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Eight workouts that don't feel like exercise

Summer never seems to last long enough and it can be difficult to spend that fleeting time inside a gym. But luckily, summer is a great time to try new outdoor activities. The best activities for summer are ones that don't feel like exercise. Try one of these eight workouts to reap the fitness benefits outside the gym. 

 Eight workouts that don't... Rock Climbing

1. Rock climbing

Whether you are bouldering five feet off the ground or top rope climbing 60 feet off the ground, this sport will give you a rush of endorphins. Rock climbing is a challenging, full-body workout that combines strength, endurance and flexibility into one workout. You don't need to be super fit to participate, good technique is more important than physical strength. I've found Vertical Endeavors to be a great resource for beginners to frequent climbers with climbing walls of varying difficulty. I always find inspiration watching the elite climbers, too.

 Eight workouts that don't... Paddleboarding

2. Paddle boarding

Stand up paddle boarding requires your leg, back and abdominal muscles to work together to maintain balance. While your arms, back and shoulders are used to propel the paddleboard in the water. This is a great social activity—I tried paddle boarding for the first time during my bachelorette party on Lake Minnetonka. The combination of friends, beautiful scenery and getting in a workout is excellent. 

 Eight workouts that don't... kayaking

3. Kayaking
This is a great way to connect with nature and see the world from a new viewpoint—the water. Kayaking is a low impact activity that reduces the stress put on joints. As most of the strength to power a kayak comes from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs this workout is great for strengthening the torso and legs. Depending on the amount of effort you put into it, kayaking can also improve your aerobic fitness.

 Eight workouts that don't...  self defense

4. Self-defense/martial arts

Strengthen your physical fitness, concentration and confidence all while learning to protect yourself and your loved ones with martial arts. Balance is something we can lose quickly. I like that martial arts improves balance and core strength. For me, martial arts has been a go-to exercise to help with stress relief.

 Eight workouts that don't... biking

5. Biking

Biking is a healthy pastime that children and adults of all ages can enjoy together. You can spend quality time with your family and friends while getting a workout. Fortunately for us in Minnesota, there are thousands of miles of paved bike paths for us to enjoy safely. Don't have a bike? Try renting a bike from Nice Ride Minnesota. I have a friend who did a 24-hour challenge to get to every Nice Ride station in St. Paul and Minneapolis. I'm considering taking the challenge myself! 

 Eight workouts that don't...  dancing

6. Dancing

If you've seen the transformations on Dancing with the Stars, you know dancing is a fantastic way to increase cardiovascular endurance and build muscle strength. The best part, you rarely feel like you're doing anything active—it's just fun. Check your local Community Education offerings for a variety of dance classes (with and without partners), at a reasonable price. Or, just turn on some music and freestyle.

 Eight workouts that don't...  swimming

7. Swimming

Your mind immediately went to swimming laps, didn't it? Sure, swimming laps will help increase cardiovascular endurance and muscles strength. But you don't have to just swim laps. Using a kickboard (to focus on leg muscles) or leg floats (to focus on arm muscles) has offered me a fresh approach to swimming. Splashing around, trying underwater handstands, somersaults and doing cannonballs is exercise, too. 

 Eight workouts that don't... hiking

8.      Hiking

Whether you are a regular exerciser or just starting out, hiking is great way to get some fresh air, increase your endurance and strengthen muscle. Bring along your family or friends and make it a social event as well—maybe finish with a picnic. My family purchased a book with hiking trails in the Minnesota Metro. Our goal is to hit every trail in the next year. It has been a great way for us to explore new areas and have family time.


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