I had an awesome talk with a psychologist a couple months ago who wanted to pick my brain on ways to encourage clients to have some sort of fitness/movement practice. I mentioned how important it is for them to find a physical activity that they enjoy and that often times people don’t know what they would find fun to begin with. I recommend in general that people keep trying many different things until they find what they truly love. You never know what could be the start of an incredibly healthy obsession that will help you find your freedom.
So I got to thinking that it would be helpful to make a list of all the vigorous physical activities that could potentially be really fun for anyone. Try a little bit of everything until you find what you truly enjoy, and then stick to it!
If you find something you really enjoy, you will be more physically fit, experience more social interaction, develop new friendships, reduce stress & boredom, improve skills and maybe even satisfy competitive desires if you decide to get super serious!
All the physical activities listed below have some sort of strength or cardio component to them. Some are less strenuous than others, but all of them are pretty vigorous the more you get deeper into them. I didn’t include the ones that were more coordination-oriented that don’t really get you stronger or increase your heart rate much didn’t such as ping pong, bowling, juggling and so forth.
Where to find pick-up games and meetup groups?
- Football / Flag Football
- Baseball / Softball
- Water Polo
ProTip: Use google maps to search for local studios that offer these. You may be surprised to find what’s in your area.
- Pole dancing (Such a great upper body workout for women especially!)
- Aerial silks
- Aerial hoop
- Rollerblading (Wear wrist, elbow and knee pads to reduce your risk!)
- Ice Skating
- Rock Climbing
- Skiing / Snowboarding
- Bicycling / Mountain Biking (or maybe get a Peloton?)
- Freerunning (Parkour) / Tricking
- Jump Rope
- Hula Hooping
- Handstands / Hand balancing
- Stairs / Bleachers
- Calisthenics (Pushups, Pullups, Dips, Crunches, Squats, etc)
- Swimming Laps / Springboard Diving / Water Aerobics Classes
- Ocean Swimming, Boogieboarding, Bodyboarding, Surfing (Or more extreme: Kiteboarding)
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding
- Dance Classes (Salsa/Bachata, Hip Hop, Swing, Ballet, Zumba, Breakdancing, etcetera)
- Martial Arts: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muy Thai, Kickboxing, Ninjutsu, Karate, Capoeira, etc
- Trampolining (See if you have a Sky Zone trampoline park in your area)
If you can combine two activities where one is heavily leg oriented (such as bicycling) while another is heavily upper body oriented (such as rock climbing or pole dancing), you’ll be able to maintain full body strength in a well rounded manner while still having fun! And as always, if you want a ready made, effective program with all the thinking done for you, check out my strength and flexibility routines here!