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5 ways to exercise without even trying

By Sarah Moore, Contributing writer
Published On: Jan 25 2012 05:15:41 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 29 2013 07:56:09 AM CST
woman exercising with weights

iStock/Studio1One

Working out is not just an adrenaline-pumping thrill for motivated athletes and individuals anymore.

Contrary to popular belief, getting in shape can be a fun activity without dripping sweat, resulting in the feeling of sore muscles and accomplishment afterward. In fact, there are many types of exercises people can participate in without even feeling as if they are exercising in the first place.

Everyday functions and activities such as driving and talking can even burn calories. For example, laughing for 15 minutes can burn between 10 and 40 calories, and the average adult burns around 500 calories when sleeping for eight hours.

Needless to say, barbells, sweat towels and cringing outbursts of anger are not a requirement for a good workout, just a good attitude, determination and a bit of fun-loving energy.

women dancing at party

No. 5: Dancing

Bopping to favorite tunes and shaking your hips when out on the town is one of the most energetic methods of exercising, and it can lead to great weight-reducing results if practiced frequently.

For example, an individual weighing 150 pounds can burn 109 calories every 10 minutes while dancing.

Zumba is a fairly new, Latin dance class incorporating intervals of fast and slow dancing with resistance training to produce sculpted bodies in no time. Sessions are one hour long, and the program has become so popular that 7.5 billion people around the world participate every week.

Another popular, more scandalous dance workout (strictly for women) was created by actress and filmmaker Sheila Kelly. Known as The S Factor, participants follow pole dancing routines combining ballet, yoga and striptease techniques to ultimately strengthen the upper body while simultaneously engendering confidence.

However, as our next selection will show, more mundane activities have just as much body-benefiting potential, even though they may lack excitement ...

man walking dogs on gravel dirt road

No. 4: Everyday chores

Everyday chores around the house may not necessarily be voluntary activities, but after a day's work, the completed tasks bring about a sense of accomplishment and the need to relax.

For instance, walking the dog is a necessity for owners as a way to give their pets exercise. However, a 2006 study proved that dog owners received as much as twice the amount of exercise as those without dogs because of additional walking time each week.

Pulling weeds and tilling ground involve twisting and reaching movements and occasionally mighty doses of heavy lifting. Therefore, gardening has also been shown to improve health, such as decreasing the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. Other calorie-burning chores include mowing the lawn, carrying groceries and rearranging furniture.

Mindless forms of entertainment are a welcome change after finishing the day's chores, but nowadays entertainment systems can make you work for your success too, as you will soon see ...

two girls playing Wii video games

No. 3: Playing video games

Playing video games is not just for coach potatoes any longer. Some video games come with physical extensions besides controllers, and select consoles were designed with mobility in mind.

The popular Dance Dance Revolution game uses a floor mat for players to step on when music-prompted arrows appear on the screen. The game has been incorporated into physical education curriculums and has also been shown to increase hand-eye coordination. Besides assisting with weight loss, Dance Dance Revolution can teach a few dance steps along the way.

Nintendo's motion-sensor Wii system practically requires physical movement by its participants to play games, and Wii Fit and EA Active are fitness-driven programs with aerobic features and personal trainers. Otherwise, simple Wii games like tennis and boxing can break a sweat. Sony's PlayStationMove and the Xbox Kinect system also require you get up off the couch to play your video game.

After mastering a virtual sport, playing athletics in real time is a piece of cake (although consuming a slice is not recommended for maintaining a healthy lifestyle) ...

Family running together

No. 2: Play some games

Playing casual sports in the backyard or at formal matches provides a way to stay active in the company of friends while pushing your body to the limit.

Participating in popular sports such as football aides in developing physical skills like speed, stamina and endurance, and football players tend to have fewer risks of developing issues such as osteoporosis and hypertension.

Swimming has countless benefits as well, especially with the cardiovascular system because it improves the way the body inhales oxygen without exhausting the heart. It has also been reported that swimmers can burn as many calories per hour as someone running six miles in the same time period.

Other easily acquired sport activities include playing catch, riding a bike, throwing a Frisbee or jumping on a trampoline.

But while the great outdoors provide limitless opportunities for exercise, believe it or not, constricted indoor spaces can also procure workout space ...

businessman in suit lifting weights

No. 1: Get an office workout

Sitting at a desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is not an ideal environment for exercising, plus, after sitting for long periods of time, back pain starts to form. But multitaskers, rejoice: exercising at work is easier than it sounds and can even blend in without looking bizarre.

To build shoulder and chest strength, place hands on chair armrests and gently lift yourself off of the bottom. Lower back down until almost touching seat, hold for a few seconds and repeat 15 times.

To prevent tight muscles, stretch by facing forward, turning head to the left and torso to the right, holding for a few seconds. Then repeat 15 times with alternating sides.

Finally, one minute of high-impact exercise is recommended to jump-start heart rate, and though performing jumping jacks next to the fax machine may be out of the question, running up and down the stairs is a more reasonable alternative.

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