Not everyone likes to work out. I see the cross fitters in the park and they don’t look like they are enjoying themselves a bit. On the other hand, everyone’s body needs to get exercise regularly. Adults should get at least 2.5 hours of moderate intensity exercise a week, or 1.25 hours of vigorous aerobic physical activity or some combination of the above.
Harvard HEALTHbeat offered the following: “If you’re not an athlete or serious exerciser — and want to work out for your health or to fit in your clothes better — the gym scene can be intimidating. Just having to walk by treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines can be enough to make you head straight back home to the couch.
“Yet some of the best physical activities for your body don’t require the gym or require you to get fit enough to run a marathon. These “workouts” can do wonders for your health. They’ll help keep your weight under control, improve your balance and range of motion, strengthen your bones, protect your joints, prevent bladder control problems, and even ward off memory loss. No matter your age or fitness level, these activities can help you get in shape and lower your risk for disease:
1. Swimming. You might call swimming the perfect workout. The buoyancy of the water supports your body and takes the strain off painful joints so you can move them more fluidly. “Swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight-bearing,” explains Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Research finds that swimming can improve your mental state and put you in a better mood. Water aerobics is another option. These classes help you burn calories and tone up.
2. Tai chi. Tai chi — a Chinese martial art that incorporates movement and relaxation — is good for both body and mind. In fact, it’s been called “meditation in motion.” Tai chi is made up of a series of graceful movements, one transitioning smoothly into the next. Because the classes are offered at various levels, tai chi is accessible, and valuable, for people of all ages and fitness levels. “It’s particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Dr. Lee says. Take a class to help you get started and learn the proper form. You can find tai chi programs at your local YMCA, health club, community center, or senior center. Continue reading