In today’s world of exercise, the hardest category to meet recommendations in has got to be the “aerobic activity” category. To reach a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness most people think that you have to walk briskly or do a slow jog for a prolonged period of time. This misunderstanding could very well be a reason individuals don’t reach the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) recommendations of 150-300 total minutes of aerobic activity per week. So is there a secret to making these numbers attainable? Sure! The secret is to make these exercise bouts enjoyable and make them fit into your specific lifestyle! Yes, the answer is to play more.
Any physical activity that elevates your heart rate for at least 10 minutes can be counted as cardioresiratory activity. This means that the old thinking of “low and slow” aerobic exercise can be set aside, and a new era of recreational aerobic fitness can arise! Here are some great (and fun) examples that could help you reach ACSM recommendations:
-Basketball game (pick-up game or shoot around).
-Bike ride with family or friends. (one hour ride can be very easy and enjoyable).
-Take the dog for a walk.
-Park at the edge of parking lot and walk in (work, grocery store, school, etc.).
-Play a game of sand volleyball.
-Go on a weekly hike!
-Kick a soccer ball around.
-Get up and dance!
-Jog around your favorite lake. (If you don’t enjoy jogging at least do it where you can enjoy the scenery).
So the next time someone asks you what you do to stay fit, tell them that you “play your way to fitness”! Physical activity can be contagious, especially when that activity is something that you truly enjoy doing. So the next time you are thinking about how much you don’t want to “exercise” just remember that physical activity can be fun, and is an imperative part of reaching the optimum health we all chase!