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Make Fitness Fun

by Nancy Hightower - September 1, 2021

It’s no secret that an important part of a healthy lifestyle is physical activity. There's a lot of information and different workouts available on the web, and it can be overwhelming. If you're looking to introduce regular exercise into your routine, you may be looking to keep it simple and fun.

How much physical activity is recommended?

It’s recommended that you get at least 150 minutes a week of aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activity twice a week. Aerobic activity is anything that gets your heart beating faster. Muscle strengthening activities make your muscles work harder than they usual do.

Extension Health Specialist, Dr. Bryan Mader says, “Especially for older adults, multicomponent physical activity—activity that combines aerobic, muscle strengthening, and balance training—can improve physical function and reduce the risk of injury from falls. These activities can be done individually at home or in a structured group setting. It is also important to remember that all activities, whether light, moderate, or vigorous intensity, help to meet the key physical activity guidelines and help to maintain a healthy body weight.”

How can I stay motivated?

These recommendations may be minimal, but they can seem so hard to achieve. It can be helpful to remind ourselves of why physical activity is important and how it can help us feel better. For instance, physical activity improves your quality of life by helping brain function, reducing stress and risk of developing diseases, strengthening your body, and improving sleep. Even when we remind ourselves of the purpose, it can still be hard to remain motivated sometimes.

How do we turn physical activity into something we enjoy doing instead of viewing it as a chore?

By making it easy! Here are some tips to make exercise easy and fun:

  1. Find something you like to do or are already doing and do more of it. For instance: 
    • Gardening
    • Swimming
    • Hiking
    • Walking the dog
    • Vacuuming
    • Yoga, Dance, or Pilates classes
    • Playing with children or grandchildren outside
    • Riding a bike
    • Taking a walk
  2. Include a friend. Remember to be COVID smart if you engage in physical activity with a partner.
  3. Plan exercise into your day so you don’t have to squeeze it in last minute.
  4. Start small and work your way up. For instance, try a ten minute walk every day for a week and then a fifteen minute walk the next way and so on.

You can also check in with your county extension offices to see if they offer any fitness programs. Currently, Walk Across Arkansas can be a great way to have fun while getting active.

What is Walk Across Arkansas?

Walk Across Arkansas is a free, team-based, 8-week physical activity program. Teams set physical activities goals and encourage one another to reach them through some friendly competition. It is not limited to walking. You can partake in any physical activity that increases your heartrate or makes you break a sweat. EHC is offering district traveling trophies to the winning EHC teams.

Learn more about Walk Across Arkansas here!

Some excellent places to walk can be community parks, walking trails, and state parks in your county and surrounding areas.

Whatever it is you decide to do, have fun getting physically active!