An article caught my eye today and I had to do a double take. The gist of the piece was that if you are enjoying exercise, you aren’t doing it right. If you want to get technical, I supposed that may be true. I’m a fan of the Slow Burn method for building strength, but let me tell ya, It’s not fun. I don’t get up of a morning and think “I can’t wait to work my muscles until they hurt and my body feels like a blob of jelly!” So maybe we are only really working our muscles if we are doing something that is uncomfortable. I’ll concede it’s possible.
Now, time to talk about reality for a moment. As a general rule, most people are more likely to stick with something if they enjoy it. I’m not saying tough exercise routines can’t be adhered to. Many people have a tenacity I can only admire when it comes to their workouts. But what about the rest of us, who just aren’t hard wired to enjoy pounding the weights? What I’m saying is if I really enjoy an activity, I’m more likely to make time for it in my busy schedule. Who really wants to work all day and then come home, or go to the gym, and work some more? Honestly, not me. Thankfully Slow Burn is a twice a week workout that requires very little time, which is one of the reasons I use it.
My spare time is very limited, and precious to me. If you have children you know how fleeting their childhood is, and how every moment with them is time well spent. So I’ve started combining exercise with our family time and it’s been fantastic. Now keep in mind my version of exercise is getting off my butt and moving any body part that will cooperate. It may not fit an expert’s version of the word, but it works for me.
Can exercise be fun? If we look at exercise from the viewpoint of moving your body, then the answer to the question is a resounding yes! Exercise can be fun. If you have a natural aversion to exercise, as I once did, then the following suggestions just may be for you.
Just Dance & Just Dance 2 for the Wii – I can’t begin to tell you how much fun my children and I have with this game. We choose some great upbeat songs, grab the controllers and dance ourselves into happy, hilarious exhaustion. Not only do we compete to beat each others scores (or our own personal best), but we laugh while we do it. I dare any expert to walk into my living room after a session of this game and tell us we didn’t just exercise. I’m always sore the next day, so I know something got worked. Granted it won’t build huge biceps or 6 pack abs, but my muscles did something other than sit for an hour or so. Not too shabby for someone having a great time.
Country Dance for the Wii – This is basically an all country version of the game above. It’s also fun, and maybe even a little harder. My daughter and I are floored at how complicated some of the dance moves are. My stubborn side is determined to learn them, so I have a lot of country dancing in my future.
Dance Dance Revolution – This game is available for Wii, Xbox 360, PS2, PS3, PC and plug and play for your TV. If you really get into this game you can work your whole body, but you will most certainly get a leg workout. You can start out slow to get the hang of it, then bump yourself up gradually until you are moving like a madman. It’s a lot of fun and my kids enjoy the dance competitions immensely.
With the new Xbox Kinect and Playstation Move additions, you have a variety of games for your choosing, dancing or otherwise. Below is a list of some games that keep you moving while they keep you smiling.
- EA Sports Active
- Active Life Extreme Challenge
- Wii Sports & Wii Sports Resort
- Wii Fit & Wii Fit Plus
- Zumba Fitness (yes, this one is dancing)
- Walk It Out
- Michael Jackson: The Experience
Playstation 2 & 3 Games:
- Zumba Fitness
- EA Sports Active 2
- The Fight: Lights Out
- Get Fit with Mel B
Xbox 360 Games:
- EA Sports Active 2
- Kinect Sports
- Your Shape Fitness Evolved
Okay, so what about those of you who don’t have a game console, or prefer to get out of the house? I say if you enjoy it, then go do it! Examples are:
- Roller on in-line Skating
- Bowling (go to www.kidsbowlfree.com to get great family deals)
The possibilities are really endless. Granted these things may not be the ultimate tool for giving you that bodybuilder physique, but in truth, most of us don’t want that. We just want to be healthy and active. What better way to do that than find an activity that enriches our lives, as well as moves our body. Tennis anyone?
© 2011 by Amy Dungan. Article and photograph used by kind permission of the author. Send Amy your comments to Amy Dungan.
EA Active by Electronic Arts Inc.