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  • Markb

If you could turn your favorite hobbies or activities into exercise, would you?

In reality, if you are doing one of your favorite things (whatever that is), you have already turned your favorite hobby into exercise. You are exercising your mind, soul, and body. You are living a part of the life of some of the longest-living people in the world. You are doing what makes you happy. And without happiness, nothing else really matters.

So let me put my question to you in a different way. Can you use your favorite hobby or any physical activity to achieve your best physical condition (which, of course, helps your mind and soul)?

As I outlined in my last post, 70% of all U.S. adults aged 18–64 do not meet the minimum guidelines for adequate physical exercise set by The Mayo Clinic, The American College of Sports Medicine, and many other reputable sources. *(1) *(2). How can we achieve those minimums?

Are you familiar with Body Weight training? Body Weight training is exactly as it sounds. Body Weight training is exercises that use your body weight for resistance. They can be as strenuous or as easy as you wish and can be done anywhere, anytime, for short or long durations. This training requires no weights, no gym, just you and gravity.

And you can incorporate the principles of the various exercises into anything you do.

Here is a list of bodyweight exercises. Those you can immediately start to practice every day include:

  1. Chair stand and Half Squat uses your thigh and core muscles. You can practice these every time you get up off that chair.

  2. Heel raise: you can practice this every time you reach up to get something out of a cabinet or off a high shelf.

  3. Step-up, we all have the opportunity to climb stairs. You can practice this every time you use the stairs.

  4. Push Up: One of the most effective Body Weight exercises.

  5. A plank: these are perfect for all your overall head-to-toe core muscles. (Actually, you did a push-up when you "pushed up" into your plank position.)

  6. Balancing exercises: great for stability and overall performance. Have you ever tried to put your socks on standing on one leg? Give it a try! Let me know how you do.

But how does Body Weight training turn your favorite hobby or activity into exercise? How does this training help you achieve or maintain those coveted minimums?

The following examples might give you some ideas:

Let's look at gardening, a favorite of mine. Gardening can create physical activity opportunities and support emotional well-being. How about a flower bed or a small herb garden? And as we get older, this exercise form becomes more important.

Growing your food in a garden offers low-to-moderate-intensity exercise, depending on the task. Digging, lifting, raking, and planting all produce movement for both the upper and lower body. How about lifting or digging to strengthen your abdominal muscles for your core strength? Bending and stretching as you dig and lift that shovel supports strong joints and flexible muscles. Leg muscles and back muscles are involved in the efforts of gardening too. You can practice bodyweight exercise in pretty much every gardening movement.

But an opportunity for gardening is not always possible for many of us.

What about walking? As many of you know, walking is the most popular form of aerobic physical activity in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. The endless benefits of walking include: improved cardiorespiratory health, better bone health, decreased blood pressure, healthy weight control, reduced stress, and one of the most important, it can be social. You can integrate the Chair stand, Half Squat, and Step-up into every step you take (well, maybe not every step!), thereby adding a little (or a lot) of exercise to your exercise.

And there is always dancing. Is anybody interested in doing a Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers waltz? Dancing is a fantastic exercise. Dancing has it all by yourself, with a partner, at a studio, or a social event. It is social and exercise, and, dare I say; it is happiness. As Van Halen says, always Dance The Night Away!

These examples are just the tip of the iceberg showing how bodyweight exercises can turn your favorite hobby or (any) activity into exercise. All you have to do is show up! And with a little commitment and imagination, you will be stronger, faster, and smarter. Well, perhaps not smarter, but you never know; it might make you smarter!

Please let me know your favorite hobby, and let's use bodyweight exercises to turn what you love to do into the best form of medicine, exercise.

I look forward to walking, dancing, or gardening together throughout our long, healthy, happy lives. Maybe the Bee Gees knew the secret!

Your friend and fellow Bluerisa traveler,

Mark Block

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