Portrait of woman doing sit ups with friends at fitness studio

10 Ways to Make Exercise Fun

(Last Updated On: March 26, 2021)

Let’s Get Moving with These Tips For Exercise Motivation

Are you still dreading returning to the gym? Rest assured, you are not alone. Whether you have avoided the gym for a the last year, it’s time to get back to your exercise program. Below are a dozen tips to get you back into your fitness program and have fun while you are doing it. As with any new exercise program, you’ll want to check in with your doctor to make sure you are ready to start working out…again.

Build that Exercise Muscle

It’s hard to build that exercise habit and start exercising again! 

Do you really like to exercise? Or are you sick and tired of doing the same routine? What can you do to make exercise more fun? Expand your exercise repertoire and try something new! Here are 10 ideas to make exercise fun and your routine more enjoyable. Like a cappuccino to start your day, any one of these tips will enliven your next exercise session.



#1 Listen to the music  

Sounds obvious, right? But, putting together a good song list will invigorate your exercise program. And in fact, according to this article in Scientific American, Let’s Get Physical: The Psychology of Effective Workout Music, people workout harder when they are listening to music. Obviously, the faster the music, the faster you move. Music also serves as a distraction, making the time go by quicker than working out without music. This is especially true in less intense exercise. It’s proven that people perform better, especially during races, when they listen to music. That’s why several marathons have actually banned participants from listening to music. So, update your playlist, download your fastest and favorites and your workout will not only be better and but more fun!

#2 Buy some cool workout threads

Wearing old, worn-out capris, torn t-shirts when you workout? That’s a drag! It’s time to step up your workout and your wardrobe. A new outfit spices up any workout – feeling good is looking good! The latest trendy capris – those with transparency and wild patterns – can be found at high-end stores like Athleta and Lululemon or for more modest options try Kohl’s for Fila and Target for Champion. Try some fitness motivating t-shirts, too (just click on image below). Sexy and trendy workout clothes might be just the thing to make exercise more fun for you!

#3 Make your own Exercise Shuffle

There are many reasons why you should consider an exercise “shuffle.” By creating a new exercise routine leveraging different cardio machines and exercise, you will be re-engaged with your cardio and have some fun! For an exercise shuffle, you pick and choose several different types of exercises (with or without machines) as you would order from a menu. Then, you follow the new routine, moving from activity to activity.  

For instance, make a list of all your cardio and weight training options (at least 6 items)

Ideally, the different exercise options should be in one location or close by (for easy switching)

  1. Like a triathlon with three different segments, select the 3-6 sessions to create your shuffle
  2. Determine your total exercise session time
  3. Assign minutes for each session that add to your total
  4. Bam! That’s your exercise shuffle
Chart outlining an exercise "shuffle" example.
Select your exercises and time to create an exercise “shuffle!”

#4 Try a new class or personal training session

You may have more interest in trying a new activity than with the same, day-in-and-day-out routine. So to end the boredom and add some fun, do things differently. If you belong to a gym, try a new class – spin, pilates, yoga, or CrossFit. Or hire a personal trainer for an hour session purely for the reason to freshen up your workout routine. Even the most experienced exerciser can sharpen their form or learn a new weight-lifting technique. Or take it outside (beach or lake) and try Standup Paddleboard.  Standing on an oversized, longboard, you use a paddle to navigate across flat, calm waters. It’s not easy but very challenging and uses muscles in your entire body. Former pro surfer Jodi Nelson describes it as “hiking on water.”

#5 Check out an exercise app – Peloton and Aaptiv app

Exercise apps are a terrific way to have more fun and challenging. The Peloton app for spinning offers the same on-demand classes as the famous bike and studio. Unlimited usage of the classes, including live streaming ones, is just $13.99 per month and can be accessed by downloading the Peloton app in iTunes. After taking a few of the classes, you can adjust the endurance level accordingly. While you don’t have to use the Peloton spin bike, it is best to use the app in coordination with a spin bike that offers some digital readings – like RPMs and wattage. With the app, you’ll have access to the world’s best spin instructors at a fraction of the cost. The heart-pumping cycling routines are fun and will elevate your spin workouts.

And, for even greater variety, check out the Aaptiv app. This highly-recommended app offers a free 30-day trial.  Aaptiv combines the instruction of a personal trainer with perfect playlists to create workouts you can do anytime, anywhere. Want to liven up your elliptical or stairclimber workout? Aaptiv offers thousands of classes at all levels and lengths. Treadmill, outdoor running, yoga classes are also available along with other ones. After the trial period, the app is just $9.99 per month. 

blue green Aaptiv logo
Aaptiv App provides thousands of downloadable audio classes!

