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All Sections / 21 Fun Ways to Exercise If You Hate the Gym

You want to exercise every day. But then you think about the crowded, sweaty gym and the intimidating weight machines and the elliptical with the broken headphone jack and…maybe the gym isn’t your thing. Instead, try these 21 fun, unexpected ways to burn calories.

RELATED: The Best Exercises to Do If You’re Out of Shape

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1. Take your dog for a walk. But make him keep up with your pace. (He can sniff that weird-smelling park bench another time.)

2. On that note, volunteer to clean up a park or beach. It feels good to help out and you’ll work your muscles all the while.

3. Grab some friends and play Frisbee. (It’s way more fun than push-ups, trust us.) 

4. Instead of immediately plopping in front of the TV, go for a 30-minute stroll after dinner. You can even go slow—just as long as you’re moving.

5. You know that patch of weeds in the backyard? Grab a trowel and some seedlings. You’ll tone your arms and get a sweet garden out of the deal, too.

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6. Go for a canoe ride. Just so you know: It’s deceptively active.

7. Instead of standing by on the sidelines and watching as your kids, nieces or nephews play outside, join in. Tag—you’re it. 

8. Pick a nearby trail you’ve always wanted to explore and hike it this weekend.

9. Put on Beyoncé (or whatever music gets you pumped) and dance around your living room for 15 minutes. Who run the world?

10. Play volleyball. Find a local court or make your own in the backyard.

11. Instead of driving, ride your bike to work once a week.

RELATED: OMG, Soon You Can Bike From Maine to Florida

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12. Skip the crunches and hula-hoop instead. Core work is core work is core work. See how many revolutions you can do in a row.

13. Instead of checking Facebook during commercial breaks, get on the ground and plank for three minutes. 

14. Jump in the pool and do literally anything. Walk, tread water, sidestroke, backstroke, play Marco Polo…it all burns calories, people.

15. Try this free 30-Day Yoga Camp by Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. (Or if you’re not ready to commit to a whole month, follow along with the videos à la carte.)

16. Go to an empty playground and play like a kid. Slides are still just as fun as they were 30 years ago, FYI.

17. Or, if it’s snowy outside, go sledding. And don’t forget to run back up the hill when you’re ready to go again.


18. OK, be careful, but try a cartwheel. Remember when you used to do those all the time, just for the heck of it?

19. And while you’re at it, let’s bring back skipping—even if it’s just around the house. 

20. At work, do a few desk exercises throughout the day to keep your blood pumping and tone your muscles. 

21. Walk to the grocery store, then carry your groceries for tonight’s dinner home instead of driving. Your triceps are looking more toned already.

RELATED: 11 Easy Ways to Save Money at Whole Foods

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