Family Health Magazine - PREVENTION
Make the right choice
It's no mystery that physical activity offers great benefits. Research proves that it is good for your mind and for your body. Preaching this to the converted is easy. People who exercise regularly and with commitment tend to lead more mobile, active, and healthy lifestyles than those who do not. They sleep better, wake up fresher, eat better and generally think more clearly, compared to those who are inactive.
However, convincing someone to take up an active lifestyle is no easy feat. Inactive individuals do not necessarily 'feel the love' for exercise. Still, sometimes you only need to try something once to get hooked. Ask an active person how they got started. Often, it begins with one step and leads to many more.
Exactly how does one get hooked on activity?
Jane was in her mid-forties when she realized she was 30 pounds overweight and not doing anything to change the situation. Her children were grown, and although she'd always stayed involved in her daughters' sporting activities, she had slipped into a very inactive existence for herself. She realized that she wanted to participate in her family's lives. It was time to do something about it. She started by parking farther from the building (wherever she was), added stairs when they were there to climb, avoided the elevator, and enjoyed 'walking meetings' whenever possible. Soon, she was able to join her daughters while they exercised. Admittedly, she couldn't keep up with them for some time, but she could go to the gym, be outside, and enjoy activities with them again.
Six years later, she has not looked back. Jane decided that she had two choices. She could either participate in life, or choose to be a spectator. She chose to participate. She chose to drive rather than be a passenger. She wanted to be active with her family, but also promised herself not to exercise. What? Truly, she decided that the word exercise was not appealing (it sounded like work). Instead, she chose activities that could easily fit into her day, were fun, and included a mix of outdoor and indoor activities. For Jane, good activity choices also meant being social.
The right choice for you
What appeals to you? You can choose a solitary or group activity, and do it inside or outside. The chart shows examples that may spark your interest. Is there an activity you have never done but always wanted to try? Maybe now is the time to lace or suit up. Or, you could simply park farther away, get off the bus earlier or dust off that bike and ride to work. Variety, enjoyment and convenience are each important to help with actually doing.
||Bicycling, mountain biking, tandem riding
|Walking or running
||Walking or running
|| Paddling (canoe, kayak)
|Dancing, Wii activities
|Group fitness (mix of cardio and resistance)
|Water - swim laps, deep or shallow water fitness, deep water running
||Water - lake swimming, deep water running
|Skating, speed skating
|| Skating, speed skating, inline skating, skiing, snowboarding
Muscular resistance, stretching, balance
|Indoor climbing (rock or bouldering)
||Hiking, climbing, vigorous gardening
|Lift and lower the baby with care – for both of you
||Physically play with your kids – with care
||Skateboard, wake board, paddleboard, surfing
|Martial arts, tai chi, boxing
Where to go?
Search for exciting new ways to get active by checking with your local university or college, municipal recreation department or YMCA. Ask about instructor qualifications. Find out more about how your active living specialist, personal trainer or fitness instructor was educated. Here's a list of recognized qualifications.
- Group fitness leadership – Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association (AFLCA) or Can-Fit-Pro are well regarded certifications in Alberta and Canada.
- Personal fitness training – The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has two designations: Certified Personal Trainer (CPT), and Certified Exercise Physiologist (CEP). These are the gold standard in Canada. The American certification Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) is also highly regarded.
- Outdoor activity instructors often hold any number of activity-specific qualifications. Don't be afraid to ask.
- All instructors working in aquatic facilities are required to hold aquatic certifications.
If certain activities interest you, find out how you can participate in your community. Many organizations offer all kinds of activities. Look for qualified staff and instructors wherever you go. Stretch your imagination. Take a lesson. Challenge your body. Try something new – you might just get hooked.
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2015, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6 [PR_FHa12]