Maybe you are not an athlete, or maybe you don’t even exercise regularly, but you did recently realize it might be in your best interest to start working out for your health -and maybe stop buying clothes another size up! So here are my favorite 5 Best Exercises to Keep Fit.
Some of my friends tell me the gym scene is not for them, for varying reasons. I get it, having to walk by treadmills, stationary bikes, and weight machines can be enough to make you head straight home to the couch!
Gym Membership Not Required
The good news is, some of the best physical activities for your body do not require a trip to the gym. No matter how old you are, these “workouts” can do wonders for your health.
Exercising regularly can 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!
My 5 Best Exercises to Keep Fit
Swimming for me is the perfect workout. If you re lucky enough to have a pool, great; otherwise you might need a membership at a local YMCA!
Increased Cardiac Output
- Walking or running backward and forward, along with various limb movements is much easier in the water.
- Some exercises may include flotation devices.
- Submersion in water to neck depth also increases cardiac output, making water exercises aerobically efficient.
I had to add this stand-up about swimming at a YMCA. Don’t let it stop you from going!
Good for Your Mood
Research has found that swimming can also improve your mental state and put you in a better mood. I know for or me, I feel completely refreshed after a nice swim.
2. Tai chi
Tai chi is a Chinese martial art form combining movement and relaxation. It is a great practice good for both your 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.
Tai chi classes are offered at various levels, making it 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 this graceful artform is easy to practice anywhere.
Tai chi Demonstration Video
Don’t be bashful, go take a class to help you get started and learn the proper form. You can find tai chi programs at an aforementioned YMCA, or at a local health club, community center, or senior center.
3. Strength Training
If you believe that strength training is a macho, brawny activity, you’re right. No, just kidding, it’s good for women too.
Lifting light weights won’t bulk up your muscles, but it will keep them strong. If you don’t exercise your muscles, they can lose strength over time.
Muscles Burn Calories
Muscles help burn calories. Consider this: the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, so it’s easier to maintain your weight. Similar to other exercises, strength training can also help preserve brain function in later years.
Use Proper Form
Before starting any weight training program, you may want to contact a coach or do some research and be sure you learn the proper form. You don’t to damage anything by lifting the wrong way.
Keep in mind:
- Do not attempt to lift by bending forward. Bend your hips and knees to squat down to your load, keep it close to your body, and straighten your legs to lift.
- Never lift a heavy object above shoulder level.
- Avoid turning or twisting your body while lifting or holding a heavy object.
This article from Men’s Health demonstrates many ways to use free weights for strength building.
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Walking is simple but powerful tool to help you stay trim, improve cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, keep blood pressure in check, lift your mood, and lower your risk for a number of diseases (diabetes and heart disease, for example). Wow, tell me when to stop!
All you need is a well-fitting and supportive pair of shoes and a comfortable outfit. Start with walking for about 10 to15 minutes at a time. Gradually increase your walk-time until you are walking for 30 to 60 minutes every day!
5. Kegel Exercises
These exercises won’t necessarily help you look better, but they do something just as important — strengthen your pelvic floor muscles which support your bladder and can help prevent incontinence. While many women are familiar with Kegels, these exercises can benefit men too.
How to Kegel
To do a Kegel exercise correctly, squeeze the muscles you would use to prevent yourself from passing urine or gas. Hold the contraction for the count of five then completely relax. Repeat this 10 times and try it four to five times a day.
This is a little weird, and I have not tried adding these to my routine, but according to some, these Kegel Eggs do wonders! You can get them from Perry’s Healing Crystals.
Many of the things we do for fun (and work) count as exercise. For example, raking the yard or ballroom dancing count as physical activity. So does playing with your kids or grandkids. As long as you’re doing some form of exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, and include a day or two of strength training a week, I would consider you an active person on the right path.
You can sooth your muscles during a walk or after a workout with this luxurious skin cream from Joy Organics.
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