Take fitness beyond fitness

African American couple with backpacks hugging outdoors

Confused by the title? Well so am I! I had nothing when it came to a title today. I don’t know why. It’s possible it’s because I’m tired and this is how my mind feels right now until I have my coffee. Confused! What I actually mean is that you need to be active outside of just your designated “workout time.” I’m talking about finding chances in your daily life to become physically active at home, during your time off, and at work or school.

It involves a range of light, moderate and intense activities that when combined, lead to improvements in your fitness, overall well-being and quality of life. Doing this can also help you boost your levels when you are working out. The more active you are daily, the more your overall fitness improves; for example, you get winded less frequently, and your endurance is better.

The concept of physical activity has changed over the years

Sit ups - fitness couple exercising sit up outside

People’s understanding of what it means to be physically active has changed a lot over the last couple of decades. It’s shifted from a no pain, no gain approach that focuses on the body, to the concept that physical activity involves the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. It’s called active living, and it means creating physical, social and cultural environments that support your ability and motivation to be active. The choices of what to do have become more personal, and it’s not enough to simply tell people they should be active. More people feel comfortable deciding for themselves how active they want to be and what kinds of activity they like best.

If you haven’t been active for a while, try gradually increasing your exposure to active living. First, try new things out in small doses, things that will get your heart beating faster, and you should get at least 30 minutes of activity each day.

Please note that these suggestions should supplement your workout. Or if you are just easing your way into working out, these are great things that you should keep doing even once you start working out.

Here are some examples of active living that you can incorporate into your life.

Please note that these suggestions should supplement your workout. Or if you are just easing your way into working out, these are great things that you should keep doing even once you start working out.

At work or school

skateboarding

  • If possible walk, bike, skateboard or rollerblade to and from work or school.
  • Do some stretches or simple exercises while waiting for the bus or other transportation, if you feel comfortable doing it in front of others, or when there’s nobody around.
  • During breaks take some time to stretch, walk around or take the stairs, especially if you’re at a desk for long periods.
  • Make sure you stand up to get your circulation going if you’ve been sitting for a while.

During downtime or when you’re off

Bowling

  • Walk, run, or climb stairs.
  • Bowl, play mini-golf or play active video games (dance, sports, etc.)
  • Take a self-defense class.
  • Go out to dance or do it at home.

At home

african couple pruning plant in home garden

  • If you live in a house: shovel your driveway, mow your lawn or rake your leaves.
  • If you live in an apartment or condo: take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • If you have a car: hand-wash it.
  • Use down time as active time. Stretch or do simple exercises while you’re watching TV or a movie.
  • Clean. You are constantly moving and working different parts of your body when you vacuum, dust, do laundry or wash the dishes.
  • Plant a vegetable or herb garden in your backyard or on your balcony (if you’re allowed). If you have neither, herb gardens can also be grown indoors by the window.

If you want to change up the workout routine you already have

Couple

  • Take a class such as yoga, Pilates, or ballet.
  • Go to the gym if you don’t already do it.
  • Play a sport such as soccer, baseball, basketball, football, hockey (field or ice), or tennis.
  • Swim, bike, hike, go snowshoeing or skiing (if you live somewhere with snow), skate, or rollerblade.

These are some examples that show that active living doesn’t need a lot of time or expertise, and some of them are free or cost very little. You can find things that fit into your lifestyle, budget, and skill set. All that you need is a belief in the benefits of active living and some creativity to make it happen.

If you want some additional ideas on how to have fun when you’re working out, read Take getting fit to the fun zone like you did when you were a kid.

What are some of your ideas for taking fitness beyond fitness (wow I was able to take it back to the title!)?

49 replies »

  1. This is such a great read on so many levels! The advise is simple and easy for anyone to follow. So often we find ourselves wrapped up in our everyday lives and don’t take the time to do something active. Finding little bits of time in our busy lives is the perfect way to get active. To many hours are spent in front of the TV, computer, and on our cellphones. When asked why people don’t exercise I would bet the #1 answer is, “I don’t have time.” So, these are great tips to get small amount of activity throughout the day to help improve our quality of life.

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  2. Great post and thanks for sharing the good ideas on being active! After spending several years neglecting my health, I got back into fitness with inline skating which I did a lot as a kid. I think it’s important to make fitness fun because it ends up feeling like work if you don’t! I wrote about how I came around to this mentality here: https://foottogroundhandtomouth.wordpress.com/2017/01/08/sick-and-tired-of-being-sick-and-tired/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! I really want to try inline skating (I’m surprisingly clumsy for someone who did ballet for so many years!) now that you brought it up! Thanks for your story and for reminding me that I need to get on learning to inline skate. I look forward to reading your post!

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  3. Nice article. Cannot agree more with you. Once we realize how many possibilities there are to live actively, we would not even need to buy expensive work out machines , and stress out about not having time to go to the gym. Being active is the way of living, not only the few hours a doing hard core excercises.

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  4. Nice post! It is a good reminder that I can be more active than I currently am. My coworker and I started walking up and down the stairs at work for a break from our desk. We have also started stretching every couple hours and I brought a muscle rolling stick so I can roll out my sore muscles.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The title is perfect Sam!!! Totally agree with all. I do clean and dance at home a lot 🤣 I also need to add a plant on my balcony. That’s definitely on my to-do-list. Was just talking about this morning. Excellent article again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Rudina! Once it was in my head, I couldn’t get anything else titlewise in there 🙂 I do dance at home a lot too hahaha!! I am going to start adding more plants too, it is also on my to-do-list. I want to try herbs and maybe some hot peppers next. Thanks so much 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very good advice. It is so easy today to become sedentary at home and work. The screen time seems endless! I work very hard at trying to stay active not only for myself but to set a good example for my kids. Taking the stairs, getting out for walks when the weather is nice, playing in the yard. The simple things you mention here are so effective. It is great to get that message out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much Todd! I agree, especially working at a desk job it almost has to be a constant reminder to get up an move. That is so great that you are trying to instill the same value you place in being active in your kids too. I really appreciate your comment. I hope you and your family had a great weekend and have a wonderful start to the week!

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    • Thank you very much! I truly appreciate your support of this blog since the beginning Lisa. And for being so kind about the title 🙂 . I hope some of these do work for you. Have a fabulous weekend 🙂

      Like

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