Yes, you can find a form of exercise that you'll love.

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There are some people in this world who genuinely relish the sensation of exercise. They get a kick from feeling sweat running down their neck and struggling for breath, and actually look forward to “feeling the burn”.

The rest of us? Yeah… not so much.

While it’s no secret that exercise is a good thing to do health-wise, it can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore. The phrase “working out” itself is a reminder of just how much work is required.

However, there are ways to get fit without feeling like you’re doing so. The secret is to gift-wrap your workout in an activity that’s so enjoyable, you won’t even notice it’s happening. Here are five techniques to try.

1. Take a walk with a view.

Repeat after me: distraction is your friend. And there’s no better way to distract yourself than with a breathtakingly beautiful walk. Whether you live on the coast or kilometres inland there’s bound to be a scenic walking track or national park in your area, so get researching. The next step is to round up a couple of friends and tackle it together on a leisurely Saturday.

With a gorgeous view and good company to take your mind off the task, it’s amazing how far you can trek without even realising it. Extra points if it’s a coastal trail that allows you to beach-hop and squeeze in a swim here and there.

"There’s no better way to distract yourself than with a breathtakingly beautiful walk." Image: iStock.

2. Do it like a kid.

Hands up if you spent your childhood playing games like handball, tip, skipping and elastics, trying to spin a hula hoop around your scrawny hips, or bouncing on a trampoline? Another question: did you ever notice the insane amounts of energy those activities required? I’m guessing not. That’s because you were too busy having fun.

There’s no rule stating you can’t do these activities over the age of 11, and you might be surprised by how effectively they get your heart rate up. You can pick up skipping ropes and hula hoops pretty cheaply for a home workout, or book a session at a trampolining centre to really work up a sweat. And, just quietly, a game of ‘Catch and Kiss’ with your significant other might also do great things for your fitness...


Skipping is a great way to get your heart rate up! Image: iStock.

3. Go dancing.

Even if your moves aren’t particularly graceful or coordinated, dancing is the ultimate non-exercise exercise. If you’d rather eat your own hair than go clubbing, try a dance class instead. In the bigger cities around the country, you can find classes that are a little left of centre (no offence, ballet).

It’s also not rare to find bars and even gyms that offer social salsa dancing nights, so keep your eyes peeled. And, if that’s all too modern for you, see if you can find Charleston, Lindy Hop or swing lessons - they’ll really get you sweating, but smiling at the same time.

A cheaper option: find a dance fitness tutorial on Youtube, clear the lounge room, and work it.


"If you’d rather eat your own hair than go clubbing, try a dance class instead." Image: iStock.

4. Make your social time slightly more active.

Catch-ups over brunch are delightful, but it’s good to shake things up every now and then - if you play your cards right, you can knock over exercise and social time in one blow.

Instead of cafe-hopping or hitting the cinema, try something a little more adventurous… and, ahem, active. You could go rock-climbing, surfing or snorkelling, book in for a trapeze class (trust me, you will feel aches in muscles you didn’t know even existed), or get a big group together for a session of laser tag. Because you’re with friends, you’ll have such a swell time you’ll forget to notice the beads of sweat on your brow.

Grab a takeaway coffee and get walking. Image: iStock.

5. Mix up your walking speed.

In a study last year, researchers found that when subjects alternated their speed while walking, they increased their metabolic rate and the number of calories burned.

This is a ridiculously simple tactic that will amp up the incidental exercise you already do. Next time you find yourself walking to the shops, to work, or wherever your destination happens to be, make a conscious effort to change your pace at various intervals - that might be every 30 seconds or every minute. If you can’t be bothered timing yourself, use your surroundings as a guide; for instance, you might walk one block quickly then slow it down for the next, or use trees as markers.

Easy peasy.

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