Guest Author - Carol Viau
If your current exercise regime has left you wishing for inspiration, consider mixing things up by taking on a different sport! Your motivation will increase with your level of interest.
Try these sports on for size…
Standing around shooting hoops probably won’t help your fitness level much. Yet if you find enough folks to play a full court, or even a half court of basketball, you’d be surprised at how much of a workout you get! The short and long sprints keep the legs and lungs working hard. The twisting motion of trying to defend a hoop or make a shot around a defender works all the core muscles in the trunk of the body. You also get to interact with others, and that always makes it feel more like play and less like work.
As running does affect the knees and ankles, do yourself a favor, stay off the pavement and treat yourself to trail running. It’s easier on the joints, especially if you can add some rolling terrain to your workout. This will allow you to catch a break on the downhill parts. If you really want to ramp it up, look for some trails with steeper hills. Running will give you one of the best weight loss results overall, if you can stick to it three times a week and constantly vary your distances and intensity.
One of the lesser impact sports is biking (assuming you stay upright and don’t crash). If you haven’t been exercising regularly and are looking for good way to ease back into things, road biking would be a great start. You can start with gentle terrain and work your way up to more intense rides with many hills. Bike shops often offer group rides one night a week for women or men. Set some goals for yourself and aim for a multi-day supported ride such as the “Tour de Wyoming”.
Mountain biking is also a great workout. I tend to think of it as interval sprints, as it is easy to quickly get out of breath on some of the uphills. While this requires more technical skill in general, it can definitely push you to your limits. If you are just starting out, look for beginner terrain. If you are ready to push yourself, consider signing up with a group of friends for a 24-hour race!
Tennis anyone? Once your skill is up to a moderate level with tennis, a good rally with the ball can work most of your muscles at once! That would include engaging the legs, stomach, back and arms while chasing down a ball and returning it. Hardly any other sport can work your torso as much as tennis. Consider signing up for tennis lessons in your area, or talk a friend into playing with you on the free town courts.
The best way to cross train is to participate in as many summer sports as you love. That way, it’s all fun!