The word 'fitness' is often terrifying to many people that do not have the motivation to work out, run or lift weights. BUT contrary to popular belief... there are so many enjoyable exercises that are just as beneficial (well, almost). A few weeks ago I shared why there's an Importance of Exercise, I wanted to now explain the fun ways you can start making an impact on your proactive health measures!
This weight bearing exercise is the perfect workout for toning inner strength, protecting your bone health, and improving respirations. Yoga is a great way to decrease your risk for osteoporosis that so many women older than 65 years fight. It also decreases your risk for heart disease by decreasing your BMI, cholesterol, stress and blood pressure. Yoga is great for those who have not exercised in a long time or those who are overweight, I recommend using lavender oil to help stimulate your body into relaxation, you will be surprised with it's effects!
Did you know the CDC reports only 46% of adults get enough aerobic exercise daily. Walking can reduce your risk for obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and much more. Your body CRAVES the fuel of exercise to function properly. While you walk, you release endorphins that stimulate your nervous system to have the feeling of happiness. Walking decreases your blood sugar, thus decreases risk for diabetes, which is now on the rise of incidence in the US. Plus, who doesn't want toned legs?
Swimming - If you have trouble getting yourself to run, walk or seem to be inflexible, swimming is your PERFECT workout then. Swimming uses nearly every muscle group in your body by strengthening and toning it. It also strengthens your diaphragm and lungs to have more chest expansion, which can teach you to control your breathing technique more. This enables you to increase your oxygen supply by taking deeper breathes. While swimming may be intimidating at first, after a few practice trials your strength increases with endurance! I would swim 500 meters every week (while I was a lifeguard) and I felt the strongest I ever have in my life. It is specifically helpful for people with arthritis or bone/joint pain since it is not a weight bearing exercise.
If you easily become intrigued with a good adventure, I recommend that you should start hiking! The main benefit of hiking includes the flexibility to control the duration, length and intensity of your hike. Hiking works most of your body's muscle groups, giving you the opportunity to increase your muscle strength and build. It is an easy catalyst for great cardio-respiratory and bone health. Hiking is also a GREAT activity with children and families and you can easily find hiking trails in nearly every city.
Who even knew dancing was even a workout? Those of you that are dancers know the intensity that dance offers. I was a competitive dancer for 6+ years in my younger childhood years and after I quit, I saw the loss of muscle tone almost immediately. Core, leg, gluteal, and lower back muscles are the pinpoints of strength, balance and flexibility in dance. I sometimes like to pop into a Zumba or dance class at my local gym and am always surprised by the effects I have the next day. Dance is also a form of personal expression and enjoyment, which can promote mental health. Music stimulates the brain’s reward centers while dance stimulates sensory and motor circuits – double the effect! There are even practices to see the improvement of Parkinson’s with dance!
Athletics - Sports
We often forget about the power of sporting events. Have you ever wondered why athletes have such rocking bod's? Go sit in on one of their practices and you will probably leave in awe. If you are a home-body and do not like to put yourself out there for backyard games, intramural sports or sporting teams, then you're talking to the right girl because that defines me! I am not coordinated gifted with enough talent to win a game, BUT I do love to play volleyball with my friends and family or kick the soccer ball around with kids I am around. Never underestimate the time it takes to get your blood pumping in a intense, 15 minute game of street basketball!
While this childhood game may seem as an easy workout – think again! This intense workout will give you an increasing heart rate in the 30 seconds! It is said to be the BEST cardio workout, you will burn about 26 calories PER MINUTE. It takes practice, but 5-10 minutes of jump-rope can be equivalent to a 30 minute walk of burning calories.
Jumping rope for one minute is one of the greatest warm-up exercise you can do! This trick will get your body warmed up in minutes!
These seldom-talked about exercises are beneficial to everyone, not just postpartum moms. While they may sound a bit funny, these exercises are so important for proper urinary function. They strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support the bladder. Older women specifically struggle with incontinence and you may as well be proactive about your bladder health! To perform, tighten your pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds and relax for 5 seconds. Do this 4-5 times in a row, trying to increase your contraction/relaxation to 10 seconds each. It is important to keep your concentration! It's best to perform kegel exercises 3 times day.