How Do You Make Your Workout Fun?

Last year when Reebok was conducting market research for their next big product launch, they looked at a survey of 15,000 women across 25 different countries--discovered that while nearly half of all women know that exercise is very important to their overall health, less than 25% participate in fitness often. Why? Nearly two-thirds said they’d workout more if it was more fun. More than half felt that exercise was a chore.


Last year when Reebok was conducting market research for their next big product launch, they looked at a survey of 15,000 women across 25 countries—and discovered that although nearly half of all women know that exercise is very important to their overall health, less than 25% participate in fitness often. Why? Nearly two-thirds said they'd work out more if it were more fun. More than half felt that exercise was a chore.

That next big product launch turned out to be their Jukari Fit to Fly fitness classes, a very cool experience that I can tell you firsthand makes fitness more fun. But even after I tried out a Jukari class, those survey results stuck with me. Sure working out is often the last thing we want to be doing with our valuable time, but it's sad to see that the "un-fun" factor is turning so many people off from exercise completely.

It doesn't have to be that way, though. Sometimes it just takes some creative effort to figure out what you really enjoy—and don't enjoy—doing. Hate running? Join a walking or biking group, or try a new sport, such as roller blading, instead. Can't stand the gym? Take your workout outdoors in the summer, and bundle up for some hiking or skiing in the winter. Still can't get motivated? Try these tips.

Join a club
Sign up for an adventure club that organizes weekend activities, or search web sites such as meetup.org to find informal group meetings near you.

Involve your friends
In lieu of joining an official club (and paying official club fees), my girlfriends and I have worked out our own system in which we take turns planning ski trips, surfing and kayaking lessons, fitness classes, and hiking explorations. As an added benefit, it has also inspired me to work out more on my own. No one wants to be left in the dust on the slopes!

Try new equipment
Testing out the Jukari Fit to Fly class was fun for me because it was a totally new experience—the same way I felt when I first attempted snowboarding. The novelty of doing something unexpected helps distract from the actual work involved, and it's a great way to work muscles that don't normally get used.

Make it a game
One of the most physically demanding days I've had in the last month (and I'm training for a triathlon, so that's saying a lot) was when I competed in a New York City–wide scavenger hunt—a fundraiser for a friend's charity. We spent the afternoon running around Manhattan, snapping photos and tossing souvenirs into our backpacks, while racing against the clock—and other teams. It definitely took care of our 10,000 steps (and then some!) for that day.

Revisit your childhood
Remember when running around all day was actually fun? Dedicate a day to gather your friends and do something you haven't done since you were kids: Host a skating party at the roller rink, set up a kickball game after work, work out with a hula hoop, or ride the roller coasters at a local theme park—just be sure to spend most of your day walking, rather than just standing in line.

Reward yourself
Give yourself something to look forward to once you've finished your workout, like a relaxing night in with a movie and a glass of wine. Or set a larger fitness goal and a larger reward for once you've reached it, like a hard-earned day at the spa.

Get results now
Maybe losing weight and getting healthier aren't enough of a motivation for you—or you just don't see results quickly enough to really care. Instead, participate in an activity where you can feel like you've really made a difference even after just one day. Spending a day planting flowers in your garden or picking up litter in the park gives you all the benefits of exercise, plus you'll feel extra productive after a job well done.

Learn what you like
Think hard about what types of activities you enjoy and where you'd like to improve, and develop a fitness regimen around that. If you need help getting started, ask yourself these questions.

    Most people who don't enjoy exercise have a hard time because they're not used to it. And if you're carrying around extra pounds or are plagued by injuries, it can make getting started that much harder. But once you find a routine that's safe and doable for your fitness level, these activities will slowly start to get easier and you'll start to enjoy yourself more and more—both during your actual workout and, as you become more fit, in your everyday life.

    How do you make your workouts fun—or at least bearable? We asked our Facebook fans the same question and here's what they suggested. Please share your own strategies below.
    Amanda MacMillan
    Last Updated: May 06, 2009

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