by Mikey Rox
Hard time keeping your hands out of the cookie jar this winter? Polish off those last few Oreos then set your sights on spring with these easy-to-integrate activities that’ll have you sweating and shedding in no time.
Train for a Foot Race
A few weeks ago I decided for the first time to compete in a half-marathon race. My gym was advertising the event, and on the advertisement was a URL for a 12-week, increasingly rigorous conditioning regimen that I could follow to get into race-ready shape. I’m nearly halfway through the program and I’m proud to say that I haven’t missed a goal yet. This may be an intimidating feat for some, but it’s absolutely achievable if you commit yourself to it. To help yourself stay on track, invite a friend to join the race with you; you two can work out together and provide support in times of doubt and fatigue.
Participate in an Obstacle Course
In addition to the half marathon this spring, I’ve also signed up for a challenging obstacle course called Rugged Maniac, which I expect will test my strength and endurance over its 5K course. Some of the obstacles include scaling a warped wall a la Ninja Warrior, jumping over fire, climbing ladders, hopping barricades, trudging through mud and more. If you’re not confident that you can complete a course of this intensity, there are several other traveling fitness courses during the spring and summer months including ROC Race, Insane Inflatable 5K and Mud Factor that may set up camp near you.
Pop Into a Trampoline Park
Trampoline parks are all the rage right now – seems like a new location opens every month – but they’re not just for kids. Adults can get in on the action too by joining open jumps, playing ultimate dodgeball, dunking baskets or signing up for scheduled fitness programs that will work you out to the tune of 1,000 calories an hour in some classes.
Take New Classes at Your Gym
If you already belong to a gym but your routine has lost its luster or you’ve just slacked off because, well, winter, get back into the swing of things by trying something new. Personally, I’m not always a self-motivator when it comes to exercise, so I benefit from the group classes that my gym offers (which at most gyms are included in the regular membership), and the same strategy may work for you. Visit your facility’s website to view the class schedule and register for one or two that appeal to you. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy it.
Accept Challenges on Your Fitness Tracker
One of the cool ways I’m ensuring that I meet certain fitness goals I’ve set for myself, like on my Fitbit fitness tracker, is to accept and extend challenges between the friends with whom I’m connected through the device. Turning the wearable into a little friendly competition is fun, and I push myself a little further every day to stay ahead.
Incorporate Exercises Into Your Chores
Sneak in squats while you’re vacuuming the steps, bang out a few pushups when you’re putting storage items under the bed, and do a few curls with your grocery bags from the car to the house. It’s easy to turn your mundane chores into mini-exercises to keep your muscles moving.
Do More Manual Labor Around the House
Instead of hiring a handyman or gardener to tackle items on your spring-cleaning to-do list, try your own hand at what you’d normally farm out. If you’re capable of cleaning up the yard and laying your own mulch you should be doing it yourself anyway, but at least now you’ll get a decent tan and save a couple hundreds bucks while you’re at it.
Rent Equipment to Try a New Fitness Activity
Last year I bought a couple kayaks to add extra activity into my spring and summer routine, and this year one of my goals is to learn how to standup paddle board. These boards are quite expensive to purchase, so renting is a great option for me, especially since I’m not sure I’ll like it. You can rent nearly any kind of sports and fitness equipment these days, from typical bicycles to more extreme equipment like kite-boarding kites. Whatever suits your fancy – and fitness level.
Join a Social Sports League
I’ve been part of a social sports league in some capacity for at least the past 10 years – and I can’t sing the praises of these groups enough. I’ve been a member of kickball, dodgeball and cornhole teams in the past, and currently I play on a couple bowling leagues and a shuffleboard league. I’m certainly not getting buff on these leagues, but they still keep me moving (some more than others), and they’re a great way to dust yourself off, get your blood pumping and make a few new friends as the cold weather makes way for sunshine and warmth.
Mikey Rox is an award-winning journalist and LGBT lifestyle expert whose work has been published in more than 100 outlets across the world. He splits his time between homes in New York City and the Jersey Shore with his dog Jaxon. Connect with Mikey on Twitter @mikeyrox.