Can you believe it–we are in the New Year already. And if your resolutions are like nearly everyone’s — health, better eating, and exercise are at the top of most people’s lists.
One of mine is to exercise more. Exercise is so important for oxygenation, memory, happiness/serotonin production, maintaining muscle mass and keeping our hearts and bones healthy, especially as we age.
But, do you know what I believe? The only exercises that are going to work, and that we will stick to for life, are activities that we LOVE: exercise that doesn’t seem like exercise, because it’s so much fun and gives us joy!
Now, some people may actually *like* pounding the pavement or sweating at the gym, but not me. If you have to white-knuckle it, it’s not going to work, at least not in the long term.
Ask yourself, “What kind of movement is going to make me happy enough to want to do it several times a week on a regular basis?” It needs to become a regular habit in order to really benefit your health.
That’s not to say you have to stick to the same activity all the time, though. I’d recommend picking two or three, or as many as you like, really, and try to do each one once or twice a week.
And remember that my Micronized Purple Rice is the best way to help brighten your mood and give you energy, both of which will help you *want* to get moving.
So with that said, here are 10 ideas of fun ways to exercise.
1. Go swimming
This is my go-to exercise. It’s non-impact and allows a full range of motion and feels good even if everything hurts on land. I am lucky that I live in Florida and have my own heated saltwater pool so I swim first thing in the morning and even in the moonlight if I feel like it — and in fact, I often do!
Charles and I love to swim under the stars at midnight right before bed.
But if you don’t have a pool, don’t fret — nearly every gym has one with water aerobics classes or just Google your nearest community pool and go! Check YMCA’s, neighborhood pools, local colleges, and so on.
2. Join a dance class
There are all kinds of classes available now, from ballroom to belly dancing to chakra dance! Check community bulletin boards, or find a dance class on the Internet.
If you love to tango or do-si-do, either with a partner or in a community group, a dance club could be just the ticket. Heck, you might even meet a sweetie at one of these shindigs!
3. Get a rebounder
Rebounding is a very easy, pleasant exercise that elevates your heart rate, gives your legs a good workout, and is the only exercise that really helps to get your lymph flowing! You don’t have to even jump on it — just sort of walk while raising your knees a bit is all it takes to experience the health benefits.
These mini-trampolines are available at sporting goods stores. One with a bar to hold onto is ideal, to help you keep your balance. Be sure to get a really sturdy one, preferably one that’s already assembled.
4. Do yoga
There are so many types of yoga classes available today. If you are new to yoga, make sure you find an instructor who will work with you individually, especially if you are out of shape, overweight, or have other physical challenges.
I ran a Yoga School (Yoga with Kare) in St. Petersburg, Florida for years. I love what yoga can do for mind, body and spirit.
Anyone can do yoga…if you find good yoga instructor who can show you how to do modified versions of the poses until you are strong and flexible enough to do the full versions…or who can modify them for injuries or disabilities that you might have.
Look for someone who offers restorative or therapeutic yoga if you have injuries. There is even chair yoga if you cannot easily get down on a mat.
5. Try tai chi
I love tai chi. The slow, elegant motions of tai chi just might be your cup o’ green tea. This graceful martial art is now being taught and practiced throughout the world.
I studied it in China and in the parks at 5 am practically the whole town shows up to do their tai chi exercises.
Proven to increase longevity, tai chi will help you to improve your breathing, posture, flexibility, awareness, memory and so much more. It’s wonderful for stress reduction.
Done barefoot outdoors in the early morning, it is especially peaceful and pleasurable. I like doing it at sunrise and sunset in my garden.
6. Join a team
Bowling leagues, baseball teams, volleyball teams can be a great choice if you like socializing and meeting new friends. It’s great exercise while still being loads of fun! If you missed out on the start of the season, you can always offer to fill in as an alternate for someone who’s sick or on vacation.
7. Take a hike
There’s nothing like fresh air and sunshine — they do a body good! Remember to stay well-hydrated. It’s a good idea to bring a compass, too — you can even download a compass app for your smartphone, for free.
I’m in Florida—so I hike on the beach…hard to get lost there. I really miss hiking in the woods or mountains.
You’ll be tired but happy after a few hours soaking up the glory of nature!
8. Ride your Bike
I hop on my bike several times a day and just ride on the trail that luckily goes right behind my house, or I ride around my neighborhood. It is a quick break from my work, I breathe, get out in the sunshine and move.
I think this is my favorite quick exercise. I might ride to the beach which is about 2 miles away, but I have done 10 mile rides for years.
I always feel oxygenated, exercised and happier after a little bike ride.
9. Get a dog
We have two golden doodles, Beau and Chloe who follow me everywhere I go! Dogs are such sweet, loving creatures who need to have you exercise with them. They have to have a walk around the block a few times a day — forced but fun exercise.
My dogs love playing in the yard with me — I take them outside several times a day. We have a few acres so I don’t have to walk them around the block. Plus your sweet dog’s excitement at being out and about is contagious!
A wonderful way to get fresh air and sunshine, as well as exercise and camaraderie, golfing is a great excuse to get your swing on, and have loads of fun doing it!
Or, if you don’t want to play a full 9 or 18 rounds, just go to the driving range and hit a few balls. Perfect your swing while also getting exercise!