Many people may feel anxious when they hear the word “exercise,” and this can be due to a lot of reasons. Some people may have had a bad experience with exercising in the past, or maybe some feel as if they don’t have enough time to go to a gym. This can make exercise sound more like a chore, rather than a necessary part of achieving and maintaining good health. Work schedules can be hectic, and gym memberships can be costly.
Fortunately, there are many ways to stay active— and even lose weight— without engaging in physical activity that feels like exercising.
Dancing is a great physical activity that has you burn calories as you do it. However, when engaging in dancing, you’re probably not going to be thinking about how many calories you’re burning— which is what makes this a great activity that will help you stay active. The best part about dancing is that you’re free to move however you want, or you can take dance classes of any kind to help you learn. Almost every kind of dance can elevate your heart rate, allowing you to participate in cardiovascular work.
Fishing is a quiet, relaxing activity that helps you clear your mind after a long work week. It also provides you with physical exercise. Casting and reeling your fishing rod requires you to use your upper body muscles, allowing you to work your shoulders, upper back, and arms. If you really want to turn it into a full-body workout, try fishing from a boat— the act of balancing works your core muscles, as well as your leg muscles. An added benefit is that fishing can also provide you with a heart-healthy meal.
Gardening may not seem like an active activity, but it depends on the type of gardening you’re doing. Both small and large gardens require you to do some digging, and digging with a bigger shovel requires you to use the muscles in your arms, core, and legs. Like fishing, gardening has the added benefit of providing you with healthier eating options. You can grow your own fruit, vegetables, and herbs for consumption. Gardening also exposes you to sunlight, which is great for both physical health and mental health— just remember to apply sunscreen!
Engaging in sports is one of the easiest ways to stay active, without going to a gym. You also don’t have to go to a football field, basketball court, or any other place but your backyard! Families can stay active together by throwing a football around in the backyard, and friends can gather together in parks to do the same. Not only will you be benefiting your physical health, but your social health as well. Both play an important role in mental health.
Walking is another way to stay active that doesn’t require you to go to a gym. Taking a walk through a scenic park or around your neighborhood is a short and simple way to increase your activity level. You can also make it a social activity by inviting friends to walk with you. More walking can also be incorporated into your daily life, like parking your car at a farther distance or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Also, try walking around more when you’re at work (if you can), especially if you sit at a desk most of the day.
Yoga is a meditative activity with roots in Hinduism. It focuses on relaxing the mind and stretching the body, keeping the two in tune with one another. Yoga can improve strength and balance, improve muscle tone, and create a happier mood. This is also a good form of exercise— especially for senior citizens. Assisted living facilities that incorporate yoga and other forms of social exercise (safely) are likely to have lower incidences of abuse and neglect of patients, though nothing guarantees that an assisted living facility will be inherently safe: keep the number of an experienced legal professional on hand, just in case it’s needed.
The key to consistent physical activity is actually enjoying that activity. When you dread doing something, you’re less likely to do it; whereas when you’re excited about it, you look forward to it. Try a few of these activities to see which one you enjoy the most.