Stagnant energy in your body can lead to a whole host of issues – body aches, digestive issues, lack of creativity, weight gain and what not. One of the easiest ways to release this stagnant energy is to move your body. When you move your body, things start to open up, energy begins to flow freely and your body begins to heal.
Research indicates that exercises involving bodily movements cause endorphins and pain relief chemicals, to be released in your body which creates a sense of relief and well being.
But let’s face it, the traditional exercise routines can get boring after a while. Hence, a better way to exercise and move your body is to chuck the traditional system and find activities that you personally find interesting. When you start to enjoy what you are doing, you are more likely to continue doing it on a regular basis.
Bearing that in mind, this article is a collection of 41 ways to exercise and move your body that are not only easy but also fun to do.
If you are someone who hates to exercise, then this article is just for you. It will change the way you view exercising.
41 Fun ways to exercise
Getting great exercise is all about getting movement into your day. Here is a list of simple and fun exercises that will not only help you overcome stress, but also release stagnant energy, promote healing and enhance your overall well being.
1. Hula Hooping
Hula hooping (more specifically waist hooping) can be a little difficult to learn at first, but once you pick up the basic moves, it is guaranteed to turn into your go to exercise.
In addition to helping with stress relief, hula hooping on a regular basis also helps burn belly fat, strengths your core and has a host of other benefits. In addition, since this exercise requires rhythm and concentration, it can help you take your mind off of things.
Here’s a good video to help you get started:
Laughter is known as God’s own medicine and for a good reason.
When you have a hearty laugh, pretty much all parts of your body get into motion resulting in an amazing stress release workout.
Laughter has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones like cortisol, strengthen immunity, promote production of natural relaxants like endorphins, increase oxygen intake and even burn calories. (source)
In-fact, just fifteen minutes of laughter has been shown to have a similar impact on your body as engaging in physical activities like running or jogging!
Getting your dose of laughter is easy considering all the free resources that you have at your disposal these days. Youtube alone has millions of funny videos that you can watch or you can rent a bunch of funny movies or read a funny book. If that is not working for you, you can consider joining a laughter class or a yoga class that teaches laughter yoga (yup, that exists).
Research indicates that kids laugh about 200 to 300 times a day whereas adults laugh only around 12 to 15 times a day. Somewhere in the midst of growing up, we lost our ability to laugh and it is high time we get it back.
3. Qigong shake
Also known as ‘shaking the tree’, this is a ancient Qigong exercise that involves, as you would have already figured out – shaking your whole body. This exercise helps shake off all of the stagnant energy allowing fresh energy to flow freely throughout your entire body.
Here’s how to do it: Stand with your legs shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Keep your back nice and straight, and your body relaxed. Now, ensuring that both your feet remain firmly planted on the floor, begin shaking your entire body.
You can shake as lightly or as hard as you like. Stay conscious of your body and ensure your body is relaxed as you shake. Do this for about a minute and stop and feel the relaxing flow of energy in your body. Repeat the entire cycle 4 to 5 times.
This kind of shaking is excellent to help release blocked energy in your body which promotes rest and healing.
Here’s a video by Kim Eng on how to do this:
4. Jumping rope
Jumping rope is a low impact activity, that is not only fun but also offers a host of health benefits.
Jumping rope helps reduce stress, improves coordination, promotes mental agility, improves concentration, helps burn calories, improves circulation, strengthens leg muscles and even helps improve your posture. (source)
All you need for this exercise is the right size jump rope and a bit of practice so you can get your rhythm, timing and coordination right. Once you get the hang of it, you will fall in love with this exercise. You can also move from regular jumps to advanced ones like running in place and boxer skips.
Here are a few things to bear in mind: Make sure not to jump more than an inch off the ground. Always land softly on the balls of your feet (The padded portion of your sole between your toes and the arch, on which the weight of your body rests when your raise your heels). Keep your hands to the side, elbows close to your body as you make small two inch circles with your wrist.
If jumping on a bare surface is not comfortable, you can even jump on a soft mat for added comfort.
Also, if you have never jumped rope before, your leg muscles might get sore for a day or two if you overdo it. So start slow and increase your duration as you go.
Here’s a good instructional video to get you started:
5. Tree hugging
This might sound weird, but the simple act of hugging a tree can turn into an amazing exercise!
Here’s how this is done: Find a tree around your area that has a large circumference; large enough so you can wrap your arms around it. Spend a few minutes hugging the tree tightly. As you hug the tree, take deep breaths and feel the positive energy of the tree permeating your being. Feel love for the tree and feel the tree transmitting its love back to you.
