This time of year is rife with resolutions. Some hope to get organized. Others want to get their finances in order. But, what’s the #1 resolution in the country, year after year? To lose weight and get fit.
So, now that 2016 is a couple of weeks old, maybe the gym is getting old. Maybe you don’t want to spend the money on a membership. Still yet, maybe you simply don’t have the time to steal away to the gym. In my case, I don’t focus on the weight, but rather the health. I’m hoping to get my body used to being non-pregnant again and grab some extra energy wherever possible. It’s not a resolution here; just happens to be that my doctor gave me the okay to exercise again.
Whatever your reason for wanting to be healthy, I thought it’d be fun to share five ideas for getting a little physical activity into your life without having to hit up the gym.
1. Dance party!!! This is my favorite! Whether alone or with the whole family, try turning up your favorite upbeat music and dancing out that stress. Heck, we’ll put on the Sesame Street station on Pandora Radio and shimmy around the dining room table; it clearly doesn’t have to be your FAVORITE, as long as it gets you moving. Or, if you’re doing laundry or dishes, crank the tunes and get your feet moving while your hands do the work. After awhile, you’ll forget the goal was to exercise.
2. Get outside. Okay, this one’s tied for my favorite. I often feel like a walk around the block does more for me, mentally, than would a trip to the gym. So, whether you run outside solo or take your family for a walk on a nature trail, our bodies seem to reap additional benefits when we spend time with nature. Even in winter, things like snowshoeing, skiing, sledding, and more will help keep those seasonal blues at bay while getting your heart rate going. And remember that walks can be taken in almost any weather; if you’ve never walked through the peaceful calm of a snowstorm, you don’t know what an uplifting experience it can be. (Just be careful out there.)
3. Use technology. There are so many resources, paid or free, available online to get you moving. YouTube is full of channels that offer the services of trained professionals and personal trainers that can give you your favorite exercises to do in your very own home. Whether you like yoga (do this during naptime or after the kids are down for bed; it’s tough to meditate with kids around) and Pilates or challenging cardio workouts, just search and ye shall find. Also, use your smartphone to download your favorite songs or a workout app, or choose a wearable device that will help keep you accountable, if that’s what you prefer.
4. Play games. Okay, sitting playing Monopoly won’t get your heart rate going, but get your family to put down their devices (you, too, unless you’re doing #3 *wink, wink*) and try some games, whether dorky or not. There was a time that families made their own fun by playing charades or going bowling together. Find a board game that challenges players to get up and do goofy skits or run around. (Our latest favorite is “The Cat in the Hat Can Do That!”) Try some touch football in the yard, grab a frisbee to toss around, or set up a lawn game. By making it a team effort, you’ll not only be getting some exercise; you’ll be making connections and memories with your family, another top-ten New Year’s resolution.
5. Be a kid again. The thing that always gets me is that many of us were in the best shape of our lives when we were kids. Sure, when spring hit and we ran outside for the first time since autumn, we were a little winded, but did we care? Did we focus on how many minutes we ran around the playground or how many “reps” we biked around the block? Not a bit. So, much like #4, try having some fun the good, old-fashioned way. Chase after your little one, go on a hike with your teenager, or go camping and try rowing the canoe. If you go for a run, focus on the music you’re listening to rather than how far you’ve gone. The ideas are endless and help make exercising less of a dread.
6. Fast is better than none at all. Even if you only have 10-15 minutes to get up and exercise – be it like warm-up in our old gym class days with jumping jacks, stretches, arm rolls, and running in place – a little, quick activity is better than none at all. There are tons of quick exercises available on the Internet, like simple, fast workouts, exercises to do with your baby, and even exercise ideas for you to try while doing chores (although vacuuming IS the exercise for me).
What are your favorite non-gym tips to get yourself moving?