We all know the importance of being physically fit, especially as we reach our 50’s and beyond. But how do you get fit when you’re really out of shape and hate to exercise?
The answer may surprise you. Don’t exercise!
That’s right. Stop forcing yourself to work out. You set yourself up for failure when you think you must do a particular exercise regimen to get fit such as, going to the gym and sweating through numerous machines or turning on a DVD and following a boring, repetitive routine.
When we take this must exercise approach to physical fitness, we create a negative perspective. And then getting in shape becomes even more challenging. We find we need to mentally psyche ourselves up to do the exercise program. No wonder we hate exercising.
A Different Approach to Getting Fit When You’re Really Out of Shape
But what if we took a different approach to exercise?
Forget about the gym for now. Forget about exercise programs unless you enjoy doing them. Which, if you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post anyway.
Instead, just get moving!
Recently my parents moved to a smaller house, and my husband and I had the task of cleaning out their old home. I was surprised at how sore I was the first few days and how out of shape I was. But, as each day passed, I noticed I felt better and stronger. I wasn’t doing anything strenuous, but I was walking more, bending more, and moving my body in ways that I usually don’t.
It was a lightbulb moment for me. If increasing my movement for a few days made that much difference, what would a few months of moving more do for my health and fitness? Instead of worrying about finding the perfect exercise program, why not merely increase my activity? I decided to find ways to build my strength and endurance while doing things I need to do, want to do, and enjoy doing.
Just think how simple this approach to health and fitness is. No exercise equipment is needed, nor trips to the gym, pricey gym memberships, special outfits, or exercise programs.
Productive and Fun Ways to Get Fit Without “Exercising.”
There are so many opportunities to be physically active while accomplishing things at home. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Yardwork – If you don’t believe yardwork will give you a workout, spend a day weeding your flower beds, planting a garden, or raking the leaves. You’ll get a full-body workout doing these activities. Plus, you’ll reap the benefits of a beautiful yard.
- Housework – Did you know you can burn 170 calories in an hour, mopping or vacuuming the floors? Cleaning your house gets your body moving while creating a clean living space at the same time.
- Wash the Car – Skip the car wash and wash your car by hand instead. This is another activity that will give you a full-body workout and a shiny clean car too.
- Paint a Room in Your House – Freshen the look of your house and strengthen your arms, shoulders, and back at the same time.
But life is about more than just work. There need to be fun times too. Here are some enjoyable ways to get physically fit.
- Walk your dog around the neighborhood or take him to the dog park to play.
- Go for a hike.
- Take a stroll in the park.
- Spend an afternoon meandering through a museum. This is especially good on rainy days when you can’t be outside. Your pace will be slower, but you’ll still moving.
- Volunteer – There are so many active ways to volunteer. From picking up trash on the roadways to helping Habitat for Humanity build houses, you can help your community, make new friends, and improve your physical fitness all at the same time.
- Ride a bike – Bike riding is a healthy and fun way to get out and enjoy nature. Don’t have a bike? Try renting one for a couple of hours instead.
- Rent a canoe or kayak and strengthen your arms and shoulders as you paddle along.
- Play tennis, golf, basketball, or any other sport you enjoy.
- Go for a horseback ride. Not only is this a fun activity, but you can burn up to 400 calories an hour.
- Spend an afternoon playing and chasing after the grandkids. They will keep you active and busy.
- Go for a swim. Swimming is a relaxing way to strengthen your body and lift your mood.
- Take a Dance Class – Ballet, Ballroom, Tap, Country Line Dancing, or Bellydancing. There are so many dance options from which to choose. Pick one that suits your style.
- Dust off your bowling ball and knock down a few pins with some friends.
These are just a few of the things you can do to get fit when you’re really out of shape. As your strength, endurance, and energy increase, you’ll find even more fun opportunities to increase your activity.
So, what are you waiting for? Get moving today and start enjoying a healthier you!
For more posts on getting fit and in shape, check our Healthy Living Page.