When you hug the tree tightly for a minute or two and then release, you can feel a deep sense of relaxation running throughout your body. This exercise has a similar effect as progressive muscle relaxation that we will discuss later in this article.
By the way, there is lot we can learn from trees. Here are 12 life lessons you can learn from trees.
6. Belly breathing
Yup, that’s right; breathing done right can be a form of exercise too and it can give you many healing benefits including deep relaxation.
Here’s how to do it: Breathe in slowly and deeply making sure your belly inflates (not your upper chest). Hold for a few seconds and breath out slowly so your belly deflates. Repeat this 5 to 10 times. You can repeat this exercise multiple times a day or whenever you feel stressed out.
Deep breathing ensures that your body receives a lot more oxygen which helps your brain perform more efficiently. It also helps reduce presence of the stress hormone cortisol in your bloodstream.
Additionally, your heart beats lower as your body syncs your heart beats to your breathing helping you calm down. As you remain conscious of your breaths, you come to the present moment which helps reduce negative rumination.
As low as 5 deep breaths are enough to make you more relaxed and focused.
Here are a few other breathing techniques to help reduce stress:
- Bee breathing technique for deep relaxation.
- 4-7-8 breathing technique for deep sleep and relaxation.
7. Using a standing desk
If you spend a lot of time sitting in front of your computer then a standing desk can be a fun way to get some exercise done as you continue to work.
Not only does standing burn a lot of calories, it also makes it easier for you to move around, stretch your arms, do sit-ups and other exercises whenever you want to. Do keep in mind though that standing for long hours can lead to leg aches, so know when to take a break.
Gardening can turn into an excellent stress relieving exercise. Not only does it involve a lot of moment, it also helps you connect with mother nature which can be a deeply healing experience.
Pretty much all your muscles get engaged when you are gardening – your leg muscles as you walk back and forth, core muscles as you sit and stand, back and arm muscles as you lift, rake, pull and dig.
Also, there is plenty of research to prove that being around plants makes you happier and healthier.
If you are looking for a big list of stress relief activities, check out this article that lists 70 Fun Activities To Relax and De-Stress.
Rebounding is very similar to jump roping, but it’s a lot more fun!
The process of rebounding is really simple – you get up on your rebounder (Mini trampoline) and simply jump up and down. In addition to regular jumps, you can also run, sprint, jog (in place) or do jumping jacks on it.
In addition to helping you get relief from stress, rebounding helps move your entire body, promotes deeper breathing, clears your lymphatic system, reduces body fat percentage and removes stagnant energy. You will feel a lot more energetic, clear headed and fresh after a few minutes of rebounding.
One of the best things about rebounding is that unlike a trampoline a rebounder does not take up a lot of space. Whether you live in an apartment or a home of your own, you can start rebounding right away.
Bear in mind though that you need to buy the right rebounder. Avoid going for cheap ones as they have a potential to break or cause back problems. Invest in a good quality rebounder that will not only last long but also give you all the health benefits that you are supposed to get.
10. Self massage
Massages are excellent for relieving stress and stagnant energy but if you do not have anyone around to give you a massage, then you can always give yourself a self massage.
It’s really easy to massage the muscles at the back of your neck, shoulders, arms, traps, scalp, forehead, legs and your face with your own hands and these are the places where there generally is a lot of stress that gets accumulated.
Here’s a good video demonstrating some relaxing self massage techniques:
Dancing is not only fun but also a highly effective way to release stress from your body. Forget about following rules or dancing perfectly. You are not dancing for someone else, you are dancing for yourself.
Simply put on your favorite music, close your eyes and lose yourself to the rhythm. Allow your body to relax and move as it wants to, to the rhythm. A few minutes of dancing this way is enough to restore and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit.
12. Playing with pets
Being around pets, playing with them, petting them and taking care of them, can be extremely relaxing. This is because when you are bonding with a pet, your body releases oxytocin that can help relieve stress and calm your body. (source)
In addition, pets like dogs can also help you move your body. You can take them for walks, play with them, teach them tricks, give them baths and what not. A few minutes of playing and you are sure to find all your stress melt away.
Cycling is an excellent stress relieving exercise. There is nothing better than a long haul up a silent road on your bike to feel completely stress free. Cycling is also an excellent aerobic exercise and it provides a good workout for your heart and lungs.
