7 Ways to Exercise Without Even Thinking About It

Now this is a fitness plan we can get behind.


(Photo: Steve Cohen)

The thing about exercise is that sometimes you’re just not in the mood for it. You know it’s important to stay healthy, sure, but in between studying for exams, hanging out with friends, and you know, everything else, who’s really got time for that?

Well, you’re in luck. We chatted with fitness expert Jessica Matthews, to find out ways to exercise without even thinking about it. Consider this the busy girl’s guide to staying in shape:

Get your (video) game on.

“Believe it or not, certain types of video games can actually serve as a workout,” says Jessica. According to a recent study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), physically-active video games like Wii Boxing burn an average of three calories per minute and can be intense enough to be good for your heart and lungs. Challenge your friends to a match, and you’ll be having so much fun, it won’t even feel like exercise!

Related: 10 Easy Yoga Workout Poses for Beginners

Dance it out to your favorite jams.

“Put on a few of your favorite songs and channel your inner Beyonce,” says Jessica. “Just 30 minutes of heart-pumping aerobic dancing can burn a whopping 210 calories.” Taking care of your body and having a good time? Sounds like a flawless plan to us.

Ride bikes with a friend.

“Enjoy the freedom of cruising around town with your friends,” suggests Jessica. She also points out that it not only helps minimize environmental pollution and save money on gas, but riding a bike leisurely for an hour can also burn approximately 258 calories.

Take your four-legged friend for a walk.

“Think of your family pet as an exercise machine with hair,” Jessica says. “A one-hour moderate to vigorous intensity walk with Fido will get your heart pumping and burn approximately 290 calories.” If you don’t have a dog of your own, consider volunteering at a local animal shelter. Helping animals in need and improving your own health? Well, that’s a win-win if we ever saw one!

Rock out on the drums.

“Think of it as physical education meets music class,” says Jessica. “Just thirty minutes of jamming out on the drums can burn 129 calories while honing your musical abilities and working your arms and your heart.” Plus, how cute would you be performing in the Battle of the Bands?!

Related: 27 Must-See Celebrity Prom Throwback Photos

Pick up some work as a babysitter.

Why pay money for a gym membership when you can get paid to get fit? “Whether you watch your younger siblings, your neighbors or other young children in your community, running around and playing games with them can burn as much as 322 calories in an hour,” says Jessica. Channel your inner child and play hopscotch and tag, all while earning extra cash for that new outfit you’ve had your eye on.

Play a round of mini-golf.

The perfect spring/summer date night is also good for your health! Grab your sweetie or a group of friends and head to the course. “One hour of mini-golf can burn 193 calories,” Jessica says. And the look on your friends’ faces when you make a hole in one? Priceless.

*Note: The calorie estimates are calculated based on a 135-pound female.

Jessica Matthews, MS, is senior advisor for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise, assistant professor of health and exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego, and a certified personal trainer and health coach.

By Julie Pennell

More from Teen Vogue:

4 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Facial

10 Quick Ways to Pump Up Your Ponytail

47 Awkward Celebrity Yearbook Photos

Before Jennifer Lawrence and Taylor Swift Were Famous, They Modeled for Abercrombie—and We Have the Pics!