Physical fitness is one of those things that pays dividends over a long period of time. You’ll pay in today, but you may not see the results right away. And if you haven’t felt the rush of a runner’s high or the bittersweet sting of a post-lift session, you’ll find yourself stalling in your fitness goal and leaving you jaded about getting in shape.
Believe it or not, physical fitness isn’t just about working for results or “feeling the burn” so to speak: it’s about putting yourself in the position that you can taste success and enjoyment with every movement, every stride, and yes: every ache too.
So here’s some easy, effective, and best of all fun ways to get in shape for the coming summer.
There’s a reason that simple-but-sweet lifting routines like Starting Strength or Couch-to-5K get passed over in favor of sleeker, sexier (yet often gimmicky) regimens such as Crossfit or HIIT programs like Insanity. SS plans are about strong, stable, reliable, and predictable routines. In other words – your average person just won’t find them engaging and will likely lose interest before they acclimate to them.
While we don’t necessarily recommend Crossfit or HIITs, they’re doing what smart-yet-boring routines don’t: they keep it fresh. A results-oriented plan is ideally a better way to exercise, but it’s, practically-speaking, less effective if you’re not getting that rush of engagement, thrill, and fulfillment from doing it. No one wants to lift heavy piles of metal every day if they’re not already in the habit of doing so.
However, as a species that’s so well suited to learning and observing, we get an incredible rush just from trying new things. The first time playing beach volleyball is vastly more thrilling as a weekend excursion than the fiftieth time you’ve gone running. And an afternoon of laser tag might not be considered traditional exercise, but it’s going to do you far more good than putting off a jog that you know you don’t want to do.
As a secondary benefit, trying more physical activities is a great way to expose yourself to more sports and hobbies, letting you find “The One” that’s going to capture your attention and become a regular, enriching habit for you.
Everything you do (or don’t do) is going to be influenced by your mood and your sunny disposition, and they call it “Sunny” for a reason. Whatever you plan to do over the Summer, be it soccer, lifting, or running: you’re going to get better results, have more fun, and stay healthier if you do it outdoors.
Maybe we forgot how our moms always pushed us to get out of the house, or maybe the ease of indoor fitness clubs turned us all into reclusive gym rats; but the benefits of exercising outdoors in any context has been sorely overlooked.
Vitamin D and fresh air aside, natural sunlight is a built-in necessity to help us feel normal and content with ourselves. The benefits of exercising outdoors are far too numerous to count, but here’s a little perspective:
There’re hundreds of things you can do to get in shape and love every moment of it. Weightlifting, running, and Zumba just aren’t for everyone – and people’s hesitance to keep to them is clear that while effective, an effective plan only delivers when it’s fun.
So to that, there’s a number of activities you can use to get fit that are incredibly good for you, relatively safe, and most of all – they’re proven fun.
Making a comeback in recent years, rock climbing builds core strength, improves balance, and is very low-impact given the high calories it will burn. Indoor and outdoor climbing walls are all over Canada, with top-heavy rappelling courses and free-hand bouldering available to cater to your personal taste.
While not exactly “off the beaten path”, there’s thousands of styles and arts available with varying levels of technical or physical expertise that literally anyone of any health status can find one that appeals to them. The great thing about martial arts routines is that they’re always mixing it up, teaching concepts directly to you, and demonstrating progress – making them an amazing way to stay engaged with the hobby.
With growing popularity among the student crowd, Fencing has become something of an insider sport in recent years, with communities that are highly supportive and integrative. Combine that with a sport that builds your lower body for fast, explosive power and you’ve got a fun, competitive replacement for sprinting that will keep you coming back.
The 90s may be long gone, but rollerblading is coming back. And we give it a glowing recommendation for one reason – it’s very very low impact for the calories it burns. As long as you’re exercising safely, this joint-friendly workout can burn up to 600 calories in an hour – that’s almost as much as distance running.
And the list can go on and on. The more you explore your fitness options, try your hand at new things, and do it in a positive, reinforcing environment – you’re going to keep coming back to fitness every single day. Weights can’t do that, jogging can’t do that, but a smart perspective and an open mind can – and will.
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