Although I’ve been an active runner and avid weightlifter for nearly 20 years, the older I get, the less exciting any form of structured exercise has become. Yes, I said it! In fact, I can’t hardly even stand frequenting the gym for my workouts, as the overall environment tends to give me somewhat of a claustrophobic feeling. Still, not exercising and/or engaging in some form of physical activity each and every day just isn’t an option for me.

So, in an effort to maintain the motivation to stay physically active and physically fit over the long-term, I regularly supplement my normal workout routine with more out-of-the-box activities that feel less like exercise and more like good ole fashioned fun. If you share similar sentiments and find yourself constantly looking for activities that are fresh and new, here are some interesting ways to workout without necessarily working out.

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Hit the Club

If you’re not a fan of structured exercise, hit the club and party like it’s your birthday. Believe it or not, you can burn as much as 150-200 calories with just 30 minutes of dancing to your favorite jams. You can also use this time to wear your favorite high heels in order to engage those calf muscles for an unbelievable leg workout. Why hold up the wall and overindulge in empty calorie mixed drinks when you can get in a good 2-3 hour workout without even feeling like you’re exercising?

Engage in Recreational Sports

If you’re experiencing pure boredom with your exercise routine, engage in more recreational sporting and leisure-time physical activities like tennis, basketball, hiking, outdoor bicycle riding or even climbing. Not only are such activities equally as effective as structured exercise, the simple act of adding variety can substantially boost your motivation. Engaging in sports and leisure activities is also a great way to prevent the negative effects of muscle memory, which can ultimately lead to better fitness gains.

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Crank Up the Household Chores

Many people underestimate the power of performing household chores for physical activity. By performing 60 minutes of housework you can easily burn 250 calories or more while 60 minutes of cooking can burn up to 200 calories. If you’re anything like me, you may go on an 8-hour excursion performing these tasks meaning that at the end of the day, you’ll burn well over 1,200 calories without leaving your home. A calorie burned is a calorie burned no matter what you do.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop

As a Chicagoan, I’m fortunate enough to have direct access to the vibrant Magnificent Mile shopping district and walking up and down this area is indeed one of my favorite pastimes. In addition, no matter where you live, most shopping malls are open early for walkers and window shoppers. Walking is by far one of the best ways to stay physically fit while also increasing your daily calorie burn. So, for a good workout without working out, get off the treadmill and do some real walking with a purpose.

Hula Hoop for Fun

Hula hooping is one of those unique throwback activities that’s unbelievably fun and never feels like exercise. Even better, hooping effectively works the abs and other core muscles like no “traditional” exercise can. It’s also excellent for improving the overall appearance of your lower-body. Since hula hooping requires rapid, repetitive back-and-forth swinging motions about the waist and other joints (hips, knee and ankles), accruing just 30 minutes in spurts can burn as much as 200-250 calories.

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And there you have it! Five terrific ways to experience the many health and fitness benefits of exercise without ever stepping foot in a gym. Even if you regularly work out, I highly recommend incorporating physical activities like these into your normal routine to keep it nice and fresh. While it’s great to have an exercise routine, you don’t want to have routineness during exercise.

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