More than 25 percent of Ohioans were considered obese in 2007, up about 10 percent from two decades prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 25 percent of Ohioans were considered obese in 2007, up about 10 percent from two decades prior, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In other words, if you're on a double date, one of the people at your table could be headed for type-2 diabetes.

Dietary factors have contributed to the spread of the disease, so have increased workplace demands, suburban sprawl and Xbox 360. But researchers often point to the reluctance of Americans to burn off the calories they take in.

Technically, exercise is any activity that boosts or maintains health and fitness. More loosely, exercise is just moving around. Weird we make it so complicated - buying cockamamie devices, forcing ourselves into routines we hate.

If your regimen has become a rut, here are some activities to shake things up.

What you do now: Hide Bowflex behind basement fichus

What you want to accomplish: Tone upper body

What you could do: Kayaking

You might think kayaking is no different than riding in your grandpa's canoe. Not so. Instead of bailing water, wearing flannel and shoving off at 5 a.m., you'll get a comfortable, low-impact workout for the upper body.

"It's one of those things that depend on the effort you put into it," said Jonathan Barth, co-owner of Clintonville Outfitters. "It's great for strengthening the core and upper body."

A basic recreational set-up with boat, paddles and life vest starts at around $400, and paddling opportunities can be found across Central Ohio on Big Darby Creek, the Scioto River and Hoover Reservoir.

Tips for beginners: Before you drop your paycheck on a boat, check out classes at Clintonville Outfitters, Columbus Outdoor Pursuits or The Outdoor Source. Proper technique is important to make sure you're getting maximum health benefits, so a little education goes a long way.

What you do now: Walk on the treadmill, beer and remote control in hand

What you'd like to accomplish: Get your heart rate going

What you could do: Trail running

The idea isn't genius - hey, let's run where there aren't cars and stuff! - but the benefits have many runners turning off-road.

In addition to the cardio workout you'd expect, running on trails strengthens stabilizing muscles and provides a softer surface for feet and knees. Off-road fans also tout the benefits of being away from exhaust and city noise.

Before jumping into one of Ohio's several trail-running series, Trail Runner magazine suggests investing in specialized shoes and socks. Much of your other running gear will work just fine.

Tip for beginners: Metro Parks is midway through its annual free Winter Hike Series, which offers weekly guided tours across the county; it's a good way to learn about area trails. The YMCA of Central Ohio has a hiking club that organizes regular four- to six-mile treks around the state.

What you do now: Break in new ThighMaster (but save the box and receipt)

What you want to accomplish: Tone lower body and core

What you could do: Adventure fitness training

Looking good is one thing, but exercising for activities you enjoy can be even more rewarding. That's why Jeremiah Triplett has begun to organize outdoor fitness classes for The Outdoor Source.

The sessions offer functional training that mimics movements you'd find in backpacking, rock climbing and kayaking. He now offers private and group lessons and will put together a more formal schedule in coming months.

Tip for beginners: One way to ease into similar exercise is outdoor yoga, which last year popped up at various Central Ohio parks and should continue once it warms up.

What you do now: Replay old Tae Bo videotape

What you want to accomplish: Total body workout

What you could do: Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing is one of the best aerobic exercises - there's a reason they invented Nordic Track - and all you need is basic equipment and a few inches of snow.

Popular locations include Highbanks and Prairie Oaks Metro Parks and the green spaces operated by the City of Columbus. The emerald necklace along the Olentangy Greenway Trail becomes a hotspot for the sport each winter.

Tips for beginners: Columbus Outdoor Pursuits rents skis to non-members for $8 a day or $15 for a weekend. Its calendar says members are standing by for impromptu winter fun, including short skiing jaunts.