23 Ideas to Make Exercise Feel Like PLAY Again


Are you tired of hearing yourself say things like?

  • “I need to go for a run.”
  • “I should go to the gym.”
  • “I need to work out harder.”
  • “I ought to exercise more.”

Whatever happened to the days when we COULDN’T WAIT TO GET OUT AND PLAY!?

Intervals, HITT training, CrossFit, bootcamp…harder, faster, more….


Enough of the “have to’s”, “ought to’s”, “need to’s” and “should’s”.

I am ready for an era of PLAY, FUN, MOVING and GAMES.

Exercise doesn’t have to be about how hard, how long or how much you move your body. It can be about moving your body in ways that spark joy, laughter, fun and good feelings.

The Benefits of Exercising & Moving Your Body

We already know some of the benefits of moving your body, it:

  • Improves mood
  • Boosts energy
  • Promotes better sleep
  • Improves strength & cardiovascular health
  • Helps counter depression
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Boosts brain power

What would a less traditional, more enjoyable approach to moving your body look like?

Warning: What follows may sound like fun, it may sound like it is just for kids, it may even sound like every day, ordinary activity. But…

Know: All of these activities use: a variety of muscles, a wide range of motion, flexibility, agility, strength, and endurance. What’s important is that you choose wisely.

Proceed with care: Choose activities that speak to you. You can do them alone or with friends, indoors or outdoors. Some require equipment, others do not. They can be done for five minutes or three hours…as long as they remain fun and enjoyable!

Non-Traditional Exercises to Practice & Enjoy!

  1. Hula-Hooping
  2. Skipping and Galloping
  3. Jump Roping or Skip-its
  4. Hopscotch
  5. Play-Fit Circuit (a Green Mountain special combination of play activities, done in a circuit fashion for a minute each, such as jump rope, hula hoop, skipping, scarf throwing, hand clapping and more. Look for a play-fit video soon!)
  6. Medicine Ball Slams (great to release stress and tension)
  7. Roller Blading
  8. Climbing Walls
  9. Zip Lines
  10. Nature Circuit Walking (using trees, benches, curbs and more)
  11. Mall Walk Intervals
  12. Cleaning Dance Mix (alone, with friends, in celebration, down the street)
  13. Drumming fun (another Green Mountain hit!)
  14. Hoover Ball (Medicine ball Newcomb)
  15. Medicine Ball Hot Potato
  16. Medicine Ball Tennis
  17. Tennis Ball Scramble
  18. Hand Clapping Games (try them on one leg)
  19. Playground fun with Kids
  20. Foot Golf (Soccer and Golf Combo, my personal favorite)
  21. Disc Golf
  22. Water Running
  23. Water Drumming with Short Noodles

Simple Directions for More Play!

  • Try new places!  Playgrounds, beaches, ponds, pools, fields, tennis courts, malls, hills, and mountains.
  • Ask a friend (or friends) to join you.
  • Be open minded – expand your repertoire to keep things fun.
  • Be non-judgmental – do what you can. It’s not about how you look or compare to others.
  • Experiment. Search for new places to walk, recruit a family member to head to the playground with you, try an activity that feels a little outside your comfort zone.
  • Take a break from traditional exercise options.
  • Remember it is not about how long you go, how hard you play or how many calories you burn (what a thrill killer). It’s about moving your body the way it was meant to move: enjoy, with play, with laughter, and with excitement.

Reconnect with the I CAN’T WAIT TO GO OUT AND PLAY person that lives inside you!

For more information on any of the above games or circuits, please feel free to call or email us at info@fitwoman.com.

One response to “23 Ideas to Make Exercise Feel Like PLAY Again”

  1. AmberLynn says:

    Love this list! I think it’s the perfect time to invite your friends over for make your own Olympic events!

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About the Author

Anne Poirier, BS, CSCS, CIEC

Former Program Director at Green Mountain | Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy

By sharing experiences and lessons learned through her writing, Anne’s goal is to first, help women finally feel free enough to break away from their dieting chains and learn how to listen and honor their body’s internal cues. Second, to discover and experience more joy in moving their bodies and finally, understand the importance of taking time for themselves. Her philosophy of strengthening the connections among participants’ minds, hearts and bodies fits perfectly with Green Mountain’s philosophy of lasting change through comprehensive, integrative health programming. Anne is the Program Director at Shaping Perspectives - A Woman’s Way to Joy and former Program Director at Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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