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What Are Some Unique Ways to Get More Active?

Our bodies are great at conserving energy—maybe a little too great. Since the human body evolved on solid land, that means we’re adapted for wasting as little energy as possible when we walk or run. But when you spend your time at a sedentary job or have a poor diet, this conservation can backfire and result in few calories burned throughout the day.

You can cheat your body’s conservation system and burn more calories by simply getting off the ground. Whether that means engaging in new, high-intensity interval (HIIT) workouts that engage all of your muscle groups simultaneously, or finding new cardio workouts that get your heart pumping, exercise is one of the most important things you can do to boost your health.

But when your treadmill routine or barbell sets start to get boring, it can be hard to find the motivation to keep at getting fit. When slowing down isn’t an option, you need to think of new, unique ways to keep moving. If you want a full-body workout that incorporates powerful cardiovascular fitness into your routine, the answer is easy: Get off solid ground!

1. Horseback Riding

Don’t be fooled by the fact that this is a “sitting down” activity: It’s an intense exercise that can burn up to 200 calories in 45 minutes and will definitely leave you sore in the morning. Cowboys across the country will vouch for that!

Horseback riding not only requires refined hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes but sustained isometric holds to keep you upright on the horse. From your core to your inner thighs and quads, riding is one long hold that requires your muscles to be flexed at all times.

2. Snowshoeing & Cross-Country Skiing

Want a full-body workout that’s less social? Strap on a pair of snowshoes or skis and go cross-country hiking! A great way to stay active in the winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing engages your muscles differently, forcing your body to work harder to gain movement. You can burn up to 1,000 calories in one hour of cross country skiing — that’s almost twice what you would burn running for the same amount of time! Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are also low impact sports, so they are easy on your joints and ligaments as while you enjoy the beautiful sight of freshly fallen snow.

3. Coastal Hiking

A warm-season alternative to snowshoeing is to hike on beaches and coastal headlands. Walking on sand is a lot like walking through snow in terms of making your body work harder.

With many rocky coastal trails, there is little flat ground and lots of small hills or rocky crests. You have to negotiate every single rock individually. It’s slow, hard work, great for meditation, and building a sense of accomplishment. 

You don’t necessarily need ocean access to hike on rocks. Riverbanks and lakeshores often have their own, smaller versions of headlands.

4. Sailing & Paddling

Like riding a horse, standing on a rocking boat forces you to constantly maintain your balance and engage your entire body in isometric exercise — and that’s not even taking into consideration the upper body strength required for manning the sails!

If you only have small bodies of water or rivers near you, try renting a kayak or canoe. The act of paddling not only engages your upper body muscles but your obliques and core muscles, too, as you turn side-to-side. Add in the fact that you can burn almost 1,600 calories an hour, and you’ve got a great new way to paddle yourself to being fit!

Make Sure You’re Taking Other Steps to Support Your Lifestyle

No matter how much exercise you do, if you’re living a sedentary lifestyle or not altering your diet, these exercises won’t make a large impact on your health.

If you are seriously moving your body for an hour or two every day, that’s going to raise your calorie demands—even if you’re trying to lose weight! Instead of starving yourself which can actually reverse your fitness progress, you need to give yourself a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that can help support your long-term fitness goals.

One of the diets that’s well-suited to a more active lifestyle is keto. We’ve talked about keto before; it’s great for burning fat and fighting off insulin resistance. Healthy Keto recipes also support an exercise-heavy diet by supplying your body with healthy fats that help your muscles recover after a long day. 

That being said, recovery is incredibly important for avoiding injuries with these full-body exercises. Always be sure to take rest days and invest in regular restorative activities alongside your workout routine such as sports massage with a CBD lotion or weekly yoga. These activities can provide anti-inflammatory benefits that can relieve or prevent joint pain that could slow down your fitness journey.