Monday, 27 September 2021 15:52

How do I Choose What Physical Activity I Should Do?

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We all know by now that we should get some kind of physical activity each day. We all have seen the commercials for the gym memberships, the runners along the beach, the spin classes. But have we ever truly considered what kind of physical activity is right or us and our individual needs?

Some of us thrive on cardio: running, biking, swimming, or HIIT. Others feel more comfortable with low-impact workouts such as Pilates or yoga. Still others enjoy team sports like basketball, soccer, or football. Whatever our preference for physical activity is, it’s up to us to choose and not anyone else. Whether you’re a cardio queen or a weight lifting machine, read on to find out what works best for you. Then get up and do your newly found activity!

In order to determine your preferences for physical activity, you first must ask yourself some very important questions:

1. What does physical activity mean to you?
2. What kinds of activities helped you at different times in your life?
3. Does your current physical activity support your emotional and physical health?
4. Is physical activity something you look forward to, or is it a chore?
5. On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your level of satisfaction with your physical activity?

I know that my personal journey has evolved many times over the years. I didn’t eat the healthiest food as a child. I grew up in the 90’s when the processed food obsession was in overdrive: Gushers, Fruit-Roll-Ups, Dunk-a-Roos, and a whole lot of sugary cereals practically jumped off the grocery store shelves. I was overweight, but I was physically active. As a kid, I didn’t think of my physical activity to be anything more than playing. I had a stick horse (exactly what it sounds like; a mop stick with a plastic horse head on it) and I used to pretend I was riding around on my horse in the yard. The way I used my feet, it sounded just like the gallop of a real horse. I would also play “Monster” with my little brother. We imagined some kind of monster in our woods chasing us all over our yard.

I wasn’t worried about burning calories or losing weight. I just wanted to have fun. And that’s the key to physical activity: you have to find something you like doing. Once you answer the questions above, you will be able to see physical activity in a new way with fresh eyes.

As I matured, of course my childhood games evolved into more strategic ways of getting active. I retired my stick horse for running shoes, and my game of “Monster” turned into dancing in my bedroom like no one was watching. I also cleaned up my diet slightly. I did lose some weight just by being more active and being more aware of the foods I consumed.

And sometimes, a small change like this is all it takes to make a huge difference in your journey. I learned a lot about my body and its preferences for activities. I enjoy working out alone because I’m self-motivated. I noticed I am happier and less stressed after I work out. Most importantly, physical activity became something I had to do, not because I needed to, or felt compelled to, but because I genuinely enjoyed moving my body and seeing results. For me, being active is my salvation from work and other stress factors in my life.

Nowadays, I still run, but I also lift weights, belly dance, aerial yoga, and HIIT (high intensity interval training).

Our bodies are meant to move. They are capable of so many things that we can’t even imagine the possibilities. And the benefits of exercise outweigh any decision to skip it. Everything from your brain, lungs, and heart, to your bones, muscles and skin benefits from physcial activity. It increases your lifespan, reduces your risk for diseases, improves sleep quality, and strengthens your immune system.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of physical activity, click on these links:

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fphysicalactivity%2Fbasics%2Fpa-health%2Findex.htm

https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/4-types-of-exercise/

Now, what are you waiting for? Go get active!

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