9 ways to make physical activity fun

June 30, 2015

Fitness need not be a laborious task. These tips prove getting your health back on track can be fun for the whole family.

9 ways to make physical activity fun

1. Sign up for something fun

  • You might be turned off by the prospect of huffing your way around a running track, so appeal instead to the human desire for fun.
  • Try a swimming-pool aerobics class that plays oldies music, sign up for tango lessons and dress the part, or join a hiking club.

2. Aerobic and strength are equal

  • Experts conclude that aerobic activity (walking and cycling, for instance) and strength training (lifting weights and doing strength exercises) are almost equally beneficial for controlling blood sugar, so pick whichever most appeals to you.
  • Aerobic activity causes your muscles to burn energy and then draw glucose out of the blood to replace that energy, thus lowering your blood sugar.
  • Strength training gives your body a larger mass of muscle, so there are more cells drawing glucose out of your bloodstream at any one time — another path to lower blood sugar.

3. Invest in lessons

  • You may do a double take when you find out the price of a three-day yoga retreat, but if you're going to splurge on something, your health should be at the top of the list.
  • When you pay an expert to show you how to use weight machines properly or belly dance, you'll master the skill faster and enjoy your pursuit more. And a lesson is a small price to pay to keep from injuring yourself.

4. Try yoga or tai chi

  • You don't have to work up a sweat to get the benefits of exercise. Both yoga and tai chi increase your flexibility and balance.
  • The slow, sure movements and gentle stretching not only benefit your muscles and joints but also your mental health — their stress-relief benefits are proven.
  • Since being stressed can raise your blood pressure and drive your blood sugar up or down, those 45 minutes in class can do you more good than you realize.

5. Hang with fun, active people

If you have friends who love to hike or hit the driving range, their enthusiasm is likely to rub off on you. And most sports are more fun when you play them with friends.

6. Train for an event

Whether it's a 10-kilometre "fun run" or a walk for a good cause, put it on your calendar then get out there and get ready. Give yourself plenty of time to work up gradually to the amount of walking or running you'll be doing.

7. Volunteer your muscles

  • That is, offer to do manual labour for an organization that helps less-fortunate people.
  • For instance, Habitat for Humanity International will put you to work painting, nailing and hauling materials as you build homes for the poor. Not only will your body benefit, but your spirit will, too, knowing the good you have done.

8. Love people? Keep it social

  • Seek out group activities such as volleyball, shuffleboard, bocce and bowling. Staying socially connected is a key to keep your spirits up.
  • And you know what they say; laughter is the best medicine. If you have a good time with the people you're exercising with, chances are you'll keep coming back for more.

9. Vary your activities

  • Your passion for racquetball is bound to wane if you keep doing it day in and day out. Give yourself a break from your favourite game and go line dancing or hiking in the great outdoors once in a while, for a change of pace.
  • If mountain biking is your thing, trade in your spokes for some strokes at the swimming pool.
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