Getting started with exercise can be difficult. If you’re like me, you were excited going into it because of all the studies that correlate exercise with happiness and a boosted mood…and then you jogged for 2 minutes and wanted to die, so you just sat down on the sofa and played Animal Crossing instead. You try to make it fun with music, or make yourself care more with drill sergeant instructors, or make it less painful by joining a local amateur sports team with a bunch of surprisingly try-hard people, but let’s face it: working out can be really difficult, not to mention boring. It’s not always easy to make yourself want to do something where you sweat buckets and make your muscles sore.

Bored by my own workout, I wondered what I could do to bring some of the fun back to exercising. I decided to draw up something different (and pandemic-friendly!) to take a break from my usual routine: an Animal Crossing “workout” based around the game’s emotes and dances! It may not be quite as good for you as a regular workout, but it’s good for getting some general stretches and movement in. It’s beginner-friendly – don’t worry if you have no idea what “cardio” or “strength-training” is – and it can be done indoors or out, in the freedom of your own house or apartment. Best of all, it centers around Animal Crossing – what could be better? Just imagine your favorite villager working out along with you!

Here’s the part where I add the disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or an exercise scientist! If anything hurts or doesn’t feel right while you’re doing this, please stop and consult a professional!

K.K. Slider Workout Tracks

It’s hard to work out without music to pump you up, right? Here are some K.K. Slider hits to keep you motivated while you sweat!

  • K.K. Bazaar
  • K.K. Bubblegum
  • DJ K.K.
  • K.K. Dixie
  • K.K. Island (in case you just really need to be in a tropical place right now, like I do)
  • K.K. Jongara
  • Lucky K.K.
  • K.K. Metal
  • K.K. Rock
  • K.K. Ska
  • K.K. Technopop

Warm Up

Greetings – 5 reps

Take your dominant hand and arm and stretch them out in front of you as far as you can. Hold it for a few seconds, then switch to the other arm. Do this five times for each arm.

Wave Goodbye – 5 reps

With your non-dominant hand and arm, wave your hand back and forth as hard as you can for 5 seconds, like you’re waving goodbye to someone who’s really far away. Switch to the other arm after the 5 seconds is up. Do this 5 times for each arm.

Distress – 20 seconds

Lift both of your feet one by one at the knee, stepping up and down quickly with each foot. Do this for 20 seconds. For bonus points, do more than one rep!

The Main Workout

Excited – 2 reps for 30 seconds each

Bend your arms at the elbow and hold your fists in front of your chest. Shake your fists and arms up and down like you’re holding maracas. For bonus points, move your hips back and forth as you shake.

Flourish – 10 reps

Start by standing with one foot in front of you and one foot slightly behind you. Push off of your back foot and spin your entire body around on your front foot. When you come back to the position you started in, throw your arms out above you like a pop singer on stage!

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Encouraging – 20 seconds

Stand with your feet close together and your hands out to the side and slightly behind your body. Lean forward a little, keeping your balance, and keep your head as still as possible while you shake the rest of your body. For bonus points, do it to the beat of a song!

Joy – 15 reps

Start with both feet slightly apart horizontally and your hands at your sides. Lift one foot and kick it to the side, putting your body weight on the other foot and waving your arms and head slightly as you do. Switch back and forth between feet, waving your arms and head in time with the changes.

Cooldown

Yoga – 15 seconds

This one was an obvious choice! Stand with your feet apart – one in front of you, one behind you – and stretch your arms out in front of and behind your body to mirror your legs. Close your eyes and hold the pose for 15 seconds. For an optional second rep, stand with your feet apart horizontally (one to the left, one to the right) and stretch your arms out to the sides to again mirror your legs. Hold the pose for 15 seconds.

Shyness – 15 seconds

Stand with your feet together and put your arms and hands close to the sides of your body. Wave your entire body side to side while keeping your feet and ankles still. You don’t have to move quickly – feel the stretch throughout your body and sway in a rhythm that works for you.

Sit Down – until you feel refreshed

You did it! Take a seat, grab some water, and breathe in some fresh air while you wind down.

 

That wasn’t too bad, right? Granted, it won’t make you into an Olympic athlete or an NFL football player, but it gets the blood flowing and prevents you from feeling too much like a couch potato during the pandemic. If you do the workout outside (wave to your neighbors as they stare at you while you wiggle your hips!), you’ll get the added benefit of vitamin D absorption from sunlight, which has noted positive effects on mood and mental health. If playing Animal Crossing each day is already part of your routine, simply booting up the game can serve as a reminder to get moving!

Working out doesn’t have to be boring, clinical, or stiff – it can be fun and engaging and incorporate some of the things you already do for fun each day. Over time, it becomes less of a chore and more of a respite from each day’s stress and problems. Making a point to move every day can start a healthy chain reaction in other parts of your life, like nutrition and sleep, and maybe these dumb little moves will make you smile, too. If nothing else works to motivate you, just imagine Tom Nook is threatening to take your house back if you don’t start moving. Hey, it worked for me!