5 Reasons to Exercise TODAY!
5 reasons to swim for exercise
- It’s a whole-body exercise, working your legs, arms, and core.
- It has unique cardiovascular benefits: Regulating and timing your breathing helps expand your lung capacity, and immersion in water helps your heart work more efficiently.
- Specific muscles trained include your latissimus dorsi (your largest muscles, essential for posture) as well as your core – needed for balance, preventing falls, and everyday lifting activities.
- Swimming improves your mood, and researchers are exploring the additional benefits of outdoor swimming on mental health and well-being.
- It’s low impact, with minimal stress on knees, hips, and ankles. If you’re new to swimming, start slowly and watch your technique to avoid shoulder strain.
5 reasons to bike for exercise
- Cardio options: lower heart rate on the flats, higher heart rate on the hills. If you’re new to intense exercise, take a break – no judgement if you walk your bike up a steep hill!
- It can double as transportation! Biking to work or on errands is great for your health and an eco-friendly mode of transportation.
- Muscles trained: quadriceps (secondary: hamstrings & glutes). Your quads are some of the largest and strongest muscles; strengthening them can reduce stress on your knees.
- Being on the wide open road, if you can find it, is good for your mental health. Exercising outdoors may improve well-being more than indoors, and mountain bikers reported less stress and negative thoughts.
- Biking is low impact, with low stress on joints. Make sure your bike is adjusted correctly to avoid knee or back strain.
5 reasons to hike for exercise
- Hiking offers great cardio benefits, especially the higher you go. Your heart and your muscles have to work harder to move you against gravity.
- It’s an excellent way to pass the time if you’re up for a really long workout. (Be safe! Know your route, and tell someone where you’re going.)
- Muscles trained: legs. Hiking works the entire leg, including the hip muscles, quads, hamstrings, and calves. You’ll use up to 28% more energy hiking on uneven ground, in part because those muscles do extra work to stabilize your body.
- Interacting with nature improves mental health, including better self-esteem and mood, and reduced anger and stress.
- Pick a destination and take a picnic, or take a tent and make it an overnight adventure.
5 reasons to play tennis or pickleball
- Racquet sports are a great all-body exercise, using the chest and arms, core, and leg muscles.
- It’s easy to regulate exertion. Tennis is played in games and sets, so you’ll have a chance to take a water break. Try doubles tennis to share the workload.
- Benefits beyond cardio: Tennis has been shown to improve hand-eye coordination and balance.
- Great for friendly competition. In addition to improved fitness, Masters athletes from ages 50-80+ report that they enjoy the challenge and camaraderie of competitive sports.
- Easy to track your progress. As you play more, you’ll see improvements: as better scores, fewer double faults, or less fatigue at the end of a match.
5 reasons to play basketball
- Easy enough that anyone can Basketball can be a simple game that beginners can pick up easily, but has the potential for vast improvements in playing skill.
- Easy to find pickup games if you are competitive. Many local gyms or parks have courts that are accessible to the public (as COVID-19 restrictions ease). Brush up on your pickup game etiquette!
- Great overall exercise: Running and jumping work your legs and build bone strength. Shooting and dribbling develop your chest and arms, all the way to your wrist flexors.
- Good for balance, hand-eye coordination and mental development (learning the rules and strategy, and making quick decisions).
- Great way to meet people. Shooting free throws by yourself isn’t too exciting. By joining in a game, whether pickup or with a regular group, you’ll get social with others interested in the sport.
5 reasons to dance for exercise
- Dancing is fun and doesn’t feel like “exercise.” The steps (and miles) you log are a bonus!
- Music! The right beat just makes you want to move – and research shows that it improves mood and stamina during exercise.
- Regular dancing improves agility, balance, posture, strength, and flexibility.
- It’s a complex activity that also improves cognition and reaction time in older adults.
- Community with other people (if doing with others or a partner in a COVID-safe setting). Try a beginner class if you’re new to Zumba, salsa, or the waltz.
Whatever activities you choose…..Don’t forget to log your miles in your tracker! You’ve got this!