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Pair Exercise With Your Hobby

Creative ways to make your hobbies more active so you can exercise while you play.
By Katrina Brown Hunt
WebMD Feature

Teen boys walking dogWhat better way to start increasing exercise than to pair it with something you already love doing -- one of your hobbies? Get ideas on how to add more movement to some of these common hobbies.

The Perfect Exercise for Dog Lovers

Use your love of animals as motivation to take care of your own heart -- with a little aerobic exercise.

Exercise Match: Walk a dog. If you don't have a pooch at home, walk to visit the dogs in your neighborhood. Or volunteer to walk the resident dogs at your local animal shelter every week. You can also put up a flyer at your community center or the library or a nearby vet's office and start a dog-walking business in your neighborhood.

How to Stay Motivated: Remember that you're not just helping yourself -- you're giving those dogs a better life. Hang some pictures of your favorite pooches on your locker or bathroom mirror to remind you.

The Perfect Exercise for Photographers

Whether you like to take photos of people, places, or things, you can use your passion to work up a sweat. The best photos often don't result from just standing still -- you need to move for the right shot.

Exercise Match: Take nature hikes and snap photos along the way. "Say, 'I'll go on a nature walk with my camera two times a week,'" suggests Ronda Rose-Kayser, a certified family life educator in Sioux Falls, S.D. Or you can make a point to move around a lot to shoot portraits -- take an angle from the ground, try a shot from a distance, go back to the ground … you get the idea. Or walk around town to take pictures of buildings or people.

How to Stay Motivated: Pick a photo-related theme each week: maybe your friends one week and cool-looking bugs the next. Keep an album of your best pictures or enter them in a photo contest.

The Perfect Exercise for Cooks

If cooking is your passion, put your energies toward eating local -- like from your own backyard. Remind yourself that good home cooking is worth some sweat equity.

Exercise Match: Plant a garden. Doing a half-hour of yard work a day can burn as many calories as dancing or riding a bike.

How to Stay Motivated: Collect healthy recipes to make with fresh ingredients after your harvest. Make a chart of vegetables and herbs for your garden showing what needs to be planted and harvested each season.

The Perfect Exercise for Musicians or Music Lovers

True music lovers often feel it inside -- the rhythms and notes move through them. You can use this feeling to get on your feet and moving.

Exercise Match: If you play an instrument, stand as you practice to burn 20% more calories. You can even move like a jazz player -- play to the left, play to the right, and march in place. If you just like to move to music, listen to an iPod while you walk or jog, or dance in your room.

How to Stay Motivated: Write down what you want to do next, such as "learn the latest dance move sweeping YouTube" or "take a Zumba class." Be specific. "Write down how many days a week, how many minutes -- not just 'I'm going to dance more,'" says Laura Alderman, an exercise physiologist and behaviorist in Fargo, N.D.