If you’ve been around this site for a while you’re likely well aware of my absolute loathing of the gym. From the terrible lighting to the boring machines and awful music there’s not one thing I like about working out. Though, with that being said I have recently fallen in love with the functional movement gym, Freedom Fitness, in Saskatoon. And not solely because of their giant infrared sauna… though it does help get me there on days I would rather nap.
With that in mind, today I’ve compiled a list of fun activities you can try out until you find your physical fitness fit! Like fingerprints, handwriting, and personality, your fitness philosophy is unique to you.
What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. If you and your friend both wake up early to run before work, it likely won’t produce the same results. She may feel energized afterwards, while you’re left feeling angry and sleep-deprived.
When you exercise in opposition to your body and personality type, you can become stressed and produce a hormone called cortisol. Chronic stress causes your cortisol levels to remain high, which can lead to insomnia, abdominal fat, and illness. By making sure you find the right fit for your body you can put the fun back in fitness!
I’m a little biased because this is one of my favourite activities on the list, but bear with my while I tell you why! While the term yoga encompasses many styles and intensity levels they typically focus on stretching and breath control. More intense styles will tone your body, but you don’t necessarily have to practice Baptiste Power Yoga to get the health benefits!
Yoga is great for people who are looking for a customizable way to get fit while also lowering their stress levels. Numerous studies have highlighted the therapeutic and preventive benefits of yoga on heart disease. It’s also great for lowering stress markers and improving subjective feelings of wellbeing, which are keys to healthy and strong bodies. Most studios offer beginner classes to get started. And if you’re in Saskatoon I offer some awesome gentle vinyasa classes! You can also download videos for all levels from My Yoga Online.
High Intensity Interval Training
The beauty of HIIT is that it’s not confined to one sport or activity. You can do running, swimming, or biking intervals or just use weights. The key to this exercise is to give your maximum potential for about 10-15 seconds followed by a minute or two of recovery until you regain normal breathing.
It’s also fabulous because you can tailor it to any fitness level! Just starting out? Try 3 sets of intervals 1 or 2 x/week. As your fitness levels improve work up to 8-10 sets.
HIIT is great for achieving maximum physical benefits for the least amount of time commitment and for pushing your body to its highest potential. I like it because it means I can get in and out of the gym in under 30 minutes!
HIIT increases muscle strength and mitochondrial capacity as much as endurance training in as little as 15 minutes of intense exercise over two weeks! Try these beginners cycling, running, or swimming HIIT programs.
Weight training is great for people who are looking to boost their resting metabolisms and create muscle strength. This style of exercise can take many forms from bodyweight training to Olympic Style Lifting. What’s important is that it puts good stress on muscles and bones thus encouraging them to become stronger and healthier.
Studies have shown that strength gain has been associated with lowered symptoms of depression and that it is more effective than endurance training in improving blood glucose, insulin resistance, and lipid profiles, which are major risk factors in developing metabolic syndrome.
Check out these ACE certified men’s and women’s beginner plans or head on over to Nerd Fitness for Steve’s Beginner Body Weight Workout Plan. This plan is the one I’ve just started working on myself after doing a few months of classes at Freedom. It’s great because you can keep adding difficulty as you get stronger. For example I’m just boosting it up with some kettle bells and free weights.
This activity is great for people who want to get outside and explore their surroundings while also building strong and powerful bodies. Studies show consistent cycling has positive effects on cardiovascular health, weight control, and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
This form of exercise is perfect if you want to increase your cardiovascular strength and endurance and, when taken outdoors, challenge your body to adapt to new terrain. Running can also offer a time for quiet reflection, disconnected from our cell phones, laptops, and other gadgets.
Make sure you keep your sessions to under an hour as longer sessions can increase cortisol production and lead to abdominal weight gain, lowered immunity, and insomnia. Kind of the opposite of what you’re going for when you work out!
Group Fitness Classes
These classes are great for people who thrive off the high energy, pumping music, and motivating direction of a group class. Each class is taught by trained professional and so they are a great option for people who need a little more guidance and focus.
When I started going to the gym again I spent several months doing group bootcamps and HIIT classes so that I could learn all the proper moves and techniques. Plus it’s nice to have someone telling you when to start & stop and what to do when you’re just beginning. Try checking out a spin, bootcamp, HIIT class, or aerobics class at your local gym.
If you love friendly competition, camaraderie, and building community, then you may want to check out your local sports teams. Joining a volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, hockey, flag football, or soccer team is a great way to get in shape and make new friends at the same time!
I know my sister joined an ultimate Frisbee team this summer and it’s become one of her favourite activities.
Have you ever seen the ripped shoulders of a climber? I think their lean, mean bodies speak for themselves. Plus, when taken outdoors, it’s a great way to explore new terrain.
So those are some of my recommendations for physical activity outside the gym, but they really are only the tip of the iceberg. If none of these resonate with you, try swimming, skiing/snowboarding, boxing, jiujitsu, tae kwon do, tai chi, or hiking.
You may have to play around with several different types before you find your fit. Once you find something that resonates working out will no longer be a chore, but something you look forward to!
That’s all for today friend. And remember, if you’re looking to get super healthy, exercise is only part of the equation. Making sure you’re eating health-promoting foods is also crucial.
If you’re looking for a fun new way to take your health to the next level then make sure you download my FREE Fantastic Fermentables E-Book by clicking here. Have a wonderfully whimsical weekend!