HealthFocused

Educational health information to improve your well-being.

Unconventional Activities That Keep You Fit

August 7, 2019
Published in: Fitness

A girl jumping on a trampoline

Sometimes it can be difficult to break out of our routines. Whether it's in the meals we eat, the hobbies we enjoy, or even the shows we binge on tv—we are creatures of habit. But if you're finding that getting into a good exercise regimen is difficult to do, maybe you just need to broaden your horizons on physical fitness!

Here are a handful of exercises that may seem a little bit unusual, but they can help push you in the direction of a more physically fit life. If the morning jog hasn't been your go-to, maybe try some of these:

Desk Workouts

Man stretching at his deskYou've been hearing about it for years—sitting at your desk is doing horrible things to your health, and you should get away as often as possible to maintain physical fitness. But for the real workhouse who can't drag themselves away, there may be another option.

Enter desk workouts. While certainly not a replacement for a full fitness regimen, WebMD writes about some of the benefits associated with doing short exercises while staying right in the office. Short 60-second aerobics can help to improve your heart's variability - which has been shown to increase longevity and decrease your heart disease risk.

Pogo

Looking for a workout that will have your coworkers asking you to perform far, far away from your desk? You might give the pogo stick a try. This 100-year-old toy has proven to be an effective tool for staying in shape. Just one hour of pogo will burn 600 calories - which is more than a jog will over the same amount of time!

Jumping on a pogo stick works on several muscles. The muscles in your back and abdomen will work to keep you balanced, your legs, hips, and buttocks will be working to keep the device bouncing up and down. Plus, the fact that a pogo stick can be easily transported and stored makes it a far more practical-to-store device than most exercise machines. Just make sure you have somewhere in mind to properly use it first!

Retro Running

Retro running, running backward.Never really took to jogging or running as your primary form of exercise? Maybe you were just going in the wrong direction. A 2016 study examines the benefits of running backward, also known as "retro running."

First, the exercise is proven to use more energy over the same amount of time, meaning you're working harder. But it also showed that retro running caused less impact on joints than running in the traditional direction.

Does that mean you should flip your morning routine entirely? Well, maybe not. After all, retro running does make it more difficult to see where you are going. While it may not be as damaging to your joints on its own, tripping over a curb could cancel those benefits in just a moment. It's best to use retro running as a supplement—conducted only on trusted flat surfaces you're familiar with.

Trampolines

Is it any surprise that after covering the health benefits of the pogo stick, that this other bouncing mechanism from our collective childhoods wasn't too far behind? A study from the American Council on Exercise found that 20 minutes on a trampoline burned just as many calories as a 20-minute run, but felt less exhausting for subjects to participate in. So it's a high-intensity workout that doesn't seem to tire you out as quickly. It also happens to be a lot of fun, but we suspect we don't have to tell you that.

Trampolines also have the benefit of being a reduced-impact exercise. While not as easy on your joints as something like swimming, the shock absorbed by the trampoline means the impact is going into the material and not your joints. That can help you prevent orthopedic injuries that might accompany something like jogging. Well, so long as you stay on the trampoline. Sticking to a mini-trampoline or exercising in a dedicated trampoline park can minimize the risks that occur.

As always, it's best to consult with your health professional before engaging in any new regular fitness routine. They will be able to cover the benefits of the regimen and let you know if you are fit enough to engage in the activity. For some, it may be better to opt for less strenuous exercises and work your way up.