July 26, 2012 at 2:55 pm EDT | by Kevin M. Norris
Make your workout fun

When was the last time you had fun exercising? If your routine has become a workout — focus on the “work” — and you are struggling with the same mundane routine, it’s past time to kickstart your regimen.

There are lots of exercise options that are fun. Yes, getting on the treadmill four times a week and lifting weights is a widely accepted strategy, but doing that continuously will give you diminished returns in time, not to mention bore you to tears.

To be successful at anything you have to embrace it. I’m not saying you have to love exercise, but there has to be some essence about exercise you enjoy or look forward to or you will not be successful. It boils down to your mindset. A negative attitude will harvest negative results. I know all this mindset mumbo-jumbo sounds cliché, perhaps it is, but I really believe that the way you think and feel about any endeavor will enhance your experience. And if you can create an exercise program that is also fun and enjoyable, your results will come more easily.

Weight training, cardiovascular activity, stretching, core conditioning and nutrition are the key elements to getting fit, but you don’t have to be conventional with your exercise activities to get and stay fit. It’s thinking outside the box and embracing variety that will motivate you and may even allow you to have fun along the way.

If you are partial to the gym atmosphere, classes are a great way to introduce variety and push your body in different ways while engaging all the major muscle groups. There’s a class for everyone in any major health club big and small. Be patient and experiment with different classes and find ones that stimulate and motivate you and bring some excitement to your routine.

Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, pole dancing, kickboxing, hi- and low-impact aerobics, CrossFit, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), TRX Training, spinning and the list goes on. And most gym owners have their created own hybrids that draw large crowds. It’s all about using your imagination while using your body and a lot of these classes have done that for you. Just remember that if you’re a beginner in any class, inform the instructor, ease into the class and don’t do anything you’re uncomfortable with.

Want to get out of the gym? More options and fun abound. Join a sports team or create your own.  Think back on those school days and add your favorite sport into your exercise program. Join an outdoor boot camp class, Yoga in the park, kickball, softball, Frisbee, flag football — the possibilities are endless.  The point is to create an exercise scenario that you will enjoy and stick with. What that looks like doesn’t matter as long as you’re moving all your major muscles, getting your heart rate up, breaking a sweat and having fun.

Team D.C., a non-profit local umbrella group, is a great place to start if you’re looking for an LGBT team.

As another option how about participating in a worthwhile charity that involves exercise and competition? On Aug. 25, The City Vault, a special events company, will host Adult Play Date to benefit the Hope Scholarship Fund. This “field day for adults” takes place at The Yards next to the Nationals Stadium. The recipient is a black high school senior who will be attending a historically black college or university in pursuit of a career in the health and fitness industry. The scholarship is both need- and academically based. To learn more, visit thehopescholarship.com.

With childhood obesity and inactivity reaching epidemic proportions, causes like Adult Play Date can bring awareness and make a difference to help turn those numbers around through physical activity and education. This event will take you back to your childhood and you will find yourself in tug of war, obstacle courses, wacky relay races and more, all while raising funds for a worthwhile cause. Anyone in teams of four can sign-up at thecityvault.com.

There are countless exercise options. If one doesn’t work for you, keep trying until you find one that does. With so many possibilities, you’ll be able to find something physical that you enjoy.

Kevin Norris can be reached at kevinmnorris527@gmail.com

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