Maybe you’re not interested in doing a high-intensity workout, or the idea of getting back on the stationary bike makes you yawn. That doesn’t mean you should skip exercise altogether. You might just need to try a new style of workout: one where you don’t even realize it’s happened until it’s over.
Professor Peter Elwood, a researcher at Cardiff University, has been studying healthy habits for almost 40 years, and he says that exercise is among the best things that people can do to improve health: It may aid in reducing risk of dementia as well as lowering cancer risk, while reducing body fat. We also know that it can alleviate symptoms of depression, reduce anxiety, and improve mood and self-esteem. “It’s a change that impacts every area of life,” he says. You simply need to get moving — at whatever speed and in whatever style suits you best.
“The benefits of finding something low-impact, enjoyable or fun is that you will be more likely to participate and continue showing up,” adds Stacey Davis, a Phoenix-based fitness coach. “All movement is good, especially when you are just beginning your fitness journey. Dancing to your favorite songs or taking a walk can be a great way to get things started. When we begin to get our blood and endorphins flowing, we can’t help but feel better.”
Exercise, especially of a low-impact and enjoyable variety, has only positive effects, and as Elwood points out, “It’s better than any pill, because it really works, and it has no side effects!"
But how do you get going, if you haven’t been an avid exerciser in the past? “The best way to get started is to just start! Keep it simple, set realistic goals, and block out that time in your calendar,” says Davis. “Try a few things that are different and see what you like the best. The more things you find that you enjoy, the greater your chances are for making your new lifestyle stick.”
If you’re not already doing regular workouts, consider trying one of these low-impact activities that are fun enough that they barely feel like exercise. You may need to try a few before you find one that really appeals to you — but hopefully you’ll enjoy the process. As always, we recommend that you consult with your physician before starting any new exercise routine. And some of these activities will require you to develop new skills, so make sure you are learning them under the guidance of a trained professional.