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The Unworkout: 7 Ways to Get Fit Having Fun

Enjoy exercise that doesn't feel like exercise

More on The Unworkout

4. Train for an active vacation. Ever thought of doing a wine-country bike tour, escaping to a ski resort, or living out your dream at a fantasy sports camp? These are the kinds of vacations you'll never stop talking about. But whether you come away with fond memories or a pulled ligament can depend on how well prepared you are. To prevent muscle soreness and injury, train before your trip (using the upcoming vacation as your inspiration). Do general strength, cardiovascular, and flexibility training, including exercises that target the muscle groups for your sport.

5. Spice up a dull routine. Tired of your routine walk around the track? Walk to the park instead, and fly a kite. If you're bored with the treadmill or elliptical trainer, spice up your workout with multimedia. Clip a tape or CD player to your belt, get audio books from the library, and enjoy "reading" while you work out. Or set up a portable DVD player and watch a movie.

6. Try something new. Go horseback riding. Try inline skating. Join in a community trash pickup. Build houses for Habitat for Humanity.

7. If you love a challenge and want to see real results, sign up for a civilian boot camp. Dave Johnson of Austin, Texas, generally keeps fit by running alone. But when a friend urged him to enroll in CPT Luke's Total Boot Camp, he was game. The month-long boot camp met three nights a week, and (except for the mosquitoes) Johnson found it highly motivating. "There's a big difference between thinking I have to get out of bed and run, and knowing that I paid money and people expect me to be there," says the 48-year-old engineer.

Johnson found he enjoyed the social aspect of boot camp: "You're passing a medicine ball or holding a partner doing sit-ups, and you develop camaraderie with your workout buddies." And in the end, he saw "a huge improvement" physically. "They used the exact same fitness scale as the Marines. I'm not sure where I started, but I finished in the 98th percentile. And my running time improved dramatically."

A Change of Perspective

In an ideal world, people would spend at least 5-6 days a week doing a balanced program of cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility exercises. But for many people, that's neither realistic nor appealing. The fact is, only a little more than one-fifth of Americans get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a minimum of five times per week, according to a survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In spite of all the emphasis on exercise over the last 20 years, the percentage of people who exercise regularly hasn't changed significantly. Perhaps we've gotten the idea that unless we follow the national exercise recommendations to the letter, buy all the latest gear, or hang on every word of the fitness guru du jour, why bother?

"We need to modify our perspective," says Bryant. "Too often, we want to focus on what's 'best,' and that may be one of the reasons we've been ineffective.

"We need to look at 'good, better and best.' Walking is good, maybe jogging is better, and maybe running is best. But our goal is to encourage people to make physical activity something they do consistently. Movement is key. Identify those activities you find enjoyable, and make the choice to move."


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