Do you know what I hate? Exercise. Do you know what I love? Playing Just Dance. Here is a very simple reason why: you get to jump around like an idiot pretending you’re just short of Lady Gaga with your awesome moves. The video that the game compiles immediately after each performance always cleanses me of such illusions. A keen-eyed reader might find themselves thinking: “But dancing is exercise.” Whaaaat?! Mind b-l-o-w-n. With game and play you can at least try to make exercising fun for even a short-spanned soul such as myself. How? I’ll tell you! When? Now!
Around this time all the glossy magazines tell you it’s another new year and yet again a new chance to start that healthy lifestyle. In the same vein a recent news article said 25% of Finns don’t exercise at all. In other news: I read somewhere that it takes a person around six weeks to alter their behaviour. With all this combined, I figured I’m going to try and offer a helping hand. I also gathered that this is the best time to juice things up and introduce some game and play into your life and/or routine. Games have addictive features in them, this we all know from the countless articles we have read on the matter. However, we also know that these addictive features can be used to nurture things that are viewed positive, such as learning, socializing and exercising. There’s award-winning research on that. If you’re not a reader, check out this short clip in the name of shameless self-promotion, you’ll get the gist.
Despite all this build-up, I don’t have ready-made answers to give you. What I can offer, though, are ideas that might help shape how to view things. Here are 3 protips on how to exercise without exercising.
- In games sometimes you have to do a bit of grinding to get that new shield or hat or level. The same with exercise. You just have to grind it out. But it doesn’t have to be grin and bear, you can add elements (like side quests) to make it fun.
Example – Planking: Every day some ludocraftians gather around on the floor and put music on. Then they stay motionless supporting their body with the sheer power of their arms, toes and phenomenal abdominal muscles. It’s not fun. But the music part is and the other people around don’t hurt either. They provide a beautiful distraction from the grind, they’re the side quest of planking. This has been going on for nine months now. My upper abs are visible (or maybe they’re just my ribs).
- Make it into a game (duh?!) to fool yourself into thinking that you’re not even working out. You’re just playing pretend and doing something fun. Any positive effects health-wise are a bonus.
Example – Just Dance: Every week, on Tuesdays, a handful of ludocraftians gather in what can probably be described as a conference room. Some people might call it a dark multipurpose hobby space. In that room we dance like maniacs for two to three hours. I jog and I do pilates and I spin every now and then. But none of them give me the same childlike joy as sweaty, spasm-like flailing in a conference room does. I already told you in the opening paragraph: I’m basically Lady Gaga. This delusion has been going on for more than a year now.
- Make an epic thing out of your exercise, so you’ll feel like the hero you are.
Example – Run: Every year pretty much all ludocraftians gather around a theme and run like we’ve never ran before – quite literally. Last year we ran as Rocky Balboa (pics or it didn’t happen: video clip) and in 2015 we ran around in circles for 10k indoors (more proof stuff happened: video clip No. 2). It took us 162 laps. We’ve also ran a half marathon. There’s no video of that.
If you’re feeling like you hate exercise even more now, and kind of me in the process as the person who protips using mostly inapplicable examples, don’t fret! You’re justified in your wrath. However, there’s still hope in the quest of reaching that annoyingly healthy lifestyle found in glossy magazines. Simply because there’s always a way to bring a bit of game or play into your life. The tiniest of trick might do it: pretend to be Arnold to motivate yourself into going to the gym, plank in the middle of the day just to weird your co-workers out or reward yourself with candy – some people might call it counterproductive – I call it worth it and fun.
LudoCraft’s Global Sales and Brand Manager, Anne Ryynänen, keeps talking more about exercise than actually doing it. This text is a testament to her insistence on keeping it that way. You can follow her quite inactive Twitter life @pikkukapy. For more of an active touch, we recommend following LudoCraft’s Instagram @ludocraftgames.