Guest post provided by Jessica Hegg. Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Interested in all things related to a healthy lifestyle, she works to share valuable information that aims to improve the quality of life for others.
If you’re like many other adults in the US, you probably spend a lot of time on the weekends bored – lounging around the house, watching TV, and generally puttering around. While that can be fun for a bit, extended periods of inactivity are unhealthy – both mentally and physically.
So why not kill two birds with one stone? There are plenty of fun, healthy activities to take part in that aren’t overly stressful, but can still be entertaining and lead to better health outcomes.
It’s been found that 300 minutes (5 hours) of light physical activity per week leads to an overall lower risk of all-cause mortality, as well as helping to prevent a whole host of maladies such as colon and breast cancer, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes, among others.
In addition, a higher level of cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle tone is observed. Simply put, being active makes you healthier, makes you feel better, and makes you look better. So take a look at these easy, fun activities, and plan your next weekend outing or weeknight recreation accordingly.
1. Sports Clubs
Recreational leagues in sports like basketball, soccer, and softball are readily available throughout most cities in the US, and most cater to adults by age group, so you won’t have to deal with being stuck in a hyper-competitive league with some 25-year old.
Playing a sport in a team environment is entertaining, fun, and good for you. This is especially great for people who usually don’t like to exercise that much – the fun, supportive team environment is sure to get you up and moving.
Sports like racquetball and squash are also very popular among adults – they don’t require too much-specialized equipment, and you don’t need to sign up for a league, just find a partner or two who you can play with a couple times a week.
2. Gardening and Yard Work
Gardening and yard work are fantastic ways to burn calories, occupy your day, and get some great results – not just for your health, but for your curb appeal!
An activity as simple as gardening engages dozens of important muscle groups while you squat, pick, water, pluck, snip, and tend to your garden, and even just being in the great outdoors has been shown to make you healthier.
In fact, gardening is estimated to burn about 400 calories per hour – more than you would burn if you walked for three miles at a reasonable pace, and heavy yard work like hauling dirt, moving rocks, and pulling stumps will put you at 600 calories burned per hour. More moderate activity like raking leaves weighs in at about 400 calories per hour, and pushing a lawnmower will torch 350 calories in an hour.
3. Playing with Pets
Playing with pets isn’t just fun – it’s good for your health! Studies have shown that playing with pets can increase mental health, and activities like walking and running with your dog, or playing fetch in the park can burn a surprising amount of calories.
Even just playing with a kitten using a cat toy can be a huge boost to your mental state, as playing with pets has been shown to boost serotonin and melatonin production in pet owners.
Swimming has long been one of the most popular recreational activities on the earth. One of the best things about swimming is that it’s low-impact – unlike running, walking, or other activities which put stress on bones and joints, swimming allows you to float freely, and allows your joints to decompress and get exercise without being strained.
This also makes it one of the very best activities that elderly people can partake in – there’s very little risk of a fall, and since there’s no stress on joints, people with arthritis and other chronic conditions can still enjoy a light swim.
Swimming is a terrific workout, too – even light swimming for recreational purposes can easily burn 400+ calories an hour. So grab your trunks and your goggles, and head for the lake if it’ warm – or the YMCA if it’s not.
5. Hiking or Walking In Parks
Pretty much everyone knows that walking is good for you – doctors are on records as saying that, if you can’t do any other physical activity, walking for 30-45 minutes a day is still a great way to ensure prolonged physical health.
However, walking around the same block every day gets boring – so some people get discouraged. Instead, head to a local park and take a walk on their cross-country trail, or on the built-in sidewalks.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, or are already in good shape, consider going off the beaten path by finding some great local hiking trails, and drink in the beauty of nature while you walk.
There’s Something for Everyone!
We know that heavy physical activity isn’t for everyone, these activities are realistic and give you a great set of options to choose from. Degree of difficulty is in your hands. And the best part is that just about anyone can partake in these activities, making them easily accessible to all.
So next time you’re standing around the house on a Saturday afternoon and considering whether to take a nap or go lay on the couch and watch football, think about this list. Your heart, mind, and body will thank you for getting up and getting active.
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