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Enjoy exercise that doesn't feel like exercise

Has working out become too much like work? Or does just thinking about working out make you want to go lie down? You know you need to move to burn calories and get fit, but mustering the motivation is another matter. And if you're not feeling motivated to work out, chances are it's because you're not having any fun.

The No. 1 reason people say they don't get regular physical activity is lack of time, says Cedric Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in San Diego. Yet, he adds, "we'll find time to do what's enjoyable."

The good news is that you can get fit by playing, says Charles Swencionis, PhD, co-author of The Lazy Person's Guide to Fitness: I Get All the Exercise I Need Walking Around the Office. "Forget about 'This kind of exercise does that', and 'That kind of exercise does this,''' he says.

To remind yourself of the fun in physical activity, just watch your pets -- or your children.

"I have a parrot who's in terrific shape," Swencionis says. "He's like an Olympic athlete compared to me. All animals are naturally active. Kids are, too, unless they're prevented by their parents or circumstances."

To help you put the fun back into your fitness routine, fitness experts who spoke to WebMD had these seven suggestions:

1. Make play your workout. Remember begging your mother to let you stay outside five more minutes? Whatever you were doing -- playing catch, jumping rope, or riding your bike -- it was too much fun to quit. The key to fitting more activity into your life is rediscovering that joy of movement.

"If you have children, play backyard games like tag, hopscotch, and capture the flag," says Bryant. But you don't need kids to play. Shoot hoops. Go swimming. Play tennis, volleyball, badminton, croquet, or golf.

2. Put on your dancing shoes. Not the sporty type? Dancing is a great way to get fit, and there's a type to appeal to everyone: ballroom, country and western, salsa, African, folk dancing, square dancing. You don't even need a partner; try belly dancing, hula, clogging or tap dancing.

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