Question: I am tired of the regular physical activity recommendations. Could you suggest some other things that can be done to get a workout that might be more fun?
Answer: I just received a media release about changing "Work Out to Play Out" (from "Joan Price says, `Yes, You CAN Get in Shape,' " Pacifica Press, 1-888-BFITTER) that has some suggestions for workouts that are different.
1. Pool workout. Make the pool your playground. Try water walking and notice how the resistance of the water makes your muscles work harder. Use a floatation vest or other device to make exercising in water fun and effective. Many clubs and community programs offer aqua classes at different levels. Heavier people may prefer water workouts because their weight doesn't have so much effect in the water. Even people with knee and hip problems can exercise in the water.
2. Use a mountain bike. Try today's mountain bikes on roads as well as trails. Their fat tires are protection against potholes, glass, curbs and other hazards. And, if you gave up on 10-speeds because they were hard to shift, the index shifting will make riding a breeze as the gears click into place.
3. Ballroom dancing. Dancing is making a comeback. Try gliding across a ballroom floor at a ballroom or community center for a safe, enjoyable way to get physical exercise and be sociable at the same time.
4. Line dancing. A hot trend all across the country, country line dancing is especially popular with singles, because you don't need a partner. Enjoyable for all ages, from kids to grandparents, you can track down lessons almost anywhere, including senior centers.
5. Square dancing. Square dancing's lively crowd of followers combines fun with an elevated heart rate. Today's squares are hip - they dance to popular songs, standards and tunes from musicals, as well as traditional country-western.
6. Self-defense. Want a fitness routine that could save your life? Consider an ongoing self-defense class for a workout that goes beyond health-and-fitness gains. You'll develop motor skills, learn tactics and responses and get plenty of physical activity by practicing techniques with the instructor and the other students.
7. Get a dog. If you live alone or with others who don't wish to exercise with you, a dog is a walker's best friend. Get your own or offer to walk the neighbor's dog on a regular basis. You'll get the workout you want and make a pup very happy.
8. Play with the kids. Children learn from what they see their parents (and grandparents) do, and they'll model their adult behavior partly on what they observe. If you tell them to go out and bicycle or skate, yet all you do is work the TV remote control, they will learn that it's not grown-up to be physically active. Take them on hikes or bike rides or for a swim. Show them that physical activity is important to you and that you enjoy it; they will grow up thinking this is a natural part of life.