Perhaps it’s time to reframe the word. Because exercise doesn’t automatically mean 20 sweaty bodies in a mirrored room at the gym, nor does it mean a solitary run around your neighborhood or 30 consecutive minutes of heavy breathing.
We’re going for movement—more of it and more fun ways to do it. Sure, it’s important to get that heart pumping, but it’s not too difficult to make it pump while doing something you enjoy. For instance, when was the last time you stopped to check your pulse while doing the latest line dance at the local VFW hall?
Any activity you can do with your family is likely to bring you joy, so grab someone you love—with two or four legs—and head out to your local park for a hike. Turn on some music and dance like a maniac in your own den. Challenge a kid to some table tennis at the pool. Join a karate class and learn how to defend yourself and get fit at the same time.
Here are a few other choices that are not only good exercise but can help make you feel like a kid again.
These are not your daughter’s pink plastic hoops. The latest incarnation of hula hoops are part of a revolution. Made with PVC and weighted, these large, colorful rings are often decorated with colorful duct tape. You can find them at local farmers’ markets for between $25 and $35. And if you think you can’t hoop, think again. Everyone can hoop with these. Put on some music, and work your abs. Before you know it, you’ll have burned through a bunch of songs and a lot of calories!
If you’ve ever skated before, chances are, you can skate now. Whether you loved it on ice, in a rink, or on the street, you can’t find much more fun than lacing up and rolling out. Because your first time back on wheels (or blades) may provide a whoops or two before the “whee!”, be sure you have the proper safety gear—wrist guards, knee pads, and a helmet are recommended; elbow pads are suggested.
Laser Tag/Paint Ball
These days, kids celebrate their birthdays at complexes that house laser tag, paint ball, and arcades. Why not join the party? The exhilaration gets your heart pumping, and you can brush up on your escape skills!
For a few dollars, you can put a whole new spin on a game of catch. Frisbee is great exercise, especially if you play with someone who’s not well practiced at throwing. It’s a great hand-eye coordination workout, too. A few parks are even set up with Frisbee Golf courses. The game is played with smaller discs and chain baskets, targets for the disc. Players keep score in much the same way as golf and get plenty of exercise walking to each hole. For added fun, get a light-up Frisbee, and play in the dark!
Row, Row, Row Your Boat
If you have a river, lake, or reservoir nearby, you probably have a boat rental shop. Enjoy an afternoon on the water with only the power in your arms to get you moving. There’s nothing like a little teamwork to make things fun and interesting—and help you make a splash!
Whatever you choose to get yourself moving, it doesn’t have to come with the stigma of exercise. Let it be about fun, and you’ll look forward to getting your heart pumping more and more each day.