If it’s not fun, why do it? While that might be a bit of an overstatement, it’s not far off the attitude we take toward various aspects of life. We expect our work, hobbies, even things like our community involvement to bring us enjoyment. So why is it that so many people have come to feel like exercise is nothing more than mindless hard work?
Remember how, as a kid, you could easily knock out an hour twirling a Hula-Hoop or riding bikes or roller skates up and down the street with friends? Today’s Baby Boomers brought us Gold’s Gym, Jane Fonda workout videos and an obsession with running. But somewhere between then and now, that generation grew weary of fitness. JAMA Internal Medicine reported that Baby Boomers are not only less fit than their parents were at the same ages, but more likely to have diabetes or high blood pressure. More than half have no regular exercise routine.
Below are some suggestions for ways to get exercise that can be fun and relaxing. Find one or two that sound interesting to you and work on incorporating those things into your routine more often. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes a day of moderate exercise most days of the week, but keep in mind if you’re just starting that some exercise is much better than none.
Why exactly IS exercise so good for you? One reason is the powerful effect of exercise to prevent disease. Obesity is a leading risk factor for a number of serious medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. Exercise also reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure, and if you already have high blood pressure, exercise can lower it. In addition, exercise releases endorphins that facilitate a more positive overall outlook.
For older adults, exercise also helps improve coordination and balance, making a person less likely to suffer falls and the hip fractures and other injuries that can result from falls.
So grab a friend who will help you stay accountable to your commitment to exercise and get started! Remember, it doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial!
Fun ideas for physical activity
- Go hiking.
- Walk the neighborhood.
- Walk with a friend at the park.
- Walk during your lunch break at work.
- Try rock climbing (indoor or the real thing).
- Check out geocaching.
- Take a dance or fitness class.
- Consider a standing desk at work.
- Pull weeds in the garden.
- Play video games that make you move around.
- Join a sports league.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Park at the far end of the parking lot.
- Participate in a 5K (you don’t have to run!).
- Try rollerblading.
- Play golf.
- Throw a Frisbee with a friend.
- Go swimming/swim laps.
- Play tennis (or learn how).
- Join a community trash pick-up.
- Try exercise videos (check out MoveWell!).
- Plant flowers around the yard.
- Clean the house while listening to your favorite music.
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