Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and Happiness

A compilation of the best indoor physical activities for adults - from aerobic to strength ones.
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Last updatedLast updated: October 03, 2022
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When it’s cold outside or raining, when you’re too busy or tired from work or kids to go to the gym or even the park, or especially in recent times when there has been a pandemic keeping us all inside, it can feel impossible to stay in shape and healthy. Exercise is a commitment and takes effort, and in our hectic modern lives, it can be hard to find the time or even the ability to put aside to go out and do it. These indoor physical activities for adults will help you with that.

This goes double for those who might experience health or mobility issues, especially older people and those with chronic illnesses who are simply not able to leave the house often. For many people, it can feel hopeless.

However, this isn’t the case at all. In fact, there are plenty of physical activities you can do indoors, whether at home alone or at work as a team-building activity. It’s not just for kids, either—there are plenty of indoor physical activities for adults to keep you moving!

How Much Activity Do Adults Need?

Very often, we forget the importance of active movement, especially as adults. Kids find it easy to run and play, but as grown-ups, we often have too many responsibilities, and exercise falls by the wayside. However, exercise is one of the most important things to do for physical health! A truly healthy adult requires 150 minutes (2.5 hours) per week of semi-intense physical activity, including muscle-strengthening activity. As well as heart health and staving off aches and pains, as well as reducing weight issues, sports activities for adults also help your body stay strong and healthy as you age.

Types of Activity for Adults

There are two main types Trusted Source Aerobic Exercise Examples: At Home, at the Gym, and More Aerobic exercise, or cardio, can help improve cardiovascular health, tone muscle, and support weight loss. Here are examples of aerobic exercises you can perform at home, at the gym, or with a group workout class. of physical activity for adults to focus on: aerobic or cardio exercises and anaerobic or strength exercises. The easy difference is that aerobic (meaning ‘with air’) exercises will increase your breathing and heart rate and should be done at a stable pace for a long period of time, while anaerobic (‘without air’) exercises are high-effort short-term.

Aerobic Activities

These are exercises that focus on your heart and lungs, known as the cardiorespiratory system. They help lower the risk of heart attacks or failure, breathing problems, and many other issues. These are the activities that “get the blood pumping”, such as swimming, walking and running, and biking.

Strength Activities

Lifting weights or working on machines that use arm strength at the gym are some examples of strength training. Things like push-ups also count. These are exercises that push against resistance (either external or based on the weight of your own body) to help improve your muscles and bones, called your musculoskeletal system.

Some activities cover both and are commonly known as full-body workouts.

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults

It’s important to remember that both strength and cardio/aerobic activities are needed to help keep you fit and healthy. Fortunately, there are plenty of indoor physical activities for adults which can help cover your bases!

It’s also important to note that physical and mental health are very much linked. Most good physical activities will have benefits on both your body and your mind, helping you live a more complete and rounded healthy life.

Rock Climbing

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessRock climbing centers are a great indoor sport for all ages and can be one of the more fun team-building sports activities for adults! These centers often offer party days or staff packages. Because of its high intensity, climbing counts as both aerobic and anaerobic exercise, also improving coordination and some mental skills.

Rock climbing is also a great choice because in many ways it’s simply fun—so much so that you might even forget you’re exercising in the first place. It’s a social sport, especially as someone is usually spotting you or climbing the same wall, which leads to bonding, chatting, and friendships.

Ice Skating

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessIce skating on a rink can be an indoor or outdoor activity and is great for coordination, balance, and impressing your friends! This cardiovascular/aerobic activity carries a ton of health benefits, including stress reduction, though it might take a while to master. Be aware that well-fitting skates are essential, and you might get some bumps and bruises while you’re still learning!


Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessWhen you’ve got a lot of pent-up emotion and stress, kickboxing is a fantastic way to get it out! It’s a cardio routine with a higher intensity than usual which is great for increasing energy levels and burning calories. It also has the added bonus of teaching self-defense!

Kickboxing is also great for building confidence in those who may suffer from worries about their own physical abilities. Your posture will thank you, too!

Jumping Rope

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessJump ropes aren’t just for the schoolyard. In fact, jumping rope is one of the most common activities which professional boxers use to ensure they get their cardio workout as well as strength training. As well, it’s just a fun way to enjoy some childhood nostalgia and get healthy at the same time.

