Physical Health: Fun Ways to Get Fit and Trim
10 ways to get moving and shed pounds!
No time to work out? No time to plan healthy meals? Lack of time isn't the
only excuse offered by sedentary people who need to lose weight. Close on its
heels is another complaint: Working out just isn't fun, and neither is
shopping and cooking "healthy."
Exercise and weight loss experts say they hear that all the time -- but it
doesn't have to be true.
If sedentary Americans -- and that's nearly 40% of adults -- would adopt
some fun ways to get fit, chances are good they will pick up the exercise habit
for good, experts say. And once the exercise habit kicks in, eating better and
losing weight come easier.
Getting fit and getting trim is often a "two-fer." It's difficult to get fit
without eating right, and eating right makes it easier to get fit.
So forget what you learned in high school gym class or at the local health
club about what it takes to get fit and eat better. Here are 10 fun ways to get
moving and improve your diet. Why not pick one or two that sound fun to you,
and give it a try?
1. Forget Exercise; Have 'Fun' Instead
If the thought of the word exercise makes you cringe, banish it from your
vocabulary. Substitute "activity" or even "fun activity."
Exercise definitely sounds like sweat and work. "But when we think of
'activity,' it could be things we enjoy doing," says Fabio Comana, a San Diego
exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise.
"You have options. It can be enjoyable activities with friends or with the
family." Hiking, biking, urban walks, or playing outdoor games are just a few
activities that come to mind.
2. Pick a Comfortable Pace for Fitness
Choose an intensity level from the start that's comfortable for you, not
what your buddy or the exercise video diva says is the right pace.
"Generally speaking, folks who are overweight, out of shape, and sedentary
tend to feel pretty bad even in response to moderate-intensity exercise such as
brisk walking," says Dave Williams, PhD, assistant professor in the department
of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and The Miriam
Hospital in Providence, R.I.
"There does seem to be evidence in the lab that if you have people walk at
their own pace they are going to feel better than people who are walking at
moderate intensity," he says. "We aren't sure if it's because they feel
in control, or because they are walking slower" and not overwhelmed by the
exercise, he says.
Research into self-paced exercise is under way. While waiting for those
results, Williams recommends people try it. Almost everyone feels good after
they've done any kind of exercise, Williams says. "The way you feel while you
are doing it is more important" to long-term adherence.
His hunch? "The people doing the self-paced exercise won't find it aversive
and will continue to exercise over the course of months or years."