Research states that cycling is beneficial to your health even in cities with higher levels of air pollution. It’s no wonder that cycling is ranked as the best exercise to relieve stress by many.
14. Exercising with a form roller
Form rollers can be used to massage specific muscle groups in your body which can feel deeply relaxing.
In addition, form rolling also helps release blockages in your body, gets the energy flowing, heals soreness and tightness in muscles and improves circulation.
Although, you might want to avoid this if you suffer from severe back pain issues in which case, you should consult a health physician before you do it.
Here’s a good video to help you get started using a form roller.
Swimming is a low impact stress reduction workout.
Swimming can be very beneficial for relaxing the wound up muscles in your body. People suffering from joint pains, who cannot indulge in rigorous exercises, can enjoy a long swim to get all the benefits of impact oriented aerobic exercises.
In-fact, you don’t even need to swim around, simply floating around in water is in itself a great exercise and can be deeply relaxing as the water gently massages your entire body.
Jogging is one of the best aerobic exercises for stress control.
When you return from a hectic work day, just change into your tracks and get your running shoes on. No matter how tired you feel, a jog can lift your spirits especially because of the endorphins that get released during this exercise.
Aerobic exercise and stress control are inseparable; the rich oxygen flow to the various muscle groups, during aerobics, creates a generous sense of well being.
17. Walking barefoot
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet.” – Khalil Gibran
The soles of your feet have thousands of nerve endings (acupressure points) which when stimulated can lead to intense relaxation. Walking barefoot on grass or sand (e.g., on a beach) allows all those nerves to be stimulated in the right manner.
Also, you automatically slow down when walking barefoot and hence you become mindful of your steps which helps stop your mind from rumination.
Walking barefoot is also the best way to get in touch with the earth’s magnetic field. It can help ground your body and balance your energy. Plus, research indicates that barefoot walking can be effective in reducing chronic stress and stress related symptoms like insomnia, inflammation, hypertension etc.
So if you have never done it before, go for a walk barefoot in your backyard, park or on the beach, and allow the earth to massage the soles of your feet.
18. Tai Chi
The best things in life are simple and Tai Chi is a good example of that. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese practice that involves a series of slow, supple movements accompanied with deep breathing and mindfulness.
You can achieve deep relaxation and other healing benefits by incorporating the gentle movements of Tai Chi. The slow movements cause you to stay in the present moment and bring forth a sense of calm.
These exercises are especially helpful for people suffering from lack of concentration or restlessness due to stress. Research also suggests that Tai Chi can help improve sleep quality, reduce blood pressure and improve balance. (source)
The following video is a good start for beginners:
19. Simple cardio workouts
A 5-10 minute bout of simple cardio workout followed by a period of relaxed running or walking is highly beneficial as it causes the body to release endorphins at a steady rate.
20. Outdoor sports
When it comes to outdoor sports, there is a wide range to choose from. Depending on your preferences, you can join a club that has a tennis court or a racquetball facility and spend your evenings playing these sports. Or you could buy the right gear and play in your own backyard.
Not only is it relaxing to play but the interaction with fellow players allows for a greater sense of connection. Any type of sport which involves physical activity is good for this purpose.
21. Lifting light weights
Lifting weights and working out is one of the best ways to beat stress.
If you are feeling restless, angry or agitated at the end of a work day, a 5 to 10 minute workout (simply using dumbbells) will have your pumped and refreshed. Just make sure that you lift only the right weights and that you don’t strain yourself.
22. ‘Legs Up the Wall’ yoga
The legs up the wall is a restorative yoga pose which is not only easy to do, but also extremely relaxing. This pose helps regulate your thyroid gland, improves circulation, drains the lymph, relaxes your lower back and helps you get relief from headaches, depression and insomnia. It will uplift your mood and make you feel fresh and rejuvenated. (source)
The thing about this pose is that anyone can do it. You don’t need fancy yoga stuff to do this pose. So if you don’t have a yoga mat or pants, no worries.
Here’s how to do it:
A. Sit sideways against a wall with your right shoulder facing the wall.
B. Roll back as you gently bring your legs up onto wall and lie back.
C. Make sure that you do not strain yourself. If you have tight hamstrings, you can bring your hips further away from the wall. You can also bend your knees if that feels more comfortable.
D. Try to relax in this position while taking deep breaths.
In addition to this pose, there are also many other simple yoga poses that you can do at home. Some of the best ones that can help you with stress relief are as follows – Child Pose, Crocodile pose and Cat-Cow Pose.
