10 fitness ideas not to overlook 

 Group of women enjoying dance fitness.

10 fitness ideas not to overlook 

We’ve heard the advice and recommendations of getting fit and in shape.  We know the many benefits exercise and physical activity brings to our lives.  But there may be some fitness ideas you might not thought of to spur you on keeping your exercise routine fresh and exciting.

The following 10 fitness tips may not be on your workout radar but they are meant to encourage, advise and inspire you to keep up the good work and effort on promoting your health:

1.     Work out in the garden.  Of course not everyone has a garden but everyone can pull weeds, rake leaves or trim shrubs for a decent workout.  Volunteer at a local park or clean up a vacant lot needing attention in an area you live in.  If you do have a garden, use it to your advantage to stretch and really work those arm and leg muscles with all the bending, pulling and twisting involved in taking care of it.  You’ll burn about 250 calories an hour if you work energetically at a constant pace.

2.     To avoid overtraining and injury, try cross training.  Instead of  running or walking every day, alternate it with swimming, yoga, pilates or bicycling to give your leg muscles and joints a needed rest between runs or walks. 

3.     Don’t run through pain. Whenever you feel pain while exercising, stop.  People often ignore pain or delay treating it and this only aggravates the problem.  Take it easy for a few days, and if the pain still continues, see your doctor to figure out what is causing it and to get it treated.

4.     If you play golf, walk the course instead of riding a cart.  If you carry your bag, you’ll get an even more strenuous workout.  Playing an 18-hole course in which you cover about five miles will result in an estimated burn of 500 calories.

5.     For a better walking workout on a treadmill, swing your arms.  I’m talking the kind of exaggerated swinging of your arms that resembles cross country skiing, which just happens to be one of the best calorie burners around.  By adding vigorous arm motion, this has the potential to boost caloric expenditure by at least 50% - from 10 calories per minute up to 15.  It will also improve upper-body strength.  Calculate calories burned while walking.

6.     If possible, walk on sand or dirt.  This can increase energy expenditure by a third.  It also exercises more of the muscles in the foot, especially if you walk barefoot.

7.     Try to work out at least once a week if really busy.  If you are having a hard time keeping up with a regular exercise routine due to conflicts and a busy lifestyle, try to at least work out once a week to prevent “detraining.”  Studies have shown that exercising just one day a week can help people maintain their gains.

8.     Add jump roping to your workout.  Jumping rope is not just for kids – it’s a great cardiovascular endurance exercise improving  coordination, speed, and agility.  It’s also low impact and is less hard on the knees than running, since you should be jumping only an inch or two off the ground. The number of calories you will burn depends on your weight and the number of rotations you do per minute – calculate calories burned jumping rope.   

9.     Do pushups every day. They are among the best upper-body exercise you can do.  Pushups can be done anywhere requiring no equipment and are easily adapted to any level of strength.  They work muscles in the shoulder (deltoids), back of upper arms (triceps) and chest (pectorals).  Pushups will also exercise muscles in the abdomen, hips, and back which are tensed to keep the body stiff while it moves up and down.

10.  Walk hills to burn more calories.  It’s not surprising that you burn more calories when you walk uphill than on level ground.  In fact, walking downhill also uses significantly more energy than walking on flat terrain.