When it comes to doing exercise, people fall into three main categories. There are the naturally sporty folk who leap out of bed at 5:30am, grabbing a light, healthy bite to eat before heading off for a morning jog, climbing wall adventure or similar wholesome activity, arriving at work fresh-faced and wet haired, 30 minutes early. Then there are the try-hards – the ones who emulate the sporty folk, but never quite achieve their level of effortless enthusiasm. These are the people you’ll most often hear discussing their gym routines in public, or ostentatiously rattling their protein shake in the office – then snacking on crisps and chocolate for lunch. Finally, there’s the DGAFs (Google it, we’re a family website) – the people who’d rather starve than raise their pulse above resting level, who pity anyone who voluntarily places their feet in a pair of trainers.
Overcoming your exercise aversion
The fact is, not everyone enjoys exercise, no matter how much the sporty folk may claim ‘you’ll love it, if you just try it!’ – some of us would really rather be doing something else, instead. Unfortunately, if you want to live long enough to keep doing those other things, you’re going to need to fit some kind of exercise into your routine. If the idea of sweating is anathema, try these tips for mixing exercise with leisure – with any luck, you can distract your body into not even realising it’s doing exercise at all.
Add a competitive edge
Remember how fun moving around was when you were little? How you’d beg your mother to let you have just a few more minutes outside? Well, that’s because you were playing active games, not mindlessly repeating random movements in the gym. Adding a competitive element turns exercise from a chore, to a game – losing weight and getting fitter is a side effect, rather than the sole aim. And taking up football, bowling, golf or a similar sport means you’re regularly raising your heart rate through compound exercises, which are the most effective for building muscle.
Dance your way to success
It’s inevitably true that, as we get older, we have fewer opportunities to shake our money-makers on the dancefloor – which can be quite a drawback for those of us who previously relied on our smooth moves to attract attention. You may not have the opportunity to head out dancing every weekend like you did in your twenties and thirties, but why should your signature skills go to waste? Dancing’s a great way to get your pulse rising, whether you’re signing up to a class or simply going for it in the kitchen with your partner (ooh-er) – it might just help stoke the fire of your relationship, too.
Get down and dirty, al-fresco
Look outside your window – if it’s a jungle out there, you may have just found your new fitness project. Gardening might not sound like much of a workout, but tasks like digging, raking and weeding all count as moderate-to-high intensity activities. And if you’re somewhat less able-bodied than in the days of your youth, less strenuous gardening tasks like planting and watering can be a pleasant way to keep your body moving – just make sure you’re working on your garden for thirty minutes or more per session.
You don’t need to be a tracksuit-wearing, marathon-running, metal-water-bottle-wielding fanatic to find a type of exercise that works for you. Anything that gets you moving will benefit your heart, and the best type of workout is the one you stick to – so whether you get your cardio in by chasing the kids around, kicking a ball around in the garden or waltzing with your wife in the living room, you’re doing yourself good. Who knows – maybe you’ll end up joining Paul from Accounting on his morning fun-run after all.
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