A Healthy Mind in A Healthy Body
Outside of the going-to-the-gym-routine and joining in guided fitness classes there are several ways to get more exercise in your day. Incorporating just a couple of these exercising examples will not only help you reap the benefits of exercise, but also create a lifestyle full of fun, new experiences, and a deeper inner awareness.
Getting your exercise in the great outdoors has the added benefit of soaking in the natural surroundings. There are several easy ways to incorporate cardiovascular activities that you can do with little or no equipment and spontaneously start right away.
Running or walking A brisk walk can be just as beneficial as running so don’t go for the high-impact option thinking it’s the healthier way. Apart from maybe needing some shoes with good support, especially for running, these two activities are possible for anyone, at any time, without any extra equipment. Also try to create a longer walk for yourself by parking far away from your intended destination or go for a quick walk as you’re going about your day just for the health of it!
Biking Most people already have a bike, but if not, it’s a great investment and you don’t need to go top-quality. Any bike that you can ride will do. Making the choice to ride your bike instead of taking your vehicle out is a popular way to get some exercise while going about your daily activities. Great for the environment too!
Skiing/snowshoeing For those that get to experience snowy climates, taking up some type of activity that is dependent on the snow is not only good for your health but also helps you to not dread the winter’s negative side effects so much.
Stair climbing If you have a set of stairs in your home, you can use these for exercising purposes, but the concept can also be used to just naturally add some extra physical activity to your day by choosing to take a flight of stairs instead of an elevator or taking advantage of a quick exercise by traveling an outdoor set of stairs.
Jumping on a trampoline An exercise trampoline is a very small investment but provides an easy source of exercise. This is a simple way to add ten minutes here and ten minutes there of activity. You can run, jump with two feet or alternating feet, spin and jump, jump-kick and lot more fun high-cardio activity without the high-impact.
Skipping This is not just for children. Skipping provides a low-cost easy way to get an excellent cardio workout that provides a number of benefits like high calorie burning, improved coordination, strengthening of core muscles and enhanced bone density.
Along with cardio activity, you will want to incorporate some flexibility and strength training exercise to get the fully healthy effects of a well-cared for body.
Yoga/Pilates You can attend classes with a Yoga or Pilates instructor, which could be beneficial now and again, but these are compatible exercises to do in the comfort of your own home. Get a video that you can follow along with or do your own sequence of positions after you get familiar with some of the moves. Although there are some differences between Yoga and Pilates, they both focus on increasing flexibility and muscle tone and you can ease your way into more challenging moves.
Bodyweight Training This type of exercise uses the weight and movement of your own body to tone and build strong muscles. A couple of well-known examples would be push-ups, squats, crunches and lunges. There are many different exercises that are considered bodyweight training, which allows for variety and numerous options to choose exercises best for your goals and preferences.
Weight Lifting Done with free weights, this is similar to body-weight training with the addition of even more possibilities for exercises and a greater ability to build stronger muscles. Having just a couple of different sized weights allows you to experience a wide range of weight bearing exercises while not having to own a lot of equipment.
Flexibility Training Also referred to as stretching, that basic natural bodily function that feels great after a sleep or sitting for long periods of time, is also a key fitness principal to a healthy body. By stretching your body, you are extending and lengthening your joints which increases flexibility and results in better control of all your movements throughout the day. Yoga and Pilates are considered a form of flexibility training but for a different approach and wider array of exercises you can perform a basic calf stretch, hamstring stretch, shoulder stretch, etc. The image below shows a stretching routine that is a great option to do before high intensity cardio exercises or after any type of physical activity when the muscles are warm and more easily lengthened.
Ideally, your body would love it if you gave it at least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity every day along with a 10-20 minute strength training session and a lengthening flexibility routine of another 10 minutes. If you commit to this you’ll see and feel the great results of your commitment on the inside and out. However, this can also be a goal to achieve as you’re making slow progress towards a health-focused lifestyle. To start off your gradual progress towards a physically active life, commit to 10 minutes of cardio exercise 4-5 times a week. Perhaps you’ll have a few days where you’ll gladly take that high energy walk for 30 minutes or have so much fun leaping, hopping and spinning on a trampoline that you didn’t even notice 20 minutes go by. Those will be little bonuses and it’ll feel great and give you a boost to see how easily you can get fit and feel great, but keep your 10 minute goal for a whole week and each week, or even every couple of weeks, increase your time until you reach the minimum 30 minutes
By all means do more if that’s what feels right to you! Best not to get obsessed over exercise there is more to life, after all, but experiment with different exercises and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find a few activities that you genuinely enjoy doing. Because you really should be doing what you enjoy in every area of your life. Sure, everyone has a few tasks they’d rather not do, but those tasks shouldn’t take up much time and shouldn’t relate to you achieving a holistic state of health.
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