If you enjoy yoga, do check out this article that covers 8 simple yoga poses to release stuck emotions.
Can juggling actually reduce stress levels? Yes it can. Not initially when you practice though, but once you get the hang of it, you can go into a meditative zone when juggling which will help take your mind off of thoughts and calm you down.
Juggling is also a great workout not only for your body but also your mind. It improves concentration skills, helps develop a link between the left and right brain, improves mental agility and problem solving. It can even burn calories. It has been found that an hour of juggling can burn up to 280 calories. Dropping balls and picking them up adds to the overall calorie burn.
Also, it’s not as hard to pick up some juggling skills as many would assume. As long as you put in regular practice and adapt a step by step learning methodology, you can pick it up within a week or two.
As a tip, make sure to practice with juggling balls and not regular tennis balls as tennis balls have a larger bounce and will bounce all over the place making things difficult for you as a learner.
Here’s a good video to help you get started:
24. Indoor rock climbing
Another fun activity you can engage in is indoor rock climbing. Even though it might look a little intimidating, rock climbing is actually quite easy to pick up.
Plus, anybody can start climbing, you don’t need to have any prior experience as most rock climbing spots will have a beginner level climb which is almost as easy as climbing a ladder. You can slowly progress to higher levels as you become better.
Even though we already discussed outdoor sports, badminton deserves a special mention as it is one of the best and easiest ways to exercise.
All you need is a shuttlecock (a cork to which feathers are attached), two badminton racquets (lightweight bats with netting), a partner (to play with) and you are good to go. Unlike a ball, a shuttlecock does not go all over the place and hence you can play this game in a small area as well. Once you get the hang of it, badminton is a lot of fun and you are sure to work up a huge sweat even within 5 to 10 minutes of gaming.
26. Disc golf
Disc golf is a really fun outdoor activity that can be played solo or with friends. The idea is to throw a Frisbee (or a disk) from a distance into a set goal area. You can create your own goal using a storage basket.
If you want to take this a step forward, you can buy a set of specialized disks (each designed to travel a certain way just like golf clubs) and a portable disk golf basket that you can install in your yard. To spice the game up, you might also want to look up the rules which are quite similar to that of golf.
27. Join a reforestation drive
Find out if you have a reforestation program nearby and spend a day helping plant trees. Not only will it lead to a great exercise, you will also be helping the environment.
Geocaching is a game where your objective is to find trinkets hidden by other players using the available clues and GPS coordinates (on your phone). It’s like a little treasure hunt and allows you to explore familiar places in and around your neighborhood in whole new ways. Once you find the trinket, you can either place it back or take it with you while replacing it with something else for the next person to find in that spot.
This is definitely not for everyone, but if treasure hunting fascinates you then you might want to look into it.
All you need to play the game is create an account at Geocaching.com and you will be provided with all the information you need to start participating.
In addition to being really fun, drumming is an excellent cardiovascular workout that can help burn calories, reduce stress, improve brain power, improve circulation and develops motor skills.
Plus, you really don’t need an entire drum set to get started. Simply buy a practice pad, a stand and a pair of sticks or even use items like used cans lying around in your home.
You can drum for fun by playing your favorite tunes and jamming along or you can join a training class or take up some free drumming lessons on YouTube.
30. Cardio drumming
Speaking of drumming, there is a really cool cardio workout known as – Cardio Drumming that brings together the fun of drumming with cardio. All you need for this is a yoga ball, a 17-gallon bucket and drumsticks. You can then follow along to the many cardio drumming workouts on YouTube.
If you hate plain old cardio, then give cardio drumming a try and you just might fall in love with it.
31. Community gardening
We already discussed gardening in this list, but if solo gardening is not your thing then you can consider joining a community garden if you have one in your area. A community garden is basically a single land that is collectively gardened and maintained by a group of people.
The benefits of community garden are many – you get to meet new people, learn a lot from others and also get access to fresh produce.
32. Volunteering at the local food bank
Volunteering at a food back can be a lot of work. Sorting, packing, delivering meals and assisting at mobile pantries are some of the tasks you will be engaged in. You are sure to break a sweat, plus the fact that you are doing something to help others is a great feeling in itself.
33. Be a tourist in your city
How well do you know your city? There are so many places to explore and some places are best explored on foot. Go on a historic walking tour, visit botanical gardens, museums, climb stairs and check out view points.
34. Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
First on our list is ‘progressive muscle relaxation’ or PMR. The idea behind PMR is to consciously tighten and relax various parts of your body.
Here are a few examples.
A. Forehead: Raise your eyebrows as high as they would go and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Feel the tension in your forehead as you keep your eyebrows raised this way. Release after a few seconds and feel the relaxation across your entire forehead. Repeat 2 to 3 times.
B. Eyes and facial area: Squeeze your eyes tightly shut while making a tight smile with your mouth. Hold for a few seconds and release. Again, feel the relaxation in your eyes, cheeks and other facial muscles as you release.
C. Neck area: Gently tilt your head back as if you are looking toward the ceiling. Hold for a few seconds before bringing your head back to normal position. Feel the relaxation in and around the back of your neck.
D. Shoulder area: Push your shoulders up towards your ears. Hold for a few seconds and release. Feel the wave of relaxation running across your shoulders and upper back muscles.
E. Upper back area: Gently push your shoulder blades back trying to touch them together. Hold for a few seconds and release. Feel the relaxation in your upper back.
F. Hands: Make a tight first with both your hands. Hold for a few seconds and release.
In a similar way, you can hold and release various parts of your body to feel intense relaxation.
In addition to the relaxing effects, this exercise also helps you become present and get in touch with your body.
The following video contains a complete guided PMR exercise that you can try out:
35. Play ‘Ring Fit’ for Nintendo Switch
‘Ring Fit’ is a workout focused game for ‘Nintendo Switch’ that is super fun to play. You play the game using a Pilates ring (known as Ring-con) that you will need to press, pull and move around during gameplay. Gameplay will also need you to jog in place to move forward, do knee lifts to climb stairs, roll ahead, squat, lunge and all that good stuff that can lead to an excellent full body workout.
Plus, the game also gives you interesting stats like calories burnt and your pulse rate. You can also compare scores with others by connecting to the internet.
To play this game, you will need the ‘Nintendo Switch’ system with attachable ‘Joy Con Controllers’ and the Ring-Fit game that comes with the Pilates Ring.
‘Nintendo Switch’ also has many other workout focused games some of which include, Bunny Hop (jump rope game), Nintendo Fitness Boxing and Just Dance (Dancing game).
36. Play Pokemon-Go
‘Pokemon Go’ is a fun mobile game that will get you out walking everyday and enjoying yourself while at it. The idea behind this game is to catch Pokemons in and around your area that you can locate using your mobile phone. The game works using your phone’s GPS and internal clock.
The more Pokemons you catch, the more you progress in the game. This might sound a little boring but once you get started, you just might get hooked like the millions of users of this game.
An alternative to ‘Pokemon Go’ is, ‘Jurassic World Alive’ where you catch dinosaurs instead of Pokemons.
37. VR (Virtual Reality) gaming
Even though pretty much all VR (Virtual Reality) games require you to move around (duck, dodger, punch, jump, run etc.), there are many games that specifically focus on workouts. Some really good games being Beat Saber (which is a music based game), Box VR (which is a boxing game), Racket Fury Table Tennis and Audio Trip.
The only drawback is that in order to start playing VR games, you will need to invest in a VR headset (like the Oculus Rift or Microsoft Mixed Reality) and a high performance gaming computer or the latest PlayStation.
38. Take the stairs instead of an elevator
A simple way to involve some quick workout in your daily routine is to make it a point to always take the stairs instead of the elevator, be it at the shopping mall, your workplace or your apartment.
Taking the stairs has been shown to improve heart health, build muscle, bone and joint strength, increase endurance and boost mental agility.
39. Yard cleaning
Just a couple of hours of yard work can lead to an amazing full body workout. Plus you get the advantage of being out in the Sun amidst nature. Pull out the weeds, rake the leaves, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, water the plants, there is a ton of work to do.
Consider doing small sections at a time and go at your own pace so you can enjoy it without thinking of it as a chore.
40. Recumbent biking
We already discussed biking, but if biking outdoors is not your thing, consider getting an elliptical or recumbent bike and do some indoor biking. The best part about indoor biking is that you can do it while watching your favorite show on T.V. or phone. This way you can keep going at it without getting bored too quickly.
41. Distance Parking
And finally, whenever you go shopping, consider parking your car as far away from the supermarket entrance as possible. This will ensure that you get that extra bit of walk to and from the market.
So there you have it, 41 easy to do and fun exercises that will help burn calories, reduce stress levels, and give you a whole host of physical and mental health benefits. Which one are you going to take up today?