In our 15-day self-healing series, we’ve so far covered everything from juicing and fasting to how to stop making disease. But we haven’t yet covered one of the elements most commonly associated with self-healing: Exercise!

But don’t groan: This isn’t going to be some boring rehash of the same old stuff you’ve always heard about exercise, such as “you have to exercise an hour a day.” Rather, I’d like to invite you to think about exercise in a whole new light… about finding the FUN in exercise!

In my view, exercise shouldn’t be something that’s a daily grind. If it feels like work, something’s not right with it. I’m all about finding ways to exercise that don’t even feel like exercise at all. The kind of things that, when you’re finished an hour later, you say to yourself, “Wow, that was exercise, too? Cool!”

Obviously, I’m not talking about a treadmill grind here. Sure, a treadmill can burn off the calories and do wonders for your stamina and muscle tone, but to me it still feels a lot like work. That’s why I try to find alternative fun things to do. In fact, I don’t even call them WORKouts. I call them FUNouts!

What’s fun?

If you think about it, the most fun ways to exercise are things that give your mind something to focus on rather than the exercise. In fact, the “fun” versus “work” factor of exercise is all about your FOCUS. When you mind is focused on the work, every step feels like a mountain to climb, but when your mind is experiencing something else (such as the scenery around you), then suddenly your work is no longer the focus of your attention.

That’s why the real secret to effortless, fun exercise is so incredibly simple that you’ll probably find it funny. Here it is, just three little words that contain a whole lot of wisdom and experience about making exercise fun:

Exercise in nature.

That’s it: Exercise in nature. And it doesn’t even matter what kind of exercise you do, really, as long as it’s outside, in nature. You can walk, ride, jump, skip, swim, shuffle, push, pull, roll, lift, surf, sail or do just about anything else that involves moving your body for an hour or so.

Walk along a city park or a nature trail. Toss a frisbee with a friend. Slap a volleyball over the net or hurl some horseshoes on a piece of lawn. Jump rope on the sidewalk or swing on a tree branch.

Don’t forget how to play

Do these things sound silly to you? One thing I’ve noticed about adults is that too many adults have forgotten how to play exercise like children. We all played like children when we were children, right? But when we grow up, we no longer think it’s “mature” to skip along in a game of hopscotch on the sidewalk or toss a frisbee in the park. But, in my opinion, we need to relearn how to play like children because “playing” is the best way to get exercise without feeling like it’s work.

That’s why I’ve found lots of joy in playing for exercise. I like to ride a trike (a recumbent bicycle with a really comfortable seat) on the sidewalk or do bear crawls in the grass. Neighborhood playgrounds, I’ve found, are filled with all kinds of useful equipment that even adults can often use, from climbing the ropes to swinging around on the “monkey bars” as we used to call them.

Part of this successful habit of playing, of course, involves you rejecting the mainstream crowd and getting comfortable just doing what’s healthy and fun, regardless of what the other limited-thinking people might say about it. Just because they forgot how to play doesn’t mean you have to limit YOUR fun to THEIR lack of imagination. In fact, “rejecting the crowd” is the topic of part seven of this 15-day series on self healing: Click Here.

If you open up your options, there’s fun to be found everywhere around you in nature. You can play catch with a baseball, kick around a soccer ball or roll around in the spring grass with your family dog. You can learn to juggle, or spin poi (as I do), or take on a serious hike at an exotic natural destination.

I do many of these things on a frequent basis, from juggling and playing catch to walking, hiking and biking. My exercise is always fun… and it never feels like a workout to me. While indoor gyms can be great places to go (especially during the winters), they are not my first choice for FUNouts. That’s why I encourage everyone to follow these three simple steps for finding the joy in your exercise:

Step 1) Get outside. Let nature be your playground.
Step 2) Learn how to exercise play, and play outside the box!
Step 3) Play regularly and with lots of variety.

And, of course, don’t listen to non-fun people who judge you for playing. Don’t be that snooty, stodgy grown-up who has forgotten the simple joys of outdoor playtime or exercise in nature.

Life can be recess, folks! And you can have recess every single day. Just get outside, have fun, re-learn how to exercise play and turn your WORKouts into FUNouts!

Adapted from: