Fitness

Taking getting fit to the fun zone

Hula Hoop

As a child, I was super active. I loved playing sports with my friends after school, and I took ballet, gymnastics, ran track and played baseball in addition to the standard gym class. By the time I was thirteen, I was still in ballet, running track, taking gym class and had started working out every morning before going to school. I dropped gymnastics because it was interfering with my posture in ballet and I stopped baseball after getting hit in the face with a ball and fracturing a cheekbone. I was too afraid of fly balls afterward and therefore not capable in my outfielder position after that!

By the time I started university, my dream of being a ballerina ended when I couldn’t make it as a professional, and I had given up track and field in high school to focus on ballet. Regrets? Maybe. My family and coaches thought I could have been in the Olympics for Canada for the 800 meter, 1600 meter or long jump.  But I desperately wanted to be a ballerina, and if not, I wanted to write and help people as a psychologist. But total side track. My story did have a point! It was that I had already started to slow down my activity levels. Mostly because of time commitments and focus changes as you grow up. And that happens to most people at some point in life.

Importance of keeping your fitness fun

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People of all ages need regular exercise and activity to stay healthy. The benefits of fitness are too documented to ignore; and not just for weight maintenance. Regular exercise:

  • triggers your brain to release endorphins to help with stress and depression,
  • helps keeps your blood sugar more level, and
  • keeps your heart stronger as well as your body.

And these are just a few of the benefits. Adults should get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily to stay healthy and combat stress.

It’s also important to mix up your workouts to target different areas and to keep your engagement level high.

If you already exercise regularly and are looking for some fun activities to supplement it, or if you’re someone who can’t get motivated to start, what better way is there than going back to childhood. I mean have you checked out how children play? I can’t keep up with my niece’s reckless abandon half the time and the pure joy on her face just makes me happy.

 If you have kids: You can exercise with them, so you stay healthy together and get in some quality time!  Kids’ aerobic activity needs vary according to age. When you plan fitness time together, choose things that match their aerobic abilities, coordination and skill levels, as well as yours.

Here are some fun exercises you can try, and if you have kids, they are also child-friendly.

Water fun

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Water sports are a great workout, lots of fun and an opportunity for families and friends to be active together. The beauty is that you can do them indoors, so year around you can enjoy them. Swimming, water polo or water volleyball are all fun. There are also water aerobics classes.


Safety measures for children and possibly you depending on your skill level

Younger children and those (including older children and adults) who can’t swim well should always wear life preservers.

In addition to the standard rule of not leaving children unattended in the water, you’ll also want to avoid water wings and inner tubes. They don’t provide adequate protection for young children. Trust someone who almost drowned with an inner tube. Adults who swim with kids should learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other water safety procedures.

If you’re outdoors, remember to wear sunscreen and to reapply it when needed.

Sports

soccer on the beach

There are many sports that you can do alone, on a team or with family or friends. Some include basketball, tennis, squash, baseball or softball, badminton, soccer, and football (tag if you’re playing with children). While I’m on the subject of tag, for some silly fun why not play tag now!

Most of these sports can be played indoors as well, so if you get momentum going in one season, you can keep it up for the whole year!

Safety measures for all

For all outdoor activities, wear hats, sunscreen, and sunglasses with straps.

Classes

I got reinvigorated with fitness when my sister opened her studio years ago. I came at first as support, but her classes were extremely challenging and got me in the best shape I had been in since I was in ballet. Maybe most importantly, they were exciting! No matter how hard an exercise was, it seemed to be fun. There are so many options for classes that you can do on your own or with people and children of varying ages. Dance (this comes first because it’s my favorite!), yoga, pilates, the list is endless.

Check schools and community centers in your area that offer opportunities for you and any age group you might be bringing.

Safety measures for all

Ensure the classes are equipped to handle people all ages if an injury occurs.

Lessons

Why not learn some self-defense while you get, fit? Karate, kickboxing, and Tai Kwon Do are just a few of the awesome ways to do both.

Or pick up something you may have done before, or always wanted to try.  I picked ballet back up as a form of fitness, like shown in the picture (it was for an ad last year). Skating, gymnastics, skiing, swimming, how to properly dodge a ball. The list is endless.

Check schools and community centers in your area that offer opportunities for you and any age group you might be bringing.

Safety measures for all

Ensure the classes are equipped to handle people all ages if an injury occurs.

These are some of my tips for getting fit while kicking it like you did when you were a kid. Do you have suggestions?

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