Whether you’re just starting out in your fitness journey, or you’ve been doing the same routine for a while and want a change, it can be difficult to figure out what types of activities you might enjoy doing. In this series of blog posts I’ve broken down different ways you may be active, with descriptions, benefits, risk of injury, and challenges for each, to help you find your new favorite way of moving.
This week, we’ll discuss being more active and recreational sports.
Being more active
The easiest and least expensive way to start exercise is to “be more active”. Activities could include parking further away so you walk more, taking a flight of stairs before catching the elevator, going for a stroll at lunch, or actually dedicating time to a physical activity such as walking, jogging, or biking. It’s a stepping stone to committing to an active lifestyle.
Being more active will be easier and more enjoyable if you get your entire family involved. Kids can learn that being active isn’t just for PE class, and you and your spouse can keep each other accountable. Or find a friend or coworker to join up with; a daily walk at lunchtime is more fun with someone to chat with.
- Easy to fit into your day
- Free or low cost
- Starts to get your mindset in the right place
Risk of injury
- Requires motivating yourself
- Easy to skip or forget about
- Does very little to build cardiovascular endurance or muscular strength
Recreational sports can be as simple as finding a friend to regularly play basketball or tennis with or as complex as a multi-team league with practice twice a week and Saturday games.
Popular recreational sports that just involve a few friends include pickup basketball, tennis, pickle ball, and golf. For a more involved league, look for soccer, softball, kickball, or ultimate frisbee groups. If you can’t find a group, you can always start your own!
Your town’s parks and rec department may have facilities you can use for free or for a small fee and may have lists of the leagues available. Groups may also organize on social media.
Rec sports are a fun and social way to increase your level of commitment to fitness!
- Increases accountability
- More likely to increase heart rate due to competitive nature of sports
- Develops skills related to muscular coordination
Risk of injury
- Low to moderate, depending on one’s proficiency in their chosen sport. Both acute and overuse injuries can result from playing sports.
- Finding likeminded individuals with the same level of commitment
- Matching skill levels to maintain a reasonable level of competition and enjoyment
- Developing a skill level necessary to maintain interest.
- In the COVID age, finding leagues and facilities that are open
You don’t have to pick just one way to be active. Next week we’ll talk about exercising at home and going to the gym, and the week after we’ll discuss HIIT programs and CrossFit. You can combine different ways of being active, and change your methods as your life changes.