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Workout Alternatives: Don’t Let Boredom Ruin Your Fitness!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

workout alternatives

Weight lifting and cardio are great, but are you utilizing workout alternatives to keep your exercises fresh and engaging?

No matter how motivated you are, if you're doing the same workouts over and over again, they're going to lose effectiveness.

More importantly, boredom can lead to losing motivation, and zero workouts means zero effectiveness.

That's why you need to pepper in some workout alternatives!

You need to be creative in adding new activities to keep you feeling healthy and strong without interrupting your busy schedule.

Whether it's at home or at the gym, inside or outside, the same old workout routines can become stale.

When this happens, workout alternatives are a great way to stay motivated and accountable to your fitness goals.

Choosing new activities to stay in shape will also guarantee that you will pick workouts that you actually enjoy.

This is important because the best exercise is the exercise that you will actually get up and do!

Mixing up your routine with different and unconventional workouts is one way to accomplish this.

Get started today with some of our favorite workout alternatives!

Looking to restart your fitness plan? Get motivated with these top tips on how to get back into working out!

Top 8 Workout Alternatives

Cross Country Skiing

Let’s face it … the treadmill can become a real drag after a while.

Since the cold and dark winter months can make it tough to get outside on a regular basis, you need to find engaging cardio activities, both indoors and outside.

Outdoor aerobic winter workouts like skiing and snowboarding are great ways to enjoy the outdoors, and get some killer cardio in the process.

Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of strength training in the upper and lower body.

One study from The Journal of Sports Science & Medicine showed that alpine and cross country skiing have awesome cardio benefits and can build lower body strength similar to indoor cycling.

And since it’s hard to jump on a bike with snow and ice, this is a great alternative exercise in the winter months.

Trail Hikes or Runs

Just because it's the winter doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an awesome walk or run along the trails.

Plus, hiking is an excellent workout for the whole family.

Try to find some trails nearby and get everyone out for the day to explore

Hiking builds cardiovascular fitness, along with lower body and core strength.

Plus, hiking on more technical trails will improve your balance and coordination.

This can be even more challenging in the winter with snowy trails.

Not only will hiking improve your physical health, it also has amazing benefits for your mental well being.

Studies on the Appalachian Trail have shown that hiking increases the quality of life, self-reliance, fun and enjoyment of life, and warm relationships with others.

So not only will you be improving the physical health of yourself and your family, but you will be building stronger bonds along the way as you enjoy nature and all of its surroundings.

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is another fun and different activity that can build serious aerobic fitness and lower body strength.

Studies have found that snowshoeing helps maintain, and even improve, cardiovascular fitness.

According to Snowsports Industries of America, snowshoers can burn more than 45 percent more calories than walking or running at the same speed.

You can snowshoe anywhere that there is snow, even right in your own backyard.

If you want to try it out without committing to buying your own snowshoes, many ski and snowboard stores will rent out equipment.

Play a Video Game

In the past, video games were never thought of as a way as staying physically active.

But with new gaming consoles, you can now combine exercise with gaming.

Many video game consoles now let you play sports or practice some hot dance moves, which gets you up and moving around the family room.

And you can even compete against your kids at home!

Rowing Workouts

If you have access to a rowing machine either at your gym or at home, this is another great way to get in a cardio and strength workout.

Rowing machine exercises are also an excellent way to fit in a high intensity interval workout while also building upper and lower body strength.

For example, you can try out this efficient high-intensity rowing workout to add some variety to your everyday cardio.

Start with a 5 minute warm-up at an easy pace.

For the intervals, you can try a few different options.

  • Workout 1: Row at a high intensity for 40 seconds, then follow with 20 seconds of easy rowing. Repeat this 10-15 times.
  • Workout 2: Row at a medium intensity for 4 minutes, then slow down to an easier pace for 2 minutes. Repeat this 3-4 times.

Cool Down: Row for 5 minutes at a leisurely pace.

Rowing is a fun way to spice up your cardio that works your entire body, and is an excellent alternative to running or biking when you want to change things up.

best exercise for men 40+

What Are The 5 Best Muscle Building Exercises For Men 40+?

best exercise for men 40+
The secret to building age-defying muscle in your in 40s, 50s, & 60s is to modify the best muscle building exercises (bench, squats, rows) to make them safe on your joints…

At-Home High-Intensity Interval Training

You can set up your own at home circuit training with minimal equipment to get a fun, and effective, strength and cardio workout.

