Gabriel Randa was Mr. Target Heart Rate. Every day after work, he dutifully trucked to his health club to climb the stair machine, jog on the treadmill and pedal up “huge inclines” on the stationary bike.
Trouble was, he was hugely bored and began to dread the gym.
Cindy Samlith wasn’t bored. She was too busy with very important work to take time out to exercise.
But a near-miss with breast cancer woke Cindy up to the need for physical activity and a reprieve from her previously high-stress, sedentary living.
Both found their answer by adding the simple childhood ingredient of play to either enhance or encourage physical activity.
We all know how important exercise is and what a lack of it can do to us.
Or do we?
Researchers recently described sedentary life as the second largest threat to public health, saying that chronic diseases have increased dramatically because of physical inactivity.
There must be a way to encourage the regular physical activity that has long been associated with better health, longer life and greater well-being.
Perhaps play is the way.
Play is the ultimate in cross-training, as you move your body through many ranges of motion at different intensities. You are likely to see gains in strength, stamina and even weight loss—not to mention an increased feeling of liveliness and enthusiasm. And when you’re having a good time, you’ll forget you’re actually working out.
Here are a few ways to inject fun into your physical activity. Be as zany as you want in adding to this list.
• Infuse a little “silliness” into your walk by skipping or doing a bit of hopscotch.
• Organize childhood games for an adult party, such as: relay races, tug-of-war, burlap sack races, tag, follow-the-leader and Twister.
• For the super-adventurous, learn how to swing on a trapeze.
• Create little obstacle courses out of trees, curbs, creek beds, potholes, park benches.
• Learn to juggle. You’ll forget how much you’re doing for your upper arms and back.
• Jump rope—alone or with a partner.
• Play tag with your own children or the neighborhood kids.
• Bounce on a trampoline.
• Turn on your favorite high-school dance music and shake your bootie right there in the living room.
• During the summer, play “Shark and Minnow” or “Marco Polo” in the pool rather than do laps.
• Head for the nearest roller-skating or ice-skating rink, or rollerblade in your neighborhood.
• Rent a canoe or kayak and enjoy being on the water.
• Run through the sprinklers at your neighborhood school or even on your own front lawn!
• Challenge a kid to a bike race.
• Throw a ball, a Frisbee or an X-zylo around. Chances are you’ll have to run for it!