With the health and fitness industry blowing up, there are small boutique fitness facilities popping up everywhere. In San Diego County, you can find small group fitness training (like us), boxing gyms, MMA training facilities, any form of martial arts you’d like, surfing groups, cycling groups, hiking teams, kayaking lessons, dance lessons of all kinds (even pole dancing), and anything else you can think of that is fitness related. You can also find all of them on Groupon or Living Social for a killer deal. Honestly, you can jump from place to place every month paying a fraction of the cost for high level fitness using those sites. But sometimes, even the Groupon rates are too much or you just want ways to get your exercise in on your own schedule or in your own space.
Often times, when we’re ready to start or improve our fitness routines, we tend to think about getting our daily exercise through traditional platforms or gyms, classes, running, swimming, etc. But what if I told you that movement is movement is movement. Working out in a great community of people like we have at Infinitely Fit is fantastic! It’s a great way to make friends, stay accountable and care for your body. However, if you’re anything like me, you need something else that fills you. Something that makes you feel alive and helps you to stay healthy.
Here are the top ways I like to get some movement in my day without actually exercising in the traditional sense.
1. Summer Concerts in the Park = DANCING!
All over San Diego County (and in many parts of the country), communities host a free summer concert series for the public. There is usually no cost unless you decide to donate to the series. My best friend and I grab the husbands (when they are willing) and teens (because we make them) and trek our way to Coronado almost every Sunday evening in the summer. We set up our food and wine and chat while we people watch. Then, my niece begs me (for like 2 seconds because I’m ready) to go dance with her. We kick off our shoes and dance for easily 30 minutes or more. Now, I am no professional dancer, and I am extremely aware that we are the subjects of other people’s people watching entertainment. Since I am who I am that just fuels the fire of the ridiculous gyrations I call dancing. Depending how hard I am working, I can burn 300-500 calories…an extra glass of wine anyone? Obviously, you don’t have to go anywhere to dance if you have a phone and Pandora. Turn it up and get down!
2. Exploring the seas
I don’t go often, so I am no pro, but I do like going out and kayaking or stand up paddle boarding. They are fun activities that allow me to not only get some exercise, but also to see the city from a different perspective. I am a city girl, and I love city skylines. Being in the San Diego Bay looking back at the skyline can take me to a different world. These activities can certainly be considered a more traditional form of exercise, but I think if you’re doing it right, it’s just being outside exploring and connecting with nature.
3. Camping games
When I think camping, I think hanging outside playing games. I’m all about a good game of softball or stickball, but I mean more like corn hole and horseshoes. They are simple games that keep you on your feet and active. You aren’t burning calories at a record burning pace, but it sure as heck beats the calorie burning going on when your greatest ass-et is on the couch.
4. Physical Challenges
Sometimes my son and I will take out some stability exercise balls and challenge each other to a pose or position. I tend to win because I am overly competitive…don’t feel too sorry for him, he’s 13 and taller than me (and I’m not short!). But you can do anything: Have a long jump competition, play HORSE, balance like a flamingo and try to knock each other over, relay races…the more ridiculous the better because you’ll be laughing and getting a great ab workout.
5. Balloon play
Along the lines of the Physical challenges, balloon games are a blast and a great way to get your heart rate up. Blow up a few balloons and try to keep them in the air. If that’s too easy, don’t use your hands to keep it afloat. You can use your arms, legs, feet, face, head; just not your hands. If you’re playing with others, each person can only hit it once. If it hits the ground, start the count over. How many times can you hit it without dropping it? Or have two groups and compete. Whatever makes it fun for you- do it!
6. Anything ball
So I have to give credit to some friends for this one. We met up with my son’s best friend and his family one evening. They are a family of 5, all of the kids are boys. Then the uncle’s family came with 2 more boys, then us. So we have 3 moms and the rest dads and boys. Well, I was the only mom willing to play that day. I think it’s because it was such a novelty to me and the other 2 have lived with it for years and don’t find it nearly as engaging as my competitive spirit. Here’s how it works: Gather whatever kinds of balls and Frisbees you have and as many people as you’d like. As safely as you possibly can, start kicking, passing and throwing any of the balls or Frisbees that come to you. OK, so it’s a little dangerous. There’s a lot of yelling names and “head up” that happen, but man is it fun. Of course if you’re playing with a bunch of young boys, wrestling matches happen too. There will be no shortage of movement in this ridiculous game.
7. Recreational League/Pickup Game
Join a recreational league or sign up for a pickup game of a sport you love. With Meet Up, I find all sorts of things to do and try. I play soccer in recreational leagues, but there are also pickup games here and there. Start one yourself if you really want to play something. You don’t even have to be good. Get a kickball game started and invite people out to the park, or even the people hanging around the park. Or go to the beach and ask someone to kick around a soccer ball, play volleyball or throw a Frisbee.
I’m not talking a yoga class here. If you take yoga and want to do that on your own- go for it. I am just talking about spending time on your floor while the TV is on and stretching out your joints. Just sitting with your legs wide could be enough. Or maybe you want to stretch those glutes and hamstrings to alleviate low back pain. May you’re sadistic like me and have a foam roller you torture yourself on regularly as you watch your favorite shows.
The point is, exercise doesn’t have to be the mundane, the traditionally prescribed programs we usually picture when we think exercise. It can be exciting without being intense. It will open your mind to moving your body and understanding how it likes to move, and trust me, it LIKES to move!
If you continue to do the same activities repetitively without changing things up some, you put too much wear and tear on your joints (that goes for our kids too). So try something new and different and fun for you. Maybe you find you like it and maybe you find you don’t. Either way, you tried and you now know.
We’d love to know what it is you decide to do from our list or your own ways to get movement outside of a traditional exercise platform. Leave a comment or send a message!