Getting fit has to be fun. Without a little fun in a fitness regime, few people have the staying power necessary to stick with traditional gym routines long enough to see any real, meaningful gains.
If you're bored of the same old gym routine and you're eager to add a bit of spice to your cardio workouts, we've put together a list of five fun ways to increase your fitness levels.
1. Pick up a new sport
The reason we tend to give up on traditional fitness programmes is simple: our mind is too free to wander and, if exercise is not engrained in us, we tend to talk ourselves out of going beyond our physical limits.
Picking a new sport, however, keeps our brains occupied, as we are constantly absorbing new information. By the time we have absorbed all we need to know, our bodies have become accustomed to exercise, making it easier for us carry on when things get tough.
30 days seems to be the sweet spot for developing habits, so, if you're looking for a fun way to increase your fitness levels, pick a sport you've never tried before and stick with it for at least one month.
2. Sign up for a class at your local gym
Exercising in a group is an excellent means of improving your fitness levels. If you're already a gym member, then the chances are, the fitness classes at your local gym won't even incur an additional cost.
Being led through a workout by an enthusiastic and charismatic instructor is certain to keep you motivated, while being surrounded by other gym goers provides a sense of camaraderie when the session begins to get tough.
3. Join a sports team
Joining a sports team is a fantastic means of improving your fitness, whilst making a new group of friends in the process. Team sports promote a work ethic like no other form of fitness, and the feeling that you'll let your team mates down if you don't attend training, will give you that added commitment incentive.
4. Make your holidays more active
Holidays need not be sedentary affairs and are a great time to get a little more active than usual. There are only so many hours that you can relax on the beach before boredom strikes though, so, if you're intent on improving your fitness levels, consider booking a more active holiday this year.
Ski holidays strike the perfect balance between activity and relaxation. Hitting the slopes during the day is great fun, but it simultaneously burns a great deal of calories, which makes those relaxing few glasses of wine over dinner in the evening taste that bit more delicious.
5. Put your money where your mouth is
There's no better way to stay committed to your fitness goals than by putting a little money on the line. Developed by Yale University economists, the website StickK invites users to create a commitment contract, which sees them place a small wager on whether or not they will achieve a specific goal.
Whether it's going to the gym three times each week or running a marathon, your self-designated referee adjudicates as to whether or not you have achieved your goal. If not, the deposit you made is given to a charity that you nominated. It's amazing how committed one can become when there's a little money on the line.
Find the "why"
Whether you choose to join a sports team, take a ski holiday or sign up for a fitness class, finding the reason behind why you want to increase your fitness levels is the key. Without a reason to get active, good habits tend to fade quickly. So, instead of hitting the gym or doing tedious laps of your local park, find something fun that speaks to you - it certainly makes the whole process a lot more enjoyable.