The best thing is that jump ropes are usually cheap! Though there are ergonomically weighted jump ropes designed for more specialized activities, when you’re looking to exercise at home, this generally isn’t necessary. Just make sure the rope you buy is long enough for an adult to comfortably jump over.


Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessYoga and meditation are wonderful for mental health as they help to center your mind, but yoga is also a fantastic workout. It’s a good sport for all ages (and one of the best so-called old people sports because it offers a good cardiovascular and mental workout. It’s especially good for those with issues with posture and helps to regulate breathing. On top of all that, yoga is very easy to customize to your ability levels and comfort levels, and most good instructors emphasize the importance of not trying positions or movements for which you aren’t yet ready.


Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessDancing is the ultimate cardio exercise for the busy adult as it can be done almost anywhere. As well as casual dancing to music you love, there are also several different patterned dance options, such as traditional Scottish, Irish, and Country dancing. As well, several different types of specially engineered dance-exercise programs, including Zumba and Tumbao, are very popular and easy to do at home with online videos or classes.


Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessRacquetball can be played in or outdoors and doesn’t require a lot of equipment. It can be played one on one or two on two and was specifically designed to be easy to learn and to play. Like climbing, racquetball is a full-body workout that covers cardio, strength, speed, and more.

Some mental benefits of sports like racquetball include quicker decision-making and better mental clarity. Playing regularly also improves coordination as your brain and limbs must work closely together to react to the ball.

Laser Tag

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessThis is another activity often associated with kids—but it’s a great time for everyone! The team rapport makes it one of our favorite group sports activities for adults, and it’s hard not to get caught up in the stealthy fast-based competition. Laser tag offers great aerobic exercise because winning and playing involve constant movement throughout the whole match if you want to win.

Indoor Sports League

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessIf you’re looking for more regulated activity, indoor sports leagues might be the way to go. There are lots of them just a quick search away in every local area. People can generally sign up alone, with friends, or as a whole team. Common indoor sports league activities include volleyball, basketball, soccer, dodgeball, hockey, and more.

Station Training

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessStation training is a method of exercise where you go through different exercises in order to ensure you’re covering all the bases you need to. It’s commonly performed on machines at the gym (from weights and rowing machines to exercise bikes and treadmills) though several at-home machine options also exist, such as the NordicTrack Commercial Studio Cycle.

However, you do not require machines or weights for station training. Squats, exercise balls, swimming pools, and even sprinting can all be part of a station training program. You should also consider mixing up your routine every so often to keep it fresh and interesting!

Older people and those who struggle with movement often worry about station training, especially when it involves machines. However, there are several options specifically catered to those who need them, including some of the best pedal exercisers for seniors.

Cross Training

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessSimilar to station training, cross-training is an important way to make sure that you cover all the necessary types of exercise to keep you fit and healthy. That means getting your cardio and your strength training in without skipping either. The term can also be used for those who excel in one sport but perform in another to help their focus, agility, endurance, or more, such as the boxers who jump rope.

It’s common for those who specialize in outdoor sports to cross-train with indoor sports and vice versa. Some common examples include swimmers who practice rowing to help keep their arm and leg strength, runners practicing cycling to help with endurance, and several more.

TV and Internet Workouts

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessIf you’re embarrassed to work out in front of others or you simply don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home, TV workouts have been an option for some time. These can be aerobic, anaerobic, or full-body depending on the type of workout you choose. Most common are dance recordings step-by-step which you can follow along to help guide you through. There are also many strength options.

As well as being available on DVDs, digital downloads, and streaming sites, there have also been a lot of new video games dedicated specifically to exercise. Some of them even utilize movements in ways that don’t feel like exercise, such as using motion controls to guide a character through a level. You can also check out our compilation of cardio exercises for seniors to get ideas for your indoor workout.

Mini Sports

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessMini sports are one of our favorite sports day activities for adults! They’re exactly what they sound like—miniature versions of the bigger sports we know and love. Some examples include mini-golf (many courses of which are indoors) and mini-basketball. Some people may overlook these as childish, but as well as being fun and lighthearted, they’re particularly great for hand-eye coordination. As well, they don’t take up much space!

These games also help develop mental skills and decision-making due to their smaller scales.

An extremely popular mini-sport in South America is called futsal. It’s essentially a smaller, more open indoor game of soccer that allows people to play without the strict rules and regulations of full-scale soccer games. It’s a great way to relax in a sport without worrying about ‘doing it right’, and many professionals grew up playing or still play the mini versions of their sports for fun.

