Good Health and Fitness with Liz Lieberman
These are some great, fun and easy ways to maintain good health and fitness while enjoying a fun and active lifestyle.
Our fine city offers the best climate for an active lifestyle, and I would like to cover some fun ways to stay in shape to make sure you are at your optimal health and wellbeing at all times. Try some of these sports that offer new opportunities to build strength, endurance, increase happiness, and are also fun at the same time!
Pick one of these sports available to you in the fitness world to get into, or try all of them, that’s up to you. Each sport offers different benefits, and it’s best to find a sport that offers you the most enjoyment all while getting fit!
Tennis: This sport is great for a beginner or advanced player that is looking to shed a few pounds and gain some core strength. The quick movement, running to and from the ball is a good way to burn calories. The swinging action when you make contact with the ball will slim down the mid-section and force you to hold that tummy in tight. Both lower and upper extremities will get slight toning with the different techniques you use; sliding will sculpt the inner and outer thigh, while an overhead serve will give you definition through your shoulders.
Precaution: If you have any joint issues, tennis may not be the best sport for you to pick up. The stop and go running will be tough on the joints and may cause inflammation. Take it slow and see how your body reacts.
Golf: I can tell you first hand that unless you have actually played golf; you won’t understand how much of a workout it can be! Although you are riding around in a cart, and there is not much cardio involved, golf is a game that focuses about 90% on core strength. When you play, your swing will get its drive directly from your back muscles, oblique’s, and abdominal muscles. The swinging action will tone and tighten your waistline, and to add a little exercise bonus, try walking the course! I guarantee that when you finish a round of golf, your body will be tired.
Precaution: Just about anyone can play golf, and it’s relatively easy on your joints. A big part of the game does involve rotation of the back, so if you have back issues you might want to skip this one. Also, if you have arthritis in your hands be careful! Gripping the club can be strenuous on sensitive hands.
Swimming: Swimming is a great activity for anyone because it is extremely gentle on your joints. There are also a lot of different exercises you can do in the water to strengthen but not get injured. Try different techniques to use different muscles. This activity will mostly build upper body strength through the arms and shoulders. If you kick up the pace a little bit then you will also be able to burn ample amount of calories, especially a fast breast stroke. To change things up, you can try swimming in the ocean which will add extra resistance. If you want to work other parts of your body, try the underwater weights, and a kick board to work your glutes!
Precaution: If you have a shoulder injury/ rotator cuff injury then swimming may not be for your, especially the breast stroke. The overhead motion will aggravate shoulder injuries. Also, if you swim in the ocean, be careful with the strong currents, and always swim with a buddy or in front of a lifeguard station. The currents can be extremely powerful and if you are not a good swimmer you can get tired very quickly.
Surfing: One of my personal favorites! Surfing is a great time, but let me warn you, it’s harder than it looks. Surfing is a total body exercise. You will build great upper body strength from paddling, especially through your shoulders and triceps. You will work all of the muscles in your back, especially the muscles that support your spine. You will use your core muscles while balancing on the board, and your leg muscles to stand. Surfing will give your body a nice lean look while at the same time giving you a good health and fitness activity for mind and body. If you are a beginner then try a long board. This will make the whole process easier. Find waves that are fairly small, and I would suggest hiring a professional the first time you go out so they can give you some inside tips.
Precaution: Being out in the ocean can be dangerous, be aware of currents and make sure someone is watching you. If you have back or shoulder problems, skip surfing. Even though you are in the water, the combo of the big board and the strong waves can rattle a gentle body.
Hiking: Hiking is a great leisure activity. It offers beginner levels all the way through advanced levels, and you can decide how difficult you are going to make the hike. One of my favorites is Torrey Pines State Reserve. This hike has a nice variety of hills, which are good to lift and tighten glutes, but also has straight aways to catch your breath, or kick it up a notch and do a light jog. Hiking burns calories but also reduces stress and you are usually located in a very pleasant atmosphere so you won’t even notice you are working out. If you want to increase resistance, add ankle or hand weights. This will definitely get your heart pumping!
Precaution: If you are unstable, or a fall could be detrimental, then I would suggest sticking to a flat surface. Hiking trails are usually rigid and if you don’t have good balance you could run the risk of falling.
Running: Running reduces the risk of stroke and breast cancer. Regular running has become a treatment option for doctors to prescribe to patients who are at a high risk, or early stages, of osteoporosis, diabetes, and hypertension. It reduces the risk of heart attacks, by strengthening the heart and lowering blood pressure. Running maintains the elasticity of arteries incredibly well because as you run your arteries expand and contract nearly three times as much as usual. Running also builds confidence and self-esteem like few other individual sports can; the release of feel good endorphins aids in this benefit.
Precaution: Running can also be very demanding on the body. Injuries can often occur in the joints, feet, legs and hips. These injuries are a result of overexertion, running long distances on hard or uneven surfaces, or poor running form.
When you try your new sports, always remember:
As with any new activities, make sure you listen to your body and do what’s best for you. Take it one step at a time and continue to build on your good health and fitness regimen. And, most importantly, have fun!!!
Fitness Expert, Liz Lieberman
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