So you’ve just woken up from a terrible night’s sleep. Your body is still aching from what felt like a two-hour boot camp workout you did three days ago. You have so much work to do. Can you relate? There are times when we don’t have the availability to workout. Other times, we need to heal and strengthen by allowing our bodies to rest and heal. But what about those times when we know we’d like to work out but we just can’t summon the motivation to get up and get going?
I know the feeling too well. Deep down you know that exercising will make you feel better and experiencing endorphins pumping after a great workout is really where you’d like to be. However, at the same time, your mind is racing to find the best possible excuse to avoid it. Sound familiar? Below I describe my favorite energizing forms of exercise that you can do from home (or while traveling) at those times when you really don’t feel like working out.
7 Alternative Forms of Exercise
Luckily, there are many ways you can move your body that can be a great workout at home. A 45-minute spin class or an hour of a rigorous boot camp aren’t the only ways to get the body moving. The next time you’re feeling unmotivated ask yourself this, ‘What I am in the mood for?’ Perhaps you really don’t want to go to the gym today but walking to the office might make a nice change. Or if you’re still hurting from a previous session, deep stretching might be just what your body is yearning for.
For me, it’s the times then I don’t feel like exercising that always end up being the best workouts at home. I finish feeling alive, proud of myself for deciding to move that day. These seven alternative forms of exercise will still leave you feeling strong, invigorated and ready to take on the day.
Yoga is all about the connection between body, mind and breath. It’s the perfect form of exercise for when you need a bit of grounding. Yoga allows the body to move in gentle or more challenging sequences while rejuvenating the mind and balancing ourselves. Yoga is also a great way to stretch out the body first thing in the morning with a practice that will ground you for the rest of the day. If you’re not feeling like jumping around or sweating buckets, yoga might be the perfect form of movement you’re after.
Take a Walk
Walking can be both functional and mindful and whichever way you do it, it counts as exercise. Skip the run and go for a long walk around your neighborhood or to a nearby park and reconnect with nature. You can also incorporate it into your daily routine by walking to work or by running your errands on foot instead of driving or using public transportation.
If you’ve woken up stiff and achy, a short morning session of deep stretching can do wonders for elongating the body to make you feel less tense and more flexible. Stretching out any sore muscles increases blood flow, allowing them to recover faster. If you’ve had a stressful day at work, deep stretching can also be extremely beneficial for relieving stress and leaving worries behind, allowing you to get on with your evening.
Join a Class
Joining an exercise group or class online can be a great motivator by holding you accountable for workouts, especially if it is just a little motivation you’re lacking. Making a commitment often helps us to stick to it — and the same rings true for workouts at home. If you find it really difficult to exercise on Mondays, for example, joining a class might be the ideal motivator to get you out of bed and set the tone for the rest of the week.
While not officially considered a form of exercise, you are technically moving while cleaning. Cleaning, sweeping, vacuuming, scrubbing and washing are all actions that involve a lot of movement, especially in the upper body. This is one of my favorite things to do when I don’t feel like working out. It’s movement without feeling like exercise — and you also end up with a sparkling clean house as an extra bonus.
A Tabata workout is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) method that involves 20 seconds of active movement followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times. Ideally, all you need is four bodyweight exercises of your choice and a Tabata timer app that can be downloaded onto your phone. This workout at home is just 4 minutes long, so it’s superb for anyone pushed for time or for when you don’t want to do too much for too long.
With summer fast approaching we’re looking for the perfect place to cool off. There’s nothing better than a refreshing swim on a summer’s evening after a sweaty, muggy day at work. Use this desire to cool off by combining a short dip with a long swim. Not only will the cool water be just what your body needs but swimming is also one of the best forms of exercise.