Cardio Tennis

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessAs the name suggests, Cardio Tennis is an aerobic workout, but it carries many elements of a full-body workout too. It’s great for calorie burning and popular with both men and women and is fun whether you’ve played tennis before or not! It’s usually played to music, adding an extra element of novelty to the sport which helps keep you agile and on the beat.

Smaller Activities

Indoor Physical Activities for Adults: Boosting Health and HappinessIf you don’t yet feel ready to dive into sports or regulated activities, there’s no need to worry. There are plenty of small changes you can make to your lifestyle both indoors and out to help your body build up resistance and get ready for more intense activities. Of course, depending on your physical ability, some of these options aren’t for everyone, so be mindful of what you can and cannot do!

Some of the best are:

  • Walking, jogging, or running to get where you need to go rather than taking the car or public transport. Biking is also a good transport option to help get you used to exercise.
  • Regularly walking a dog is also a good way to start with cardio exercises.
  • If it is a physical possibility, it is almost always better to take the stairs than an elevator.
  • Try hula hooping, skipping, hopscotch, or other playground games to get you moving. Playing on a trampoline is always fun and is great exercise!
  • Spend some time deep cleaning your home. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can work up a sweat!
  • Play games that require physical activity like Twister or charades. It’s only a little, but it’s a definite way to get started.

Spending time with the kids and grandkids is also a great way to keep you feeling healthy, especially if you play physical games like hide and seek or even building a blanket fort.


What do I do if I really don’t have time to spare even for indoor exercises?

If you work a lot or have small children to look after, even finding the time to jump rope or do a TV workout can feel impossible. Luckily, there are options to keep you fit and healthy that work around even the busiest lifestyle. For those with kids, the easiest way is to get them to join in! Dancing, laser tag, and videogame or internet exercises often don’t feel like work for children and will be fun activities. Their enthusiasm will also encourage you!

For those who work a lot, products like the REDLIRO Under Desk Treadmill can help keep you moving even when you spend fifty hours a week behind a desk. You can also take part in a regular five-minute exercise program throughout the day.

Do older adults really get benefit from exercise as much as younger adults?

Absolutely! Everyone throughout their whole life can benefit from regular physical activity adjusted to their abilities and lifestyles. Regular steady exercise is known to help stave off many chronic physical conditions and even help lessen the risk or effects of many mental issues which may be more prevalent in older adulthood. It’s also a fact that those who perform moderate exercise throughout their life tend to live longer than those who don’t.

What is the difference between light, moderate, and vigorous activity?

Light physical activity includes things that might happen on an everyday level, and the definition varies by health and fitness level, including walking to work, cleaning, lawnmowing, and more. Moderate activity, which will raise heart rates and help you to get more fit, may involve walking for health, dancing, or a sport like water aerobics. Finally, vigorous activity is a heavy workout that will make you breathe very quickly. Some examples are sprinting, martial arts, and resistance exercises.

Several guidelines for exercise activity by age group can be found here Trusted Source Exercise guidelines - NHS Physical activity guidelines for children and adults. .

Is it possible to over-exercise?

Technically yes, but this is definitely not something that most people should worry about, especially with indoor sports and physical activities. If you have previously not exercised much or at all, it’s important to start slow and ramp up to more vigorous activities, as going too fast can end up with you hurting or spraining muscles as well as more serious conditions in extreme cases.

The important thing is to take it at a steady pace and not to push yourself more than your body can handle. If you’re unsure, talk to a professional such as a doctor or a professional exercise trainer. In general, exercise is a good thing and you shouldn’t fear it!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are plenty of choices available for those looking to get some exercise done without the desire or the ability to leave the house or perform outside whenever you want. So many fun activities, whether individual or group-based, are waiting to be tried out! The above indoor physical activities for adults are far from an exhaustive list, so don’t be afraid to look out for an activity that works well for you!

The important thing is not to let the nervousness of starting a new sport get in the way of finding something that you enjoy. Fitness is not just important, but it’s essential for the life of a healthy and long-lived adult. There’s no need to see exercise as a punishment! Instead, your goal should be to find an activity that can bring fun into your daily routine.


Aerobic Exercise Examples: At Home, at the Gym, and More
Aerobic exercise, or cardio, can help improve cardiovascular health, tone muscle, and support weight loss. Here are examples of aerobic exercises you can perform at home, at the gym, or with a group workout class.
Exercise guidelines - NHS
Physical activity guidelines for children and adults.
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