Fitness and sports have been a huge part of my life since I was a child. There was nothing I loved more than stepping up to that t-ball plate as a young child, tumbling from corner to corner across the blue gymnastics mat, or grabbing my stick and running out onto the lacrosse field in high school and college. Over the years my love for fitness has transformed from team sports with dedicated schedules to working out for fun on my own time.
Yes, I just said that. I work out for fun.
I enjoy going to the gym, escaping the real world for an hour or two and sweating my stresses away. There are so many benefits to working out and being active at any age that I truly believe everyone can find some sort of fitness activity that they enjoy.
With May being National Physical Fitness and Sports Month this is a great time to move (pun intended) out of your comfort zone and try something new. Maybe there is a class at your gym you’ve been eyeing but haven’t tried yet or there is a new-to-you walking trail you heard about and what to check it out, or your child has been wanting to try a new sport. Now is the time!
Below is my advice on the key components to a successful exercise/fitness routine that hopefully will become part of your daily routine.
Where to workout
When it comes to the ‘where’ the possibilities are really endless. You can join a local gym, go outside in your driveway or yard, or head to the local park. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The gym allows you the perfect place to exercise and work out year round, no matter the season, but also likely requires you to dedicate more time traveling t0/from the gym and comes with a membership cost. Exercising at home/outside is easy and can be done at the drop of the hat, but also comes at the mercy of the weather and the season.
If you are thinking about joining a gym I would definitely take your time researching various gyms before signing a contract. With all the different options it is easy to get overwhelmed. Go tour at least two to three different gyms. Ask them what is included with the membership and also for a free guest pass. Most gyms have a free 3-,5-, or 7-day pass that will allow you to experience the gym, culture, and all that it has to offer before signing on the dotted line. If fitness classes are your thing, make sure to check out their monthly calendar to ensure the types of classes and times they are offered will work for your schedule.
If the gym isn’t your thing you can grab some free weights, a portable speaker, maybe a friend or two and take your workout outside. There are some local parks that are set up with various fitness stations to help in your fitness adventures, or you could get even more adventurous and head to a ropes course or trampoline park.
Choose a Workout You Enjoy!
If you don’t enjoy what you are doing you likely won’t continue to do it. That goes with almost anything in your life because at the end of the day, who has time to waste doing something they don’t truly enjoy. The same goes for your exercise routine. You need to find the workout or exercise program that keeps you motivated and keeps you coming back for more. If you don’t like running, signing up for a half marathon probably isn’t the best option. If you don’t like working out with others, group fitness probably isn’t your calling. If you enjoy choreographed dance workouts, Zumba is probably a better choice than yoga.
The most important thing is that you find what works for you. It might take a while to find what you love or what really pushes you, so don’t worry if you don’t find it right away. Try a variety of workouts and see what keeps you coming back for more. Keep in mind, it usually takes 3-4 visits to really get the hang of a workout so make sure to try each class at least twice before you decide it isn’t for you. You never know, you could fall so in love with a workout you find that you will end up like me: getting certified and becoming an instructor!
The Right Clothes Matter
You know when you stand in your closet getting ready for a night out and think, ‘I don’t have anything to wear’. It probably not that you don’t have anything but more likely that you don’t have anything you want to wear. Maybe this top is too small or those jeans are too loose. The same goes for workout clothes. Being comfortable in your workout attire is a big deal. There is nothing worse than wearing an ill-fitting piece of clothing that you have to keep pulling up or down while exercising. Make sure to buy clothes that fit snug enough that they do not get in the way of what you are doing, but not too tight that you feel stuffed in and not comfortable. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to find quality workout clothes. Hint: I tend to buy mine when they go on sale. You can find some great workout gear at local stores such as Target and DICK’S, and even discount stores like TJ MAXX or Marshalls. Try a couple different brands and find what you love, then go out and buy five of that item. There isn’t anything worse than realizing your favorite sports bra or shorts have been discontinued and you can no longer buy them.
Workout/Fitness for Kids
Exercise for children is extremely important. It introduces them into a healthy lifestyle that will stay with them throughout their life. If they are not old enough to get into organized team sports you can create your own workouts at home. Simon Says? Animal Races? Capture the flag? All of these are great classic games that introduce exercise and movement into the lives of children. You can also invite neighborhood friends over to introduce organized games and healthy competition with others. If you have older children, take it a step further and create a little obstacle course in the back yard using cones, balls, and jump ropes. Anything to get them moving is better than sitting inside playing video games. Then once they are old enough, let them choose a sport they want to try and check out what your local town has to offer for sports teams.
You will also find that some gyms offer fitness classes geared towards children, so definitely keep an eye out for those if you plan on joining a gym. Kids on the Move is a children’s fitness class that is offered here at the local YMCA where you can drop your kids off for a 45-minute exercise and movement class while you workout upstairs in the gym. It is a great way to head to the gym as a family and set a great example for your children.