High intensity interval training is a great cardio option to burn calories in a short amount of time. But it’s not just a cardiovascular benefit you will be getting.

HIIT involves doing intervals of an exercise at the hardest effort you can sustain for a given period of time.

You can do pretty much any exercise you choose during these intervals.

This gives you the opportunity to train multiple muscle groups so that you will build lean muscle while you simultaneously burn fat.

Research has even shown that HIIT is effective at increasing muscle size over a three week period of time.

And while you don’t want to rely solely on interval workouts to build muscle, this shows that on days when you can’t get to the gym to lift weights, HIIT is still an excellent alternative.

Start with an easy warm-up to get your muscles primed for the main set.

Warm-Up

Do each move for 30 seconds, then move to the next. Repeat twice through and then start on the main set.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Butt Kickers
  • High Knees
  • Jog in Place

Main Set

Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest 30 seconds before immediately starting the next move.

Rest for one minute after the circuit, then repeat two more times.

Tuck Jumps

  • Hold your hands in front of you at chest height with your palms down.
  • Dip down into a quarter squat and immediately jump upward.
  • Drive the knees towards the chest, attempting to touch them to the palms of your hands.
  • Then land by re-extending your legs with knees slightly bent.
  • Repeat as quickly as possible for 30 seconds.

Side to Side Push-Ups

  • Start in a push-up position.
  • Move to the right with your right arm and right leg while bending at the elbows to lower your chest to the ground in a push-up.
  • Extend your arms to return to the top.
  • Then repeat to the left side.
  • Continue alternating sides.

V Push-Ups

  • Start in a push up position and then lift up your hips up so that your body forms an upside-down V.
  • Keep your legs and arms straight.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your upper body until the top of your head nearly touches the floor.
  • Pause, and then push yourself back up until your arms are straight.

Russian Twist

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about a foot from your butt while holding a dumbbell in both hands.
  • Lean slightly back without rounding your back.
  • Twist slowly to the left, bringing the weight to your left side.
  • Then rotate to the right with the weight.
  • Continue alternating sides.
  • Make sure you are using your abs and not just swinging your arms.
  • You can do this with your feet on the ground, or you can hover the feet above the ground for an added challenge.

Increase Relaxation and Flexibility with Yoga or Pilates

A lot of dads out there don’t think about yoga or Pilates when it comes to getting a workout.

The truth is, these forms of exercise will build strength, flexibility, and improve your range of motion.

This, in turn ,will improve all of your other workouts.

A lot of gyms offer yoga classes for all different levels. But again, with COVID keeping many gym doors closed, you can always try online yoga classes right from your living room.

Yoga will not only improve your physical strength, but will also enhance concentration, relaxation, and you mental well being.

TRX Bands

Resistance training using suspension bands is a great alternative workout when you get bored with the same old dumbbell and resistance band workouts.

TRX bands are a type of suspension training where you use your bodyweight and gravity to get you killer full body workouts.

These exercises can be done just about anywhere where you can hang the bands, and you can modify the moves to match your abilities.

TRX bands are one of the most versatile pieces of home workout equipment.

Like resistance bands, they are easy to pack up and travel with, or fold up and keep around the house.

These bands allow you to use your body weight as resistance while you get a full body workout using something known as “suspension training.”

There are tons of different exercises that can be done with these bands so that your workouts never get boring.

Not only can you target all of your muscles just like with free weights, but TRX bands also force you to engage your core and stabilizer muscles as you balance throughout the movements.

This adds an additional challenge to your workouts.

And TRX bands even have research supporting their fitness benefits.

A study from The International Journal of Research in Exercise Physiology found that regular participation in TRX Suspension Training improved muscular fitness.

Not only that, but there were improvements in major cardiovascular disease risk factors including reductions in waist circumference, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and body fat.

TRX bands come with great diagrams that demonstrate all types of suspension training workouts that will help build strength and tone your muscles.

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Stay Accountable and Motivated with Workout Alternatives

It can be easy to skip a workout when you feel burnt out or bored with the same old routine.

One way to avoid this is to add some variety to your fitness program with workout alternatives.

When you include new activities in your weekly fitness routine, you will soon find yourself actually looking forward to working out.

So don’t let the dark winter days and boring, monotonous workouts let you give up on your health goals.

Try some of these fresh and alternative activities today and get pumped up for your next workout!

Holly Smith

Holly Smith D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on workout alternatives.

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