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Hi all, I hope you enjoyed part 1 of our 4 part series of guest posts from Born Tough Affiliates discussing benefits of physical activity. In part 2 of this guest series, our guest writers are discussing a range of physical activities and their benefits. You do not have to rely on a gym to stay physically active. Get creative with your choices depending on your goals and make exercise a fun part of your life.

**Consult with your doctor and/or a Registered Dietitian before pursuing significant exercise or food changes**

Check out the full guest post below with these different fun physical activity suggestions.

Although exercise is important to remain fit and strong, there are a variety of exercises we can choose from with a range of benefits for the body. Everyone is different, so people tend to choose the exercise which they feel provide the best benefit for them and that they enjoy the most. One thing to keep in mind is, if you only focus on one type of exercise eg cardiovascular exercise or weightlifting, many times you are not providing your body with the best overall benefit. Therefore, trying to include a mix of strength training, cardio, and flexibility/range of motion training. There are several exercises you can choose from to create this range of benefit for your body.

  1. Speeding up your heart rate by aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise helps supply blood to your muscles more efficiently. If you are climbing upstairs, you need an increased supply of oxygen and blood in your muscles to keep them working. Aerobic exercise improves the respiration process, improves blood flow, increases cardiovascular activity, maintains healthy blood pressure, promotes a healthy HDL level in the body (when combined with a balanced diet), aids in good sleep, and boosts mood. You can do jogging, swimming, dancing, jumping rope, or even a brisk walk as aerobic exercise. Stay active can potentially help decrease the risk of several diseases like strokes, colon and breast cancer, and other heart diseases. If you want the extra benefit of feeling comfortable while you exercise, you can workout in comfortable Shirts  Or Tank Tops from Born Tough.

  • Squats

Squats help in strengthening lower body muscles and decrease the risk of several injuries, while burning calories, and increasing body endurance.

How can I do squats safely and effectively?

1. Stand with your feet approximately hip width apart (note difference stances can work different parts of your legs).

2. Now slowly try bending your knees while lowering your buttocks as if you are getting yourself in to a seated position. Keep your back straight and knees point over your toes (make sure they do not role in).

3. Maintain good balance (do not go past your personal balance point; if you need some assistance at first, lightly hold on to a chair or counter to help stabilize your balance and help develop your range of motion).

4. Start lifting your buttocks slowly get back to your starting position.

5. Repeat this exercise 8 to 12 times while starting out.

  • Maintaining balance

As we get older, maintaining balance is very important. Working on our balance can help prevent us from falling and allow us to maintain some of our independence as we age. Loss of balance in old age is usually due to the development of impaired vision, loss of muscle flexibility and strength, and impairment in the inner ear. Some exercises that help work on balance are classes such as yoga and tai chi (these can be done virtually while you are staying home during the pandemic). If you are not feeling as if you have a loss of balance, you can still enjoy and join these classes to achieve benefits in long term flexibility, strength, and balance. Your trainer/instructor will help you figure out weaknesses in your certain joints/muscle stability and correct any poor form to help prevent injury and get the best benefit. Other balance maintaining exercises you could try to include focusing on walking clearly and slowly rolling from the heel to the toe or standing on one foot, walking on uneven surfaces, and leg lifts exercise. Speak with a trainer to help with your range of motions, joint flexibility, and to find the appropriate balance exercises for you.

  • Strength training

Muscle mass gradually drops the older we get, so it is important to include opportunities for strength or resistance training during your week to help increase and strengthen your muscles. Similarly, these exercises can help strengthen our bones by increasing or maintaining their density. Because of the benefits to bone density, strength training can help decrease the risk of bone fracture and arthritis as we age. In addition, it also reduces the risks of injury with falling and help with the ability to perform basic daily tasks that require lifting.

Examples of strength training

  1. Resistance machines
  2. Lifting free weights
  3. Working with resistance bands
  4. Climbing stairs
  5. Cycling (cardiovascular strength training)
  6. Hiking
  7. Body weight exercises such as push-ups and sit-ups

 5. Improving Flexibility

       Flexibility exercises can help you maintain physical health and a greater range of motion. Your motion capability can be affected by certain health issues such as arthritis or history of injury. Flexibility can also help to improve balance and posture, by learning how to activate, relax, and stabilize muscles in a variety of ranges of motion. Improved flexibility can help promote positivity, reduce pain, and can increases body strength and endurance.  There are a range of activities you can do that include flexibility exercises. One great option is yoga.

  1. Yoga

Yoga can improve muscle strength and tone, help with weight management, improve mental health, improve athletic performance, and can help maintain metabolic efficiency. It also can improve cardiovascular and circulatory health.

It can be a total body and mind workout, which can combine stretching and deep breathing along with meditation.

6. Walking

   Walking is a great, basic form of cardiovascular exercise. Walking can improve your blood circulation, boost your mood, help with weight management, strengthen muscles, help maintain healthy blood pressure, and can help improve sleep. It can also support and strengthen our joints when done with proper form.

How to do it

Keep your head up while walking with your chin parallel to the ground. Keep your shoulders relaxed and down, lightly engage your core and your glutes to maintain proper posture, and roll through the foot from heel to toe.

Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback on this fun article.

Thank you to Born Tough Affiliates for providing us with this fun exercise related blog series.

Stay healthy!

Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN

Denver’s Dancing Dietitian

A Taste of Health, LLC

“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”