We all know the benefits of exercise but for many of us, it's finding the time to fit it into our day that we find challenging. And all the good intentions in the world can't force us to go to the gym if the very thought of doing so is unappealing.
The good news is that exercise doesn't have to be a chore. There are numerous ways to get fit that are more fun than simply running on a treadmill. Read on for a few unusual activities to try that may even lead you to forget you are exercising!
Horse riding is classed as moderate intensity exercise. Equestrianism is popular with women and there is evidence to support that riding may promote muscle strength and tone, while burning calories. It's also excellent for promoting a sense of wellbeing and releasing serotonin, a natural mood enhancer that has anti-depressant effects.
Once confined to gentlemen's clubs, pole dancing has a bad reputation but is actually an excellent form of exercise. There are many different types of pole dancing: sport, art and sexy and many performers are now striving to make it an Olympic event.
Not only is pole dancing fun, it builds and tones muscles. Pole dancers learn to support their entire body weight with their arms, making it an excellent exercise for building upper body strength and toning stomach muscles.
Pole dancing can make the body more limber while many of the more advanced pole exercises involving splits and backbends can reduce tension in the body and improve flexibility. An average pole dancing session lasting for about an hour can burn around 250 calories. Plus, as with any form of exercise, pole dancing can release feel-good hormones known as endorphins that boost your confidence.
If pole dancing doesn't sound right for you, ballet dancing may be more your forte. Ballet has experienced a revival in recent years, especially amongst the over 50s. Figures from the Royal Academy of Dance showed that there's a 70 per cent increase in older adults taking up ballet, with many doing so for the various health benefits it brings.
Along with improving balance and posture, many of the moves can enhance your flexibility and strengthen and tone muscles. Ballet is also an excellent form of stress relief, allowing for emotional expression and release of feelings. Ballet can help shift emotional distress by increasing the neurotransmitter serotonin, providing relief for depression and anxiety.
If none of the above take your fancy, then try low-impact exercises on a rebounder (mini-trampoline) to stimulate the lymph system, or dance around the house while cleaning. Even a good sex session can be a workout in itself – burning around 144 calories per half hour.