Exercise and fitness, in general, are “dirty” words to a large majority of people. Why? Because most people today feel that they are obligated to work out, and with the increase in physical aches and pains, many feel it is just not worth it. In addition, many today feel embarrassed to exercise for a variety of reasons, which can prevent them from all forms of fitness.
What you need to realize is that regular activity will not only strengthen your muscles, but will also improve your overall health. It can help reduce your risk for many major diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and so many more. Staying active can help keep you young, reduce infections, help ease asthma, combat stress, help relieve hot flashes, and prolong life in general. All great reasons to get moving, right?
Now you are probably thinking, but I hate to exercise. Instead of thinking of exercise or fitness as something that you “have” to do every day, why not put the fun back into exercise! There are hundreds of different fitness activities that you can engage in on a daily basis, all while enjoying the experience and getting the needed 20-30 minutes of activity per day. Let’s look at the main types of exercise and some fun activities that you can incorporate into your daily routine to keep it fun:
- Flexibility exercises are important for everyone, no matter your age or your fitness abilities. These types of exercise can help improve your posture, movement, and overall bodily function. They allow you to move with complete range of motion, which can help protect you from a wide array of injuries. Exercises or movements that fall into this category include, stretching, yoga, Pilates, or even everyday activities like playing with your children, grandchildren or pet on the floor. If you sit at a desk all day long, try simple stretches throughout the day such as reaching for a pen on the furthest part of the desk, or squat down to pick up a pile of papers while holding the pose for a few seconds longer.
- Cardiovascular exercises are typically the most dreaded. These exercises are designed to elevate your heart rate, and, they use your large muscle groups to help you burn calories. Typical cardio exercises include walking, running, swimming, cycling, and use of the elliptical. These tend to be boring for most, however, there are so many other activities that will give you the same type of “burn” while remaining interesting and fun. Why not try skiing, hiking, volleyball, handball, playing tag with your children or grandchildren, or even parking in the back of the parking lot to get extra walking distance before shopping counts! If you sit at a desk all day long, consider getting stationary peddles for under your desk. These keep you moving and do not interrupt your everyday work.
There are so many activities that you can do to stay active, which will count as exercise for the day. Consider dancing, playing sports with your children or grandchildren, take a self-defense class, clean the house or office, play video games that involve movement (like on Wii), join a walking club – the point is to get out there and stay active, but have some fun while you do it!
Written by: Tammy Moorehead