Regular physical activity is good for pretty much everyone’s health, we all know that. What we may not all know is that May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and is a great time to find valuable resources for getting yourself started on a path to a more active lifestyle. During National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, many health professionals, community leaders and families work together to create and promote events and opportunities for people of all ages and fitness levels to get moving. In keeping with that spirit, we have put together a list of fun activities for a variety of age ranges and fitness levels to help them get active without feeling like “exercise”
- Young children: With young children, almost anything can become a fun physical activity. Simple activities without a lot of set rules work best for younger children. Playing easy chasing games, spinning in circles, playing with bubbles, dancing and other free-play activities work great for young kids. Physical activity at a young age can improve muscle coordination, bone strength and heart health.
- Older children: As children get older, games with more complex rules become options. Team sports foster not only physical activity, but social growth and development as well! Baseball, flag football, hockey, soccer, dance, cheerleading and other group activities are wonderful for the development of older children. If your kid isn’t a team-sport type, then activities like swimming, roller skating and bouncing on a trampoline are all wonderful ways to get the body up and moving.
- Teenagers: With technology so easily available at our fingertips, it is especially easy for teenagers to fall into a more sedentary lifestyle as most of their schoolwork and socializing is done on computers and smart phones. For them, you may want to try introducing activities like paintball, laser tag, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, skiing, skateboarding, snowboarding or any activity your teen may be interested in. Not everyone is big on physical activity, so finding things that each individual is genuinely interested in is key. Seemingly mellow things like gardening or yoga can be wonderful ways to work out.
- Adults: “Busy” is the buzzword when it comes to adult life. Often, we feel like we don’t have time to even sort our thoughts so there’s no way we could possibly have time to devote to planning physical activity. Again, enjoyment is the answer. It’s human nature to make room for things we enjoy more so than we will for things that are “chores” – and let’s be honest, not everyone enjoys going to the gym. If you’re truly pressed for ways to get moving, try things like standing during working hours, going for walks whenever you take personal phone calls, using stairs as opposed to the elevator or escalator and parking farther away from your destination. Every little bit counts!
- Older Adults: Did you know that regular physical activity can lower your overall risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some forms of cancer? Find activities that you enjoy and do them! Embrace your inner child by playing with some children. If you don’t have children around to play with, walks or hikes with a pet are another wonderful way to get in exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise.
- Elder Adults: It has been shown in several studies that maintaining physical activity in elder adults can help to lower the risk of falls and improve cognitive function. Select activities that are easier on bones and joints in order to keep the possibility of injury to a minimum. Swimming, water aerobics, some yoga and tai chi are perfect for this age group – and of course dancing is always a fun way to keep yourself moving!