindset and body awareness,” Schmidt says. “Yoga is the unity of the body and the mind.”
3. Underwater Spinning
This spin on spinning immerses you four feet deep in a pool. Water adds resistance to what’s also known as hydro-spinning or aqua cycling. In some classes, you hook your feet on the handle to do crunches and push off to do push-ups.
Other water sports get you outside: stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, water-skiing or wakeboarding.
“Any type of rowing or paddling is great for upper body strength and endurance,” Schmidt says.
Feel like a kid again while you burn calories and strengthen your legs and hips.
“If you’re outside, you clear your head of distractions and release hormones that make you feel better mentally and physically,” Schmidt says.
5. Mixed Martial Arts
Japanese and Korean forms of self-defense are merged with grappling and kicking.
Takedowns strengthen your lower body, while raising your heart rate and self-discipline.
“Martial arts have many health benefits for the body and the mind, including muscular endurance, power, and improved balance and joint mobility,” Schmidt says. “You get the same health benefits as jogging, such as stress relief, greater confidence and balance.”