Tired of the same old workout that you always do? Tired of boring repetitions? Tired of doing it because you think you should?
I can't stand being bored. For years that meant I didn't exercise as much as I should have. Unfortunately, I can't go back and exercise more in those years. Fortunately, I found movement based workouts and realized that exercise didn't have to be boring torture. In fact, the best "workouts" don't even seem like workouts at all.
Here is a list of my favorite movement based activities that are both fun and great for your health.
Anyone who claims that yoga is just stretching with a fancy name doesn't do yoga. Yes, there is a lot of stretching in yoga, but it does much more than that. It's increases flexibility, yes. But it also increases strength and stamina as well. Some of the hardest "workouts" I've even done have been in the yoga studio.
While I highly recommend that you start doing yoga in a studio with a qualified teacher, once you get the hang of it, there are some great online and app yoga programs out there. My two favorites are Daily Yoga and Dylan Warner's program in the Cody App.
For complete beginners, I highly recommend the Iyengar style of yoga.
Especially if you think you are not flexible enough to do yoga. This tradition specializes in altering the moves so that anyone can do yoga safely. It's where I started and I'm very glad I did. I have since taken other beginner classes just to try them out and haven't found any as good as Iyengar.
Aerial Hammock / Harness / Fabric / Etc
I love aerial hammock classes. If I could chose only one type of movement to do, it would be this one.
Aerial classes come in many forms based on the equipment that you will be using in the class. I've taken hammock (1 piece of fabric that makes a loop), fabric (1 pieces of fabric hanging separately from the ceiling), and harness (imagine climbing down the side of a building in a harness). Each type has it's pluses and minuses and it really is personal preference as to which you might prefer. Just try all of them and focus on the ones you find the most fun.
Aerial classes can sometimes be hard to find, but they are offered in most large cities. Recently, a new craze in aerial yoga has emerged which is making aerial classes more common. Aerial yoga uses the same hammock from regular hammock classes, but focus on stretching more than on strength and skills like you get in regular hammock classes.
If you are ever in Houston, check out Vault which is the studio I started in. I started taking their AirTone classes twice a week and I got in the best shape I've ever been in my life.
I'm new to Krav Maga and have only taken a couple begineer level classes in it, but I'm really loving this form of movement. Unlike martial arts, Krav Maga is focused on self defense. It's all about learning to survive in a life threatening situation.
My first experience with Krav Maga was a self defense clinic taught by a 70 year old guy that looked a lot like Clint Eastwood. This guy was a badass! I'm sure he could take on guys twice is size and half his age without even breaking a sweat. But the best thing about him is that his focus was about helping women learn to protect themselves. He wanted to make sure we learned the lessons so we could fight if the need arose.
When I get back that area, I'm definitely planning on taking more classes from him. In the meantime, I'm finding Krav Maga classes wherever I am and trying to learn as much as I can. And this is definitely a workout!
I love being upside down. It's so much fun! Gymnastics is mostly strength training, but you are training for a reason: to be able to do the gymnastic moves.
You are training so you can do handstands, flips, bar tricks, and more. So while this feels more like a workout than, say, a Krav Maga class, the goal at the end makes it a whole lot funner than you regular workout. Plus, it's not all strength work. There is also a lot of skill work that goes in which is just plain fun.
Adult gymnastics can be a bit hard to find. Usually gymnastic gyms are open to kids under the age of 18 only, but they are out there. If you are ever in Denver, check out Awaken Gymnastics. It's a gymnastic studio that is ONLY for adults. People travel from all over the world to train there.
Parkour / Freerunning
You've probably seen the videos of guys running straight up multi-story buildings and doing flips over stairwells and such. Parkour has gotten this stigma that it's only for daredevils and crazy people, but that's not true! When trained correctly, it can be both safe and fun!
I'm still very new at parkour, but it's something that I'm definitely interested in training more in.
I haven't personally read it, but I've heard great things about the Parkour Strength Training book. Parkour takes just as much strength and skill and gymnastics. It's just applied differently.
Ninja Warrior / Obstacle Course Training
This year, I got really into watching American Ninja Warrior and wanted to give it a try so I signed up for an introduction to obstacle course training class. The classes was followed by a mock obstacle course race which really kicked my butt, but it was so much fun!
When it was over, I realized that I had essentially worked out for 2.5 hours without it ever seeming like a workout at all. We learned proper technique on each obstacle and just tried to do them. When one obstacle got boring or frustrating, I just moved to a different one and came back to that one later.
While I only took the one classes, it was one of the best workouts I have ever had. It rivaled the aerial classes! I could see that taking these obstacle course classes would lead to a wonderful level of fitness!
If you are ever in Las Vegas, NV or Boise, ID, check out Camp Rhino Gym for some great obstacle course classes.
Swing dancing is how I started in movement. In college, I walked by a swing dance workshop and watched the people dancing and knew I had to try it. That started a 5 year very intense obsession with dancing that included a couple years of teaching it myself.
I started out doing East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop, but over the years, I've moved to West Coast Swing as my main dance. If you want a workout without noticing you are getting one, try swing. It can be fast and fun or slow and beautiful. It just depends on what song is playing. Want to know what it looks like, here is a video of west coast swing by two really good dancers.
Swing lessons can be found in most larger US cities and you don't need a partner to come to a dance or lesson. Unlike most country dancing venues, swing dances are not places to hit on girls or pick up a date, so you don't have to worry about this. Of course, there are occasional exceptions to that, but they are pretty few and far between.
Contact Improv isn't really a workout, but it's a lot of fun! But it's not for touch-phobic people. It's all about safe, non-sexual contact dancing with other people.
It might look strange, but it's fun. If you don't mind some person-to-person contact, I highly recommend giving this a try. It's definitely a way to mix up your movement practice!
Contact Improv can be hard to find, but you should be able to find jams in major cities.
Slack Lining is common in the rock climbing community, but it does have a following in it's own right. The concept is simple. There is a flat rope stretched between two points and you try to balance on it. It takes a lot of core conditioning to be able to do it.
Once you can balance, you can start learning tricks on the slack line to. Some people can do jumps, flips, and more all while landing and balancing on a slack line.
Calisthenics / Street Workout
Street workout is a form of workout that emphasizes using bars that are found outside to do body weight exercises on. The goal is to be able to do advanced moves on street bars like those found in most playgrounds. This form of workout doesn't need a gym although any parkour gym would have the bars needed to practice it.
Calisthenics are those body weight exercises used to train in street workout (and many other things). Calisthenics is any sort of exercise that uses your own body weight as resistance to build your strength. Usually done in circuit style, calisthenics can give you a full body workout with limited equipment and no weights.
I'm biased, but I really love Calisthenics Academy's program for customized calisthenics-based workouts. And it's just getting better everyday!
This isn't an exhaustive list of movement activities, but it contains all of my current favorites. When I go to a new city, I look each of these up online to see what that city offers me and I try to take advantage of as many new opportunities as I can.
You can check out my resources page to see a list of the places I have visited and the things that I tried in each place.
Hopefully this has given you some new ideas for forms of movement that you can incorporate into your own life. Or at least something new to try!