• Heather Topf

6 ways to exercise without even realising you're doing it

Updated: May 23, 2021

I'm one of those people that gets high from exercise. Like, talks double time, full of endorphins, mood on the ceiling high.

I'm also one of those people that if you see running, you should probably run too. There's something chasing me.

No matter how often I experience the high, no matter how much I know it will make me feel better, I still don't want to do it! Which is why I don't exercise. I play.

For me, there is no simpler joy than being upside down. Except perhaps the fact that people literally can't help join in with you when they see it. Try and do a cartwheel in the park, I dare ya. Do it long enough and I bet someone else will try too.

As well as being essential to my personal mood, there are obviously tonnes of great reasons to stay active. I spend all day sitting at a computer and keeping moving through out the day keeps stiff necks, sore backs and headaches at bay. It keeps me trim (ish) and it makes me thirsty which makes me actually drink regularly throughout the day.

If there are any of those hydrated folk that naturally remember to sip water all day - how does that feel?!

Here are 6 ways I trick myself into exercising, that don't even feel like you're doing a workout.

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I couldn't possibly start this post without my old favourite. Handstands.

I'm obsessed, I have been for years and years. Barely a day goes by without me flipping myself upside down. I handstand all over the place.

It's a great exercise - you don't need any equipment (except maybe a wall while you're learning), you can do it anywhere (that has enough headroom) and it works SO many muscles you wouldn't believe. Your core needs to work real hard to keep you balanced - all of those hard to exercise muscles from your lowest abs to your obliques. If you're a newbie, try to find an adult gymnastic or acrobatic class, or check out these guys over on YouTube.

Open water swimming

If you'd told me a year ago that I would be encouraging other people to cold water swim, I'd have laughed at you.

But, just like I grew into herbal tea (literally what is happening to me) I've gotten well into it.

There's a million blogs and books that will tell you the benefits of open water swimming. I'm not going to claim to really know any of them, but I do enjoy shouting "f*&ing Wim Hoff" when it's particularly cold.

If you don't have access to open water, I'm sure a pool is great too. It's low impact, so good for those creaky joints and it gets you moving so it must be good.

Two women swimming on Flushing beach in Cornwall under a sunny sky


If I ever get rich, I vow to get an Olympic sized trampoline for my house. We can all dream, right?

I used to do a lot of trampolining when I was younger and I never really grew out of loving it.

According to this article from Red Bull, NASA no less "agree that rebounding is 68 per cent more effective than jogging. So you can quite literally cheat your way to a better cardio workout without the mental battle. Win-win."

I'm less interested in garden trampolines and trampette because you can't get the height to do gnarly tricks, but each to their own. My sister has a trampette and absolutely no desire to go higher than 2 foot off of the ground, so I guess it's great there are options out there for all of us.


Climbing is surprisingly hard work and therefore surprisingly good exercise.

It's also surprisingly fun.

Most climbing centres will require you to take a belay course before you can climb without an instructor, but it's fairly cheap and super worthwhile. You'll learn how to save your climbing partner from certain smashing upon the ground, what's fifty quid when you look at it that way?

Unleash your inner child and get climbing.


I don't know if you've tried skipping recently, but it's absolutely knackering!

I personally find it a whole lot more fun than running (I'm talking skipping rope here, but literally skipping down the road works too).

You can try and learn some cool little tricks, give doubles a go or just stick to the basics.

Give it a go (and mind your toes).


Since lockdown began it feels like everyone and their nan has taken up rollerskating.

And I can SO see why.

I grew up in the era of skating = cool, rollerblading = not, but putting aside my teenage wish to be cool (I didn't even skate, I wasn't even actually one of the cool kids) and picking up some skates was one of my better ideas.

Expect aching thighs, a tight core and sore arms from pushing yourself onto your feet over and over again, but you won't notice the aches till the next day because you'll be having such a lot of fun you won't notice it at the time.

However, knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards and a helmet are pretty much essential for this one. Trust me!

So there you are 6 ways of exercising without even noticing. Have I missed your favourite? Let me know in the comments below 👇

FURTHER READING: Little ways to treat yourself that don't cost the earth

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