Staying active doesn’t have to be something you dread. In fact, in order to incorporate physical activity into your daily life, it should be something you look forward to. If this is something you want to do but aren’t sure where to start—this blog is for you.
We’ve put together a list of our favorite feel-good ways to keep our bodies in motion.
This is one of the most basic forms of movement, and it is one of our favorites! Walking is known to ease joint pain, boost immune function, improve your mood, strengthen your heart, burn calories and help you think more creatively. It’s also proven that walking can increase your life expectancy.
Now that it is Spring, it is the perfect time to go to a local park, walk in your neighborhood, or even explore new neighborhoods around your city or town. If the weather isn’t ideal you can also go to local malls or rec centers to get your steps in. One of our coaches here at ZOE Wellness, Luis, recommends to start walking with the goal to hit 5k steps (~2.5 miles) per day and to slowly work your way up to 10k (~5 miles).
Walking is fun to do with friends and family, too! If you don’t have anyone nearby to walk with, you could use the time to call someone and catch up, or just take this time to yourself to pray, meditate, or clear your mind.
The benefits of gardening are plentiful. Not only do you get exposure to Vitamin D (don’t forget your sunscreen!), but gardening is also known to fight stress more-so than most hobbies. It decreases your risks for dementia and can have you doing aerobic exercises without even realizing it. If you don’t have a place to garden at home, check to see if there are any local community gardens near you. This is a great way to socialize with other people and simultaneously benefit a local neighborhood.
(Not to mention the satisfaction you’ll feel when your flowers bloom, or your crops are ready for harvest. You’ll be proud of yourself.)
Dancing is your body’s way of expressing itself. We aren’t suggesting that you audition for the next season of America’s Got Talent, but we are suggesting you put your headphones on or turn your speakers up and let yourself have some fun. Not only will this put you in a better mood, but it will help you get in touch with your body.
According to Richard Powers, a professor at Stanford, dancing is also known to increase your intelligence. “Dancing integrates several brain functions at once — kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional — further increasing your neural connectivity.” (For more information on that topic, click here to read the full article.)
There are many different intensity levels of hiking, and we recommend getting information on the trails you embark on before you get started. There are apps, like “AllTrails” that you can use to find nature trails near you, and you can filter them by difficulty level. You can also see other people’s comments and photos of the trails which will help you decide which trail is best for you. Don’t forget to bring water to stay hydrated!
If you are someone who enjoys watching TV Series or movies, this one's for you. Next time you pull out your remote, instead of sitting on the couch— go for the floor. Stretching is a great way to get back in touch with our bodies. Start with reaching towards your toes, and practice moving in a way that feels good to you.
TIP: To increase flexibility, focus on your breath. Every time you exhale, your body will relax deeper into your stretch. You can challenge yourself by doing a stretch like reaching for your toes and reaching as far as you can during an exhale. Hold that position through your next inhale and see how much further you can reach on your second exhale. You might surprise yourself!
6. Go on a Treasure Hunt (Geocaching)
This might sound silly, but here us out.
Geocaching is an outdoor activity that is happening all the time, all over the world. People use GPS to set up containers called “Geocaches” at specific locations that are marked by coordinates. Try searching “geocaching near me” in your search bar and see what you can find! It’s like an easter egg hunt, but for all ages, and happens all year long.
This is a very similar concept to Pokemon Go, except instead of finding treasure – you are catching cartoons in an augmented reality. This is an app you can download and is a fun activity to do with your friends, or your kids!
7. Get a dog
Dogs are a lot of responsibility. Please only explore this option if you can give time, energy and money into your K9 companion. If you do have the resources though, having a dog will have you out and about a lot more than you would be otherwise. Rain or shine, your dog will need to be taken out a handful of times a day. Dogs make excellent exercise companions, just make sure you do your research on the type of dog you get and what types of care it requires.
Rewarding? Also, yes.
If you do not have the resources to adopt a new furry family member— you can always watch someone else’s! There are dog-walking apps, such as Wag! that connect dog owners to dog walkers. Not only will this get you outside and moving, but you could be earning extra money and a four-legged friend at the same time.
Getting into water is a great way to move your body. It is easier on joints than most exercises and can be a lot of fun. You could go as far as to look up water aerobics classes in your community, or just take a dip in the deep end for small periods of time. Swimming laps is also a great way to get your heart rate up for cardio. If you’re lucky enough to live near an ocean, spend some time in the water! (You know what they say… salt water cures everything— sweat, tears, or the ocean.)
Remember: exercise should be fun! It feels good to take care of yourself. You deserve it.