Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Physical Health: Fun Ways to Get Fit and Trim

10 ways to get moving and shed pounds!
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

No time to work out? No time to plan healthy meals? Lack of time isn't the only excuse offered by sedentary people who need to lose weight. Close on its heels is another complaint:  Working out just isn't fun, and neither is shopping and cooking "healthy."

Exercise and weight loss experts say they hear that all the time -- but it doesn't have to be true.

If sedentary Americans -- and that's nearly 40% of adults -- would adopt some fun ways to get fit, chances are good they will pick up the exercise habit for good, experts say. And once the exercise habit kicks in, eating better and losing weight come easier.

Getting fit and getting trim is often a "two-fer." It's difficult to get fit without eating right, and eating right makes it easier to get fit.

So forget what you learned in high school gym class or at the local health club about what it takes to get fit and eat better. Here are 10 fun ways to get moving and improve your diet. Why not pick one or two that sound fun to you, and give it a try?

1. Forget Exercise; Have 'Fun' Instead

If the thought of the word exercise makes you cringe, banish it from your vocabulary. Substitute "activity" or even "fun activity."

Exercise definitely sounds like sweat and work. "But when we think of 'activity,' it could be things we enjoy doing," says Fabio Comana, a San Diego exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.  "You have options. It can be enjoyable activities with friends or with the family." Hiking, biking, urban walks, or playing outdoor games are just a few activities that come to mind.

2. Pick a Comfortable Pace for Fitness

Choose an intensity level from the start that's comfortable for you, not what your buddy or the exercise video diva says is the right pace.

"Generally speaking, folks who are overweight, out of shape, and sedentary tend to feel pretty bad even in response to moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking," says Dave Williams, PhD, assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and The Miriam Hospital in Providence, R.I.

"There does seem to be evidence in the lab that if you have people walk at their own pace they are going to feel better than people who are walking at moderate intensity," he says.  "We aren't sure if it's because they feel in control, or because they are walking slower" and not overwhelmed by the exercise, he says.

Research into self-paced exercise is under way. While waiting for those results, Williams recommends people try it. Almost everyone feels good after they've done any kind of exercise, Williams says. "The way you feel while you are doing it is more important" to long-term adherence.

His hunch? "The people doing the self-paced exercise won't find it aversive and will continue to exercise over the course of months or years."

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Slideshow
Flat Abs
Slideshow
 
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
Slideshow
woman using ice pack
Quiz
 

man exercising
Article
7 most effective exercises
Interactive
 
Man looking at watch before workout
Slideshow
Overweight man sitting on park bench
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
Slideshow
jogger running among flowering plants
Video
 
woman walking
Article
Taylor Lautner
Article