Workouts are a modern invention. Your ancestors never worked out, but they stayed in better shape than the majority of today’s adults. Their secret? They stayed active.
A few generations ago, being active simply meant working hard for a living. Almost everyone did it. But today, most of us have to make an effort to stay active. And that’s why so many people work out.
However, a lot of us don’t think working out is much fun… so we avoid it. But if we don’t stay active, we may suffer early physical decline.
The truth is, being active can be fun. And when you’re having fun, you’re more likely to stay active. That can keep you healthier years – even decades – longer. In fact, staying active is so good for you the National Institutes of Health calls it “the fountain of youth.”
The trick is to find activities you enjoy – and that don’t over-stress your body.
Gardening, walking and cycling are three great ways to stay active. They all boost heart-health, help you stay fit and flexible, and cost very little. Dancing is another way to have fun while staying active.
Many people love to swim… and it’s a tremendous way to keep healthy. Swimming improves heart health, increases flexibility, can boost your mood and even promotes stronger bones. Plus, because it’s low-impact, it doesn’t stress your joints the way jogging and other high-impact activities do.
If you enjoy group activities, look for a Tai Chi class in your area.
Technically, Tai Chi is a martial art. But many millions practice this slow, gentle art for its health benefits. It promotes a clear, calm mind… and is proven to help with balance, flexibility, endurance and muscular strength.1 Some studies have found it promotes healthy blood pressure, too.2
Even better, you can see real benefits from practicing Tai Chi in just a few weeks.1
Another enjoyable way to stay active – either alone or as part of a group – is yoga.
But don’t picture yourself trying to twist into a pretzel. There are several gentle forms of yoga that don’t require painful contortions. Kundalini yoga, for example, focuses more on inner aspects, with gentle stretches and postures.
For a more active experience, try Hatha yoga. And Ashtanga – also called “power yoga” – is more active still. There’s a style of yoga to fit your needs – no matter what shape you’re in.
There’s even an informal style called “chair yoga.” It’s designed specifically for people with physical challenges. As it’s name implies, the postures and movements of chair yoga have been adapted to allow you to remain seated.
Like Tai Chi, yoga has been the subject of numerous studies in recent years. These studies show that yoga promotes healthy balance, flexibility and strength.3 Some studies have even found that yoga contributes to weight loss, healthy body composition and overall quality of life.4
Almost anyone can boost their health with these fun activities… no matter what their age. Many retirement communities now offer yoga classes. And Chinese adults practice Tai Chi well into their 80’s, 90’s and beyond.
Best of all, if none of these activities sounds much like a workout, there’s a reason. They aren’t “workouts.” They’re fun ways to stay active.
You could force yourself to jog on a treadmill for an hour… or you could enjoy a brisk walk in the park with a friend. Both will build strength and give your heart a boost. But which one will you want to do again?
Staying active doesn’t have to mean endless hours of aerobic training. In fact, in a follow-up article, I’ll reveal why less exercise may actually be better for your health!
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Taylor-Piliae RE, et al. Improvement in balance, strength, and flexibility after 12 weeks of Tai chi exercise in ethnic Chinese adults with cardiovascular disease risk factors. Altern Ther Health Med. 2006 Mar-Apr;12(2):50-8.
2 Rogers CE, et al. A review of clinical trials of tai chi and qigong in older adults. West J Nurs Res. 2009 Mar;31(2):245-79.
3 Roland KP, et al. Does yoga engender fitness in older adults? A critical review. J Aging Phys Act. 2011 Jan;19(1):62-79.
4 Thomley BS, et al. Effects of a brief, comprehensive, yoga-based program on quality of life and biometric measures in an employee population: a pilot study. Explore (NY). 2011 Jan-Feb;7(1):27-9.