It’s that time: New Year New Me season. All across the state, hundreds of thousands of people have made New Year’s resolutions and many of them are centered around improving their health. While local gyms are diving into dollars after all the new memberships they get over the next month or two, there are ways to get active and healthy without having to hang out on a treadmill. Here are 10 awesome ways to get active this year.
If you’re slow to getting into an active lifestyle, one fun and easy way to get started is by sneaking in some exercise while you watch TV at home. Knock out a few push-ups while you’re watching Empire, do crunches during Atlanta, or sneak in some squats while you wait for the ads to finish playing. If you watch hour-long shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit then you’ve got plenty of time to give your muscles the business.
Start the new year on the right foot by taking a hike at a Texas State Park in your area. Each year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has many initiatives and events to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and learn about the world around them with various activities at state parks. With state parks all across the state, there’s bound to be some natural beauty close by to check out. Grab your camera and try to get some nature shots to brighten up your Facebook.
8. Ride a Bike
Riding a bike suuucks at first if you’re not ready for the cardio challenge it creates. Luckily, you can start by riding on local paths and trails. If you’re in Houston, check out Spotts Park or any of the Houston Bikeway System. You’re sure to find some great places for selfies along the way and you’re still building up your endurance. If you keep it up, you’ll be amazed at the results you see from biking to work, school, stores or just biking in general. Not to mention saving money and getting a workout.
Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) might seem like some weird stuff nerdy kids do on the weekends, and while there’s some truth to that, it can also be one hell of a workout. Explained simply, a group of people get together with various weapons generally made from PVC pipe and soft foam padding and battle each other — simple enough. But depending on who you’re LARPing with — I encourage bringing at least one friend with you — this can involve a lot of running, ducking and dodging, and that’s just the defensive side. Swinging those weapons constantly can be as tiring and rewarding (if not more so) as swinging a bat or a set of standing oblique twists.
6. Join The Club
Being an adult is likely way less fun than you thought when you were in high school, but that doesn’t mean all the fun is over. Lace up those cleats and get back to the glory days by joining an adult sports league. Whether your sport is soccer, basketball, football or anything else, there’s likely a league for it filled with other adults who just enjoy being active. Exercise and new friends? Win-win!
5. Listen To The Kids Bruh!
If you’re not ready to get in the game just yet, you could always start getting active by coaching a youth team. Doing the exercises with them can encourage you to push harder so you can keep them at the top of their game. Plus, getting cheered on by a team of kids who think you’re a superhero is always a boost of happiness.
4. Do Yoga
If you’ve been living a mostly stationary life for a while now (sitting at a desk at work, sitting at home, etc.) then yoga is a great way to work up to more exhaustive workouts. Most yoga classes promote mental clarity while also helping you build flexibility and strength.
“For a beginner, it depends a lot on how you take challenges,” Alicia Tillman, Program Director at Houston’s Empower Fitness Lab explained. “Being on your mat is a reflection of how you handle situations in real life. For example, notice if you come in and immediately feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable, if you feel like everyone is watching you, or maybe think you can't do anything. Typically you have the same reaction to new things. The best advice is come with an open mind and no expectations on yourself or the experience.”
3. Kick Some Ass
I once heard someone say, “As long as there are two people left on the face of this Earth, there’s a need for self-defense,” and I completely agree. Regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, it’s always good to be able to defend yourself if trouble arises. You don’t have to be the next Mayweather or Leroy Green (look it up kids), but learning some fundamental boxing or jiu jitsu can go a long way in improving your physical and mental health.
2. Bust A Move
Lots of people meet up with their friends at coffee shops and bars to catch up, hang out, or just get out of the house. Instead of a stationary get-together, try switching it up with a Zumba class, aerobics or an actual dance class. Swing dancing, hip hop and many Afro-Latino dance classes can have you sweating in the first 10 minutes. You can burn lots of calories, learn some new moves and hang out with your friends afterward.
1. Get To Business
You know that thing that grown folks do together? Yea, that thing. Do more of that. If you’re doing it right, sex is a pretty decent workout inside and out for all parties involved. The most obvious benefit is the aerobic exercise, which is good for the heart. A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that men who got the goods at least twice a week were less likely to develop heart disease compared to their less lucky counterparts. For women, sex has been shown to reduce stress levels and reduce pain associated with migraines and back pain, but that’s assuming that they achieve climax. So do yourself — and someone else — a favor and get to business in the bedroom.
Don’t expect any of these to be activities to be easy on the first try. You may not be able to keep up in your Zumba class just yet, and you may have to work on your LARPing technique, but the success comes in consistency. Have fun, make friends, and live your best life.
Nick Bailey is a forward thinking journalist with a well-rounded skill set including writing, design, and photography. Nick now resides in Austin, TX after earning a degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on journalism from Texas A&M University—Commerce.