Living an active lifestyle is a choice that brings with it many positive rewards, such as a greater level of independence and improved physical and mental health. Yet exercising doesn't have to be confined to working out in a gym, or jogging around the block a few times, nor does it have to feel like a chore whilst you are doing it. In reality, exercise can be anything that challenges you physically, whether it is an activity that gets your muscles working, your heart and lungs pumping, or both!

The ways in which you can incorporate more exercise into your lifestyle without logging more hours at the gym are practically endless. It doesn’t matter whether you are an indoor, or an outdoor person, whether you prefer to exercise with others or alone, or whether you like to focus on your physical strength or your cardiovascular endurance, there are so many activities to choose from.

Here are just some examples of productive and enjoyable ways that you can help keep your body fit and healthy, and have a little fun whilst you are at it!

Get sporty - The world of sports is not restricted to football, tennis, baseball or basketball (though these are excellent sports choices!). Sports can be anything from rock climbing, golf, racquetball, swimming, horse riding and even dancing! There are literally hundreds of different sports to choose from, many of which will likely have lessons or games played in areas near you. So, why not consider rallying up some friends for a team, or going it solo, and finding a new sport that will challenge and interest you? You never know, you might just find a new skill you never knew you had!

Embrace the outdoors - Being out in nature offers numerous benefits, such as fresh air, natural beauty and a little peace and quiet. It also provides numerous opportunities to be active and exercise all whilst having fun.

Not sure what outdoor activities might suit you? Here are just some of the outdoor activities you could participate in to keep yourself fit and healthy whilst out enjoying nature:

  • Kayaking/canoeing
  • Rock climbing
  • Spelunking
  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Abseiling
  • Archery
  • Jogging/sprinting
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Horse riding
  • Mountain bike riding
  • Cycling
  • Scuba diving/snorkeling
  • Swimming
  • Bushwalking

Overcome obstacles - 
If you are looking for an exciting challenge, one that will push you to your physical and mental limits, then attempting an obstacle course might be just up your alley!

With courses varying from basic obstacles, such as hurdles, balancing beams and roped walls, to extreme obstacles such as electric shock, iced water, mud pits and even zombies chasing you, you are bound to find something that appeals to you.

Though incorporating obstacles into marathons is no new concept (it has been around since the old Olympics), the people who run these course are getting more and more creative. Obstacle courses run at various times of the year and in different countries all over the globe. Some of the more popular (and slightly more intense) events include:

  • Spartan Race
  • Tough Mudder
  • The Warrior Dash
  • The Civil Military Combine (CMC)
  • The Zombie Mud Run 

Though you can train and attempt one solo, obstacle courses are really great (and challenging) activities that you can get a whole group involved in. That way you can train together as a team by attending local boot camps or even create your own!

Get classy - Most gyms, health centers or local halls, provide numerous types of active classes for you to try.  Classes, such as boxercise, TRX, Pilates, Spin, yoga, and Zumba, are all excellent ways of challenging yourself physically as well as meeting new people. Challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone and try something new, even if you already attend classes on a regular basis.

Workout buddy - Keeping accountable is an excellent way to help achieve your fitness goals, and having a designated workout buddy (or 2, or 3!) will not only help keep you accountable for turning up to train when you say you will, they will also provide a little healthy competition as well. Keep in mind that your workout buddy doesn’t have to be restricted to gym trips, you can also organise fun activities for your weekends, such as sports or outdoor activities, that will get you both out and about and active!

Use your commute time - If fitting in enough time to exercise is something you struggle with due to your work commitments, then why not incorporate your commute to work into your active lifestyle? Not everyone lives close enough to walk or ride all the way to work, however, you can always park halfway and walk the rest, even if it is just once or twice a week!

Make the most of your weekends - For those of us lucky enough to get weekends off, they are a valuable commodity, and many people choose to spend this time with friends and family. Why not involve your friends and family in your plan to be more active by organising a picnic walk in your nearest park, reserve or at the beach? This will not only encourage you to get out and about with the people you care about, it is also a great way to be active. Want to enhance the fun even more? Why not bring along a ball, or a frisbee and incorporate some fun sports as part of your day out!

Dance up a storm - Last, but most certainly not least, go out dancing! Whether it be structured dancing lessons, such as salsa, tango, bachata, hip hop or even pole dancing, or simply freestyle dancing to your favourite band or DJ, dancing is an excellent way to get your heart and lungs pumping whist strengthening and toning your whole body. The best part is that you get to do it your way! You can make plans to go out dancing with friends, or put on your favourite tunes behind closed doors in your living room and dance up a storm!