#6 Move it outdoors

woman biking outside near horses
Enjoy the endless views when you bike outside!

Hike with a friend, ride a bike, walk your dog – it all counts as fun exercise! Unlike an inside gym environment while you are on a treadmill or elliptical, exercising outside has ever-changing views! In one study, researchers found that exercising outdoors “was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity.” Also,  you may want to try the Aaptiv app which provides amazing guided outdoor runs that even include voice prompts, suggesting that you turnaround in your route when you are halfway thru. Heart pumping music, experienced trainers set the mood as you will be surprised how fast your workout passes.

Outdoor Workout Routines for Women

#7 Workout with friends

Three women power walking through a city center
These women are walking before they start jogging for their Run, Walk, Jog routine.

Working out with a friend checks off several things – catching up, holding each other accountable, and achieving a goal together. Plus, by making exercise plans with a friend, scheduling the time in your calendar, you will be less likely to tell yourself, “I don’t feel like exercising today” and cancel your plans.  According to a study by Kansas State University, people who worked out with someone they perceived as better “increased their intensity and workout time by as much as 200 percent.” Plus, to learn some new techniques for your workout and lower the expense, you could share the cost of a personal training session with a friend. It’s helpful if your friend is at a similar fitness level or slightly more advanced. However, enjoying a bike ride or taking a zumba class together should be good for both of you.

#8 Take to the water and swim some laps!

When is the last time you got into the water for some exercise? Go to your local YMCA or find your nearest pool and jump in! Swimming is a great way to enjoy a low-impact workout and it’s also a good way to relax and feel great. Common swimming styles in recreational swimming are breaststroke, backstroke, sidestroke and freestyle. Swimming provides an overall body-toning workout.

The monotony of swimming isn’t a bad thing – it’s highly meditative and provides a natural calming effect. but, if that’s too mellow for you, try some specially-designed waterproof headphones to crank your favorite tunes while pounding away at the laps.  Your swim workout will be more fun if you enjoy exercising to a good playlist! Here are some highly-rated, waterproof, wireless earbuds that can stream your favorite music while you swim.

Check out our post on swimming for your cardio exercise:

Dive Into Swimming Workouts!

#9 Get social! Join a running club, tennis or softball league

Similar to working out with a friend, by joining a sports league or club you’ll minimize the “I don’t feel like exercising today” as you will have more accountability, especially if you’ve paid a participation fee. Plus, it’s fun to do team sports and compete! Besides being good for your body and mind, running with a group can create a sense of community as well as a social outlet for you. There are running clubs across the country. Or, if you haven’t picked up a tennis racquet since high school, you can join a tennis league at any level and get back into playing. Does your company have a softball team? Join this spring or start one! Softball is a great way for people at all fitness levels to enjoy an activity. And, if you are single, clubs and leagues are a great way to connect with other fitness-minded people.

#10 Attention all gamers! 

Borrow your kids’ Xbox and get an exercise “game.” Your Shape Fitness Evolved (Xbox 360) offers a workout program to your fitness level that gets harder as you get stronger. The “game” has workouts with a personal trainer or play fun, family-friendly mini-games as well as classes. As you exercise, you’ll receive specific feedback on your every move so you know you’re doing it correctly. Get real results with a personalized workout from Your Shape Fitness Evolved.

Or try Zumba Fitness Rush, for a total body workout with 42 routines and music tracks, featuring hits from today’s hottest artists along with contagious Zumba originals that let you lose yourself to the music. You’ll have access to 24 different dance styles as you play. Zumba Fitness Rush has fan favorites like Merengue and Cumbia to new additions that include Bollywood, Ragga, Bachata, Latin Pop, Quebradita and more. Both games leverage Kinect technology that enables full body motion tracking for an unencumbered interactive workout.

Whenever you exercise, try to make it fun for yourself! You are more likely to stick to it and look forward to your next session. Please provide comments on how you add fun to your exercise and follow us on Pinterest @ FitFortyForever.

Disclosure: FitFortyForever is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. FitFortyForever is a participant in the Aaptiv Ambassador Program, an affiliate advertising program, which allows us to earn fees by linking to Aaptiv.

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