Increasing our level of activity may seem like a daunting task for some of us -- It doesn't have to be. In fact, increasing your level of activity is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your physical and mental health. Here are 7 fun and easy ways to help kick that intimidation factor and keep your body and brain moving!
1. Keep It Social – While some people prefer to exercise alone others find support in numbers. Going for a walk with a friend, participating in a group fitness class or joining a local bike riding group can be a great way to get both your physical and social fix.
2. Lose Yourself – Yes. Literally get lost! Whether it’s in a physical location, a book, or a conversation. Allow yourself to go somewhere you have never been before. Walk a new trail, read a different section of the newspaper, drive a new way to work. Exposure to new sights, sounds and ideas are an excellent way to stretch your mind.
3. Make It Enjoyable – This will vary depending on the individual, but the key is to find something you actually enjoy doing. If you like dancing, try taking lessons. If you have kids, play a game with them. If strength training is your thing then go to the gym or try CrossFit . If you hate going to the gym, then don’t go. I’m sure your dog would love to go for a walk. The important thing is that you just move, so be creative and have fun!
4. Switch It Up – We’re all creatures of habit, but breaking habits can lead to exciting changes. For example if you’re right handed try using your left hand and if you’re left handed try using your right. Chances are it won’t take long before you start to feel the effects. Give it a shot when you’re brushing your teeth, eating dinner, or writing a note. Switching up any routine can be a great way to spice up the mundane activities in our lives and put a different part of your brain to work.
5. Game Time – Play time is important for all of us, not just kids. Recreational and group sporting leagues are available in most cities and towns. Softball, basketball, ultimate frisbee...you name it, chances are there is a game out there somewhere with an open position waiting to be filled. Maybe you prefer a game of the mind. In that case try giving chess or bridge a shot. Personally I’m a fan of a good game of Scrabble. Whatever arena interests you sports and games are incredible outlets to let your mind and body play.
6. Find the Humor – Laughter is a unique part of being human. It is great for reducing stress, which can cloud our thoughts. Plus, it’s fun. So whether you’re watching a funny video, a show at the local comedy club or studying for the MCAT’s...Laugh it up!
7. Create Meaning – We all find significance in many different things, but if we can attribute more than just exercise to an activity the incentive to follow through with it is that much stronger and pleasurable. For example try growing a garden in your backyard or volunteering at a local charity that supports a cause you believe in. I've found that some of my favorite workouts are those that move me emotionally.
Take a moment and try to appreciate for you how much overlap there can be between our physical and mental activity. Think about how both can be of benefit to your health. Start to recognize the areas you are succeeding in as well as areas where you want to improve. Becoming mindful of your body and the synergy that exists between its parts is an important step to take as you look to enhance your overall well-being.
These are just 7 of the many fun and easy ways that can increase our physical and mental activity. I and the rest of the evōxMove community would love to hear some of your favorite ways to keep active. So let’s hear them and continue to move together!