8 Playful Exercise Ideas in and around Minneapolis


We’ve been pondering the importance of playful exercise routines. We figure that daily playfulness not only makes you happier, it makes you more likely to stick with your fitness program. To foster playfulness, we’ve curated a list of 8 playful exercise ideas. Enjoy!

1) Join a sports team

Many of us didn’t have to worry about maintaining a healthy, active body in high school because we played sports. Fitness (and community, and playfulness) were just built into our daily schedules. So, why not pickup the old hockey stick, or cleats? Better yet, why not try a completely new sport like footy, roller derby (last bout of the season April 6th, 2013 and tryouts coming up on May 18th, 2013 at the RiverCentre in St. Paul!), or underwater hockey?

Why should young'uns have all the fun?

Why should young’uns have all the fun?

2) Barre Classes

The styles used in barre workouts might be familiar to you (yoga, pilates, perhaps ballet), but the workouts themselves are a whole new world. I’ve always found classes a bit intimidating, but, as Jenn from Fit Bottomed Girls points out, it’s important to challenge yourself sometimes. These are real “feel the burn” workouts that still manage to be a laugh riot. You can try it out at Align Pilates or Barre Bliss.

3) Silk Dancing Classes and Aerial Yoga

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been amazed by silk dancing. Did you know you can take private lessons in Minneapolis? Or, if yoga is more your jive, you could try aerial yoga. In this practice, you use a silk hammock as an aid, much like you would use a strap or block.

Whoa.  I wanna try THAT!

Whoa. I wanna try THAT!

4) Hoop dancing classes

Did you know that Hula hoops are a great exercise tool? Did you also know that there’s a weekly hoop dance class through Minneapolis Community Ed? You could also try hiring the ladies over at Twistin Vixens to teach a group class for your next event.

You'd have to actively try NOT to have fun doing this playful exercise

You’d have to actively try NOT to have fun doing this!

5) Get outdoors

The snow is going melt just any day now, and there are tons of great opportunities to get outside in this beautiful state of ours. Never been the outdoorsy type? Midwest Mountaineering and REI offer classes on everything from how to use a map and compass to hiking the Appalachian Trail.

6) Rock Climbing

Ever had that feeling of wanting to climb a rock just because it’s there?  Why not try indoor rock climbing through the Minnesota Climbing co-op (a really cool, inclusive environment) or Vertical Endeavors?. The staff at these places are friendly and helpful, and beginners are always welcome.  Plus, it might give you a great excuse for a vacation out west to test your skills on real rocks. Who knows, maybe the skills you gain will help you survive a zombie apocalypse one day!

Indoor or outdoor, Rock climbing combines fitness with puzzle solving

Indoor or outdoor, Rock climbing combines fitness with puzzle solving

7) Go folk dancing

If you want a way to get moving that will keep you laughing all night, folk dancing is a great activity to try. Minneapolis has a lot of opportunities for folk dancing, not least of which is Tapestry Folkdance Center. They offer Contra dance, English Country dance, and Bollywood dance, to name a few. Or, if you want to get really folky, you could try Morris dancing, a dance style that is not for the faint of leg nor lung. Unfortunately, none of the women’s Morris teams in the cities have a website, but for more information about men’s Morris dancing in the cities click here, here,here!

Traditionally a men-only dance, Morris dancing is now practiced by both genders

Traditionally a men-only dance, Morris dancing is now practiced by both genders

8) Fun with Treadmills

Or, if you don’t have the time to take on any new hobbies, here are some great ideas of fun new ways to use a treadmill from Charlotte over at The Great Fitness Experiment.

Amy Hillis is a recent graduate of Macalester College. She spends her time tutoring, bagpiping, and managing the I Think I Can Fitness blog, facebook page and twitter account.

Your turn! Let us know in the comments below if you have any playful fitness ideas that we missed in this post.

12 Responses to 8 Playful Exercise Ideas in and around Minneapolis
  1. Jesse C Walker
    April 6, 2013 | 12:15 am

    Awesome post Hillis. I saw some Morris dancing happening at my local pub, Merlin’s Rest. I had no idea it could be so intense!

    • A. M. Hillis
      April 6, 2013 | 12:18 am
      A. M. Hillis

      Yeah, turns out folk dancing can be for manly men too! Keep an eye on neighborhood parks on May Day. A lot of the local teams “dance out” in celebration of the spring.

    • Matt Tillotson
      April 7, 2013 | 12:00 am

      Great post, and, as for Morris Dancing, we (Ramsey’s Braggarts a local all male team) are always looking for new recruits!

      • Jesse C Walker
        April 8, 2013 | 2:31 pm

        Thanks for the link Matt!

        Don’t you guys have a couple of sessions coming up in April? We ate at Merlin’s last night and I think I saw you on the blackboard.

        We’d love to check it out.

  2. Amber Ellison Walker
    April 7, 2013 | 12:04 am
    Amber Ellison Walker

    Great Ideas! Integrating “fitness” into our daily life is what it is all about! I’m thinking I might need to try out the hoop dancing classes.

  3. Amber Ellison Walker
    April 7, 2013 | 12:05 am
    Amber Ellison Walker

    How about fancy team jump rope?! Anybody want to join me?

  4. Jeanne
    April 7, 2013 | 12:36 am

    Guess what? Uptown on Calhoun is a mixed-gender morris side. Bring whatever genders you’ve got, and your sweeties are welcome too! School-aged kids are welcome with their parents.

    • Jesse C Walker
      April 8, 2013 | 2:32 pm

      Very cool Jeanne!

      Where can we find out more?

  5. Dawn Jordan
    April 7, 2013 | 2:01 pm

    I’m looking forward to walks around the local lake path with my recently retired and sometimes bored neighbor!! Connecting with others is always great!

    • Jesse C Walker
      April 8, 2013 | 2:34 pm

      Thanks for the comment Dawn. Nothing like getting the blood pumping to eliminate boredom.

  6. Joanie
    April 7, 2013 | 10:36 pm

    We have a high energy dog. If I run with him at the end of the day we can all relax in the evening.

    • Jesse C Walker
      April 8, 2013 | 2:37 pm

      I can relate!

      If I run Odin (our boxer), and Amber runs Odin, and then we throw a toy for Odin, and then we let him run around outside and bark, then we can relax in the evening.

      But only if we let him snuggle with us on the couch.

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