It’s time to shake off the winter lethargy, dust off those sneakers, and spring into action! If going to the gym is on par with doing your taxes, it is just not going to inspire you to get moving every day. Choose an activity that you enjoy and chances are you will look forward to doing it every day. The examples that follow are a few of many fun fitness options – but do anything you like to get your joints jumping, your muscles working, your heart pumping, and your body shaping up!
Shimmy and Shake
1 Hour of Dance: Burn 250 – 500 calories
Whether you love to salsa or tap your way to fitness, dancing is a lively way to shape up. This dynamic workout can help you develop core strength, increase balance, and tone your entire body. Put on your favorite tunes at home and shake your hips, or join a class and learn some new moves. Just one hour of an intense Zumba class can burn up to 500 calories! Music and dance can also lift your spirits and increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the feel-good chemical in your brain.
Walk the Pounds Off
1 Hour of Brisk Walking: Burn 275 – 415 calories
Our bodies were created for movement, not for sitting behind a desk all day. You have to move it if you want to lose it! Start this season off on the right foot with just 20 minutes of brisk walking daily. Add a few minutes every day and eventually increase your time to 45 minutes or more. This gentle, but effective physical activity will benefit your heart, help improve your digestion, boost your energy, and increase your metabolism. Make it extra fun by walking with a pooch or pal, exploring nature, or even strolling in your local mall.
Say Yes to Yoga
1 Hour of Yoga: Burn 240 – 400 calories
The Sanskrit word for “union,” yoga integrates bodily movement with breath. Breathwork is one of the main components of yoga practice, and it not only unifies breath and body, it also alleviates stress and fosters inner tranquility. Research has shown that deep-breathing exercises can have a profound effect on our health, including balancing the pH of our blood and maintaining healthy blood pressure. Yoga also incorporates various body positions and postures that help increase strength, muscle tone, flexibility, and mitigate chronic pain. Just 1 hour of a vinyasa yoga class can burn around 350 calories. There are a plethora of yoga styles to choose from – experiment to find the one that best suits you. Whether you prefer to practice in the sanctity of your own home or in the good company of other yogis, your body, mind and spirit will thank you.
Try Tai Chi
1 Hour of Tai Chi: Burn 290 – 430 calories
This ancient Chinese martial art dates back to 12th century China and was been used for defense training and promoting vitality. The slow, graceful, repetitive movements incorporate deep breathing and meditation, making it a safe low-impact exercise that is appropriate for almost everyone. Besides being enjoyable, tai chi makes you stronger. Recent studies have found that it increases energy, boosts immunity against viruses, lowers blood pressure, and improves cognitive function. Tai chi is also a wonderful choice for those seeking help with chronic pain. According to one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of patients suffering from fibromyalgia experienced significant improvements after just 12 weeks of practicing tai chi.