The gym scene can be quite intimidating for people who aren’t athletic or committed to a working out program.
Dealing with weight machines and treadmills can have you rushing to the comforts of your bed, but if you are determined to be fit, and burn that extra fat; there are great physical activities that can achieve just that without stepping into the gym.
These physical activities will benefit you by improving your range of motion, strengthening your bones, and manage your weight.
Regardless of your age or whether you are a beginner or intermediate in fitness, these activities will help you get into shape and lower your risk for disease.
Swimming has been classified as the perfect workout because it works the entire body. This is because swimming is beneficial for people who live with arthritis since it’s less weight-bearing.
Swimming is the way to go If you want to burn calories effectively.
In a scenario, a 160-Pound person can burn approximately 423 calories an hour while swimming laps at a low or moderate pace. That same person can burn up to 715 calories an hour swimming at a more vigorous pace.
Swimming has been classified as the perfect workout because it works the entire body. The cardiovascular system performs well because of the great work out your muscles get. This is because swimming strengthens your heart and lungs.
Some of the benefits of swimming are:
- It increases your heart rate without inducing stress on your body
- It tones muscles
- It builds your strength capacity
- It builds endurance
- Improve your sleep
- Helps to boost your mood
- Can manage stress
2. Strength Training
If you don’t learn to use your muscles, they will eventually lose their strength over time.
When people think of strength training celebrities like The Rock come into mind, well that isn’t the case. Lifting weights won’t bulk up your muscles but will help keep them strong instead.
Muscles help to burn calories too, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn which will help in weight maintenance.
Both men and women can experience the benefits of strength training but getting a doctor’s opinion before beginning is highly recommended, primarily, if you have been inactive for a while.
Some of the benefits of weight training are:
- Weight control: when you begin to gain muscle, your body starts to burn more calories faster.
- Stronger bones: your bone density will increase and the risk of fractures will reduce significantly.
- Joint Flexibility: symptoms of arthritis will reduce and joints will remain flexible.
- Gain balance: flexibility and balance will increase hence the reduction of falls and injuries
The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice a week and to start slowly and gradually increase the resistance or weight as the exercises become easier
Before starting a weight training program, be sure to learn the proper form. Start light with just one or two pounds. You should be able to lift the weights 10 times with ease.
After a couple of weeks, increase that by a pound or two. If you can easily lift the weights through the entire range of motion more than 12 times, move up to a slightly heavier weight.
Yes! Walking we do it every day yet overlook its amazing benefits. It is a simple yet powerful exercise. This is because it helps to strengthen your bones, improves cholesterol, elevates your moods, and helps to maintain your weight.
Walking can also keep your blood pressure in check and lower your risks of contracting various diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Studies have shown that walking combined with other physical activities can improve your memory and prevent age-related memory loss.
All you need is a well-fitting and supportive pair of shoes. Start with walking for about 10-15 minutes at a time. Over time you can start to walk farther and faster until you’re walking for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week.
4. Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a form of Chinese martial arts that incorporates both movement and relaxation. It has been dubbed ‘meditation in motion’.
It is beneficial for the body and mind and anyone can get started with Tai chi whether you are out of shape or recovering from surgery.
This form of exercise is very low impact and includes slow-motion movements. It involves going without pausing through a series of movements named for animal actions: for example, ‘white crane spreads its wings’, or martial arts moves, such as ‘box both ears’.
When you move, you continue to take in deeps breaths while focusing your attention on your body sensations.
There is a huge difference between Tai chi and other types of exercises. The movements included are usually circular and never forced. Your muscles remain relaxed instead of getting tensed and your joints are not fully extended or bent
Some of the benefits of Tai Chi are:
- Gaining flexibility – This is because Tai Chi can boost your upper and lower body flexibility
- Gain Muscle strength – When practiced regularly, tai chi can be equated to resistance training. This is because the lack of support on the arms strengthens both your upper, lower body strength and even the core muscles of the back and abdomen.
- Improves balance – some studies suggest that Tai Chi reduces the risks of falls. This is because Tai Chi improves proprioception ( the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space – usually declines with age) which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments.
The ability to recover from a stumble is much quicker because of the flexibility and strength training that is acquired through Tai Chi. Studies show that this exercise helps to train your mind by reducing the fear you face when you are about to fall. Having the fear of falling will plausibly make you fall.
5. Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are simple clench and release exercise that one does to make their pelvic floor muscles stronger. The pelvis is located right between your hips and is responsible for holding your reproductive organs. These exercises will only strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that support your bladder. They will not make you look toned or fit.
The pelvic floor is a series of muscles and tissues that form a sling, or hammock, at the bottom of your pelvis. Having a strong pelvic floor prevents incontinence.
Kegel exercises are mainly common with women but men can benefit too.
It is important to empty your bladder before doing Kegel exercises. To perform a Kegel exercise correctly, squeeze and release the muscles you would use to stop urination or prevent you from passing gas.
Alternate between quick squeezes and releases with longer contractions that you hold for 10 seconds, and then release for 10 seconds. Work up to three sets of 10-15 Kegel exercises each day.
Do not overdo your Kegel exercises because overworked muscles become tired and won’t fulfill their necessary function. As with every exercise, consistency is key, results can even show up a few months later so don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results quickly.
Keep in mind that If you do feel pain in your abdomen or back after doing a kegel exercise, it’s a sign that you are doing them wrong – when contracting your pelvic floor muscles, the muscles in your abdomen, back, buttocks, and the sides should remain loose.
We tend to take things we do for leisure for granted but they can be classified as exercises. If you are looking for something new that won’t wear you out but will benefit your health regardless, try doing one of the above.
If swimming is your choice you should consider caution and do your research before taking a swimming lesson.
Harvard Health Publishing. (2019, August 20). The health benefits of tai chi. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-health-benefits-of-tai-chi
Marcin, A. (2017, September 9). 12 benefits of swimming: Weight loss, health, and more. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-swimming
Stang, D. (2018, September 17). Kegel exercises: Benefits, goals, and cautions. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/kegel-exercises