Getting active can be intimidating. With thousands of exercise programs out there, it’s hard to figure out which one is right for you. Fortunately, there are a few, fun, favorite fitness activities that rise to the top for everyone, whether they are just starting out or are long-time fitness enthusiasts. But before you dive into one of these activities, call Blue Ridge Physical Therapy to meet with our physical therapist and find out how to safely get in shape.
A cross between tennis and badminton, pickleball is taking the nation by storm with indoor and outdoor leagues popping up everywhere. Pickleball uses specialized paddles and a wiffle ball and is played on a small court. Slower-paced than tennis, but faster than badminton, pickleball is ideal for people who enjoy the social aspects of competitive sports but who want to avoid running or jumping often associated with racquetball, tennis or squash. The range of motion required to swing a paddle combined with the steps required to walk back and forth on the court makes it ideal for everyone from young children to octogenarians. Best of all, the average adult burns 250 calories in a casual 30-minute game, making it a great low-impact workout.
We tend to over-complicate physical fitness. Sometimes it is as simple as going for a walk. In fact, consistent walking routines have been linked not only to weight loss and joint health, but they have also been linked to long term brain health in older adults. If you cannot walk for 30 minutes at a time, start with 10 and work your way up, adding more time, distance and speed.
The difference between walking and hiking is defined by the terrain. Traditionally, hiking means changing your elevation as you traverse unimproved trails. The act of maintaining your balance, going up and down hills and traversing obstacles in your path mean burning three to four times more calories than simply going for a walk. Best of all, you don’t need special equipment to go for a hike. All you need are sturdy shoes, water, and a little wanderlust to get a great workout in nature. Best of all, studies have shown that exercising outdoors keeps you coming back for more.
When it comes to fun, low-impact workouts, there are few more effective than swimming. 30 minutes of swimming laps may burn around 200 calories, but that isn’t the only way to reap the benefits of the pool. Water aerobics, water dancing and water walking all help maintain a consistent level of exercise even if you are not a strong swimmer.
5.Stand Up Paddleboarding
In recent years, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) has exploded in popularity with good reason. Not only is it low impact, but it is also a total body workout. Standing on top of a board, you use a paddle to navigate a body of water. Engaging your core muscles for balance, using your upper body for propulsion and leg muscles for standing, an hour of leisurely paddle boarding burns 300 to 400 calories.
You don’t need free weights and running shoes to reap the benefits of physical fitness. Everyone can enjoy a more active lifestyle if they simply start moving. That is why physical therapy so often includes targeted exercise. If you need help getting started on your fitness journey, contact our office today to see how physical therapy can get you on the road to better health.