Food & Fitness

31 ways to get fit and have fun

January is over and with it, my 31-day challenge of doing a different exercise each day is also over. You’ll find that some of the exercises are very similar, and that’s because I was doing exercises that I really enjoy. Also, it was a cold and busy month for me, so I didn’t get around to doing a lot of the exercises I’d hoped to (such as ballroom dancing, wall climbing, snow shoeing, and skating). These are mostly indoor exercises that you can do at home.

Full disclosure: I didn’t do a different exercise every day, but some days I did two different exercises, so I did do 31 different types of exercise in total.

Here is every exercise I did for the month of January:

1) Walking leisurely outside. Walking is my most favourite activity so I was quite happy to start with this one. I try to walk for at least 30 minutes every day.

2) Chair dancing. This was for a bachelorette party that I hosted; a professional chair dancer came to my condo and taught myself and the other girls how to perform chair dancing. It was great fun and a good way to let loose!

3) Strength training with dumbbells. I usually use 8 lbs dumbbells. This consisted of shoulder presses, bicep curls, chest flies, lateral raises etc.

4) Abs exercises. Another favourite of mine! There are tons of different styles of crunches (bicycle, reverse, on a stability ball, double, side, etc), so you can get in a really good core workout this way.

5) Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds 3 Mile Abs dvd. I’ve started doing these videos frequently. Perfect for cold days when I don’t want to go outside but I still want to get in some walking.

6) Hula hooping. Who knew hula hooping can be so challenging? I swear, I was sweating after about 3 minutes of doing this. That might also have been because I seemed to spend more time picking up my hula hoop off the ground where it clattered than actually hula hooping.

7) Beat Stress, Weigh Less yoga video from Fitness Magazine. Some great moves here!

8 ) Gardening. Lugging buckets of water to and from the sink can be taxing! If you’re outside and gardening, you can get an even better workout. I love weeding.

9) Cross-country skiing. I used to cross-county ski every winter with my family. The boyfriend and I took our skis to Bird’s Hill Park and went for a fantastic ski; we loved it so much that we wanted to go every weekend since then. But we haven’t gone skiing again yet because it’s been too darn cold out and we’re both wimps when it comes to the cold (okay, that’s a lie. I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold).

10) Jumping jacks. Do 500 or 1,000 of these over the course of a day and your sides will be aching. In a good way πŸ˜‰

11) Vacuuming. A wonderful way to get the heart rate up a little bit and clean house simultaneously! You know that there are dust bunnies hiding in the corners just asking to be sucked up by your vacuum.

12) Joint exercises from the November/December 2010 issue of Best Health magazine. I liked these six exercises because we often don’t give our joints the attention they need. It was a nice change from my usual walking/abs/light weights workouts.

13) Strength training with a resistance band. A “toy” that I don’t use on a regular basis, the resistance band can give you a really good workout. It’s a good reminder that you can use your body weight to do all kinds of things.

14) Strength training using body weight. This means push ups, crunches, triceps dips, leg lifts, squats… there is so much that your body can do without the need for any extra equipment. If you’re at home, you don’t even need to wear gym shoes!

15) Shopping. That was some serious power walking around the mall! πŸ™‚ Carrying bags of groceries can also give you a decent upper body and core workout.

16) Jumping rope. Like jumping jacks, jumping rope can get your heart rate up surprisingly quickly. If you aren’t very coordinated (me!), it might take a bit to get the hang of not getting tangled up in the rope.

17) Stability ball exercises. I tried 13 different exercises this day. Some of them were so easy that I wasn’t sure I was doing them properly. Others were so difficult that I kept falling off the ball. Conclusion: the stability ball is awesome.

18) Dancing “free-style” at home. Crank up the music (try The Hoosiers!) and dance around your living room. Love!

19) Yoga for Weight Loss video. My favourite 20-minute yoga video – and you can download it for free from! I really enjoy it.

20) Exercises for better posture. I have a bit of an obsession with good posture. Rhetoric of the body is so important in society, especially as a first impression – but it’s also really important because having poor posture can put unnecessary pressure on your back and hips and can result in pain and/or injury. Sit up straight, roll those shoulders back, and keep your posture in alignment.

21) 10 different ballet moves. Yeah, I watched Black Swan the weekend before, and as much as that film creeped me out, it also made me want to start dancing like a ballerina (the same way I always want to be a ballerina whenever I go to the ballet :)).

22) Simple stretching and deep breathing. You can never get enough gentle stretching and breathing to exercise the body and the mind.

23) Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred: Level 1 dvd. This is my favourite workout video when it comes to intensity – and it’s only 20 minutes long. Bonus.

24) 6-minute plank hold on forearms (for Yum Yucky’s Plank Challenge). This is the longest I’ve ever held a plank! Previously, I had been able to hold it for 5 minutes. It felt fantastic to beat my personal record by a whole minute!

25) Kickboxing. I love the Body Combat class at GoodLife Fitness, but I’ve been avoiding the gym because a) it’s cold, b) it’s dark outside, and c) I haven’t been in the mood to commit myself to an hour of intense exercise. So I did some kickboxing moves at home instead πŸ™‚

26) Abs roller. I won this on a giveaway from Jody’s blog, and it works really well! A fun tool to work the abs.

27) Exercises from Mark Verstegen’s Core Performance Women. I reviewed this book about a year ago.

28) Walking with resistance (ie. through the snow). We got piles of snow this day, but it was gloriously warm out. The perfect day for several long walks! I was outside walking for about 3 or 3.5 hours in total, trudging through the snow. Walking with resistance can also be done in sand or in very shallow water.

29) Pilates moves from Joyce Gavin’s The Book of Pilates. I just did the introduction exercises, which mostly revolve around breathing and pelvic tilts. It’s a beautiful book with lovely photographs, however, and if I were more serious about Pilates, I would totally use this book devotedly. Oooh this gives me the idea of doing a month-long Pilates challenge…

30) Agility training on a ladder placed on the ground. I adore my bookcases with a ladder, and I decided to make it a dual-purpose ladder: not only is it great for reaching books on the top shelves, but it can also be used for agility training! I did various kinds of hopping and running through the rungs. The adult version of hopscotch πŸ˜‰

31) Different kinds of push ups. I did a variety of them to work the whole body (particularly the core, shoulders, chest, and arms), including regular push ups, counter-top push ups, triceps push ups, and elevated push ups (with feet elevated and hands on the ground).

What exercises have you done over the past month?


  1. Pingback: 31 ways to get fit and have fun | Abs Exercises for Men

  2. Lance

    We picked up this really sweet hula hoop a couple of months ago. What a blast it has been!! Not that I’m any good at it – so it’s also entertaining for anyone who happen to be watching…

    My exercise over the past month: sledding. Especially when there’s a big hill to hike up before getting the ride back down!

  3. Andrea@WellnessNotes

    LOVE your list! And I kept your challenge in mind and really tried to mix things up as much as possible last month.

    In January I ran outside, did the elliptical, the stepper, and went hiking. I also lifted weights, did yoga, and did several barre-type workouts. I also went on a lot of walks. I also did The Shred Level 1 or 2 several times. I tried a few other workouts on Exercise TV but didn’t like any of them very much.

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