For some people, exercise feels as natural as waking up in the morning. One imagines that their eyes pop open two minutes before their alarm is set to go off and they literally jump out of bed, excited for the chance to run five miles before heading off to work.

And then there’s the rest of us, who love the idea of all the benefits that come from exercising, but find it as challenging to make happen as it is to wrestle ourselves out of our beds, which are famous for being especially warm and comfy most mornings.

The problem is that for a lot of people, the traditional forms of exercise are boring; no matter what we do to spice them up or what kind of music we play to try and motivate some hustle. That’s why new fitness fads become so popular so quickly—everyone leaps at a chance to try a new way to stay healthy that just might be fun! Except, once the novelty fades, these new workouts often feel like regular exercise again and the cycle continues.

Thankfully, this weekend (Saturday, February 4 & Sunday, February 5) the Edmonton EXPO Centre will host The Great Canadian Fit Fest, an event designed for not only that first group of folks whose natural inclinations helpfully lead to perfect six pack abs, but also for those of us who really want to be fit, but struggle to find ways to do it we’ll actually want to return to without a certain amount of dread.

This is your chance to talk to experts, learn the latest and explore what is out there that is right for you. Because everyone is different! In anticipation of this, here are five suggestions of activities you can do in Edmonton right now that will help you stay healthy without necessarily feeling like work!

Dodgeball

Whether you knew it as Dodgeball or King’s Court, almost everyone remembers this perennial gym class favourite, but when was the last time you played it? Not only is it a great workout, but it’s a game that gives advantages to different kinds of players, allowing the big and strong an opportunity to showcase their throwing skills, while the lithe and dexterous dodge with style. It’s fast-paced fun that makes exercise exciting!

dodgeballedmonton.com/

Cross Country Skiing

Edmonton is home to countless trails available for beginners and experts! While not for everyone, many folks enjoy this opportunity to get outside when the risk of cabin fever is high. But the benefits aren’t just scenic, as this is also widely considered to be one the best muscle-building cardio workouts out there!

edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation/cross-country-skiing.aspx

Adult Dance Classes

There’s a reason why so many fitness fads incorporate classic and modern dance styles. Dancing is one of our greatest and most primal expressions of joy and happiness! And it has the side benefit of being a great workout. Taking an adult dance class is not only a great way to learn something new, but also who doesn’t love being able to show-off the next time you’re at a wedding or somewhere else with a dance floor? There are tons of different options to choose from, including Hip Hop, Latin, Swing, Country, Two-Step, Ballroom, Belly, Ballet, Salsa and Bollywood!

edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation/dance-adult.aspx

Skate Parks

There are six skate parks located in Edmonton. Perfect places for skateboarders, BMX riders, push scooters and inline skaters. While it may have been awhile since you last “gleamed the cube,” now is the best time ever to indulge your inner Tony Hawk. Just make sure to buy a helmet and kneepads first!

edmonton.ca/activities_parks_recreation/skateparks.aspx

Chess

Now when we talk about health, fitness and exercise, we usually just think in terms of our physical bodies, but many experts will tell you that it is equally important to work out your mind. Studies have found that people who regularly engage in recreational problem solving (via games and puzzles) are less likely to suffer the memory problems traditionally associated with aging. And while there are many ways to keep your brain active, few beat a game whose origins go back almost 2000 years. The complexities of Chess can make it intimidating for beginners, but the risk of injury is definitely much lower than the other activities mentioned above.

facebook.com/TheEdmontonChessClub/

These are just a handful of fun ways to keep fit that barely feel like exercise. Thanks to the Great Canadian Fit Fest this weekend, now’s your chance to explore even more options and talk to the experts about the best way for you to develop or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

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