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Physical Activity Ideas

Here are a few suggestions on how to include more physical activity into your (and your family's) summer:

Take a walk: Walking is one of the simplest activities to get the ball rolling for physical activities. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and a pleasant walking trail. Take a walk after lunch and dinner, or get off one bus stop early on your way to work.

Make a play for it: You might have flown a kite or thrown a Frisbee as a kid -- why not now? Once in the park, you might see other activities that encourage you and your family to have fun exercising.

Start a family health club: Gather your family together one evening or weekend and make up a list of activities that everyone can enjoy. Put your list on the fridge with a calendar, and plan for evenings when you can try a new activity. For example, your list might include softball, cycling, tennis, tag, or basketball. A list of fun activities will be more beneficial to your family than a list of favourite TV shows.

Support the sports: Most sports activities increase your physical fitness, contribute to heart and bone health, and help you maintain a healthy body weight. And you don't need to be a professional athlete with an agent and a contract to benefit from team-related or individual sports. Participating in individual or team recreational sports, such as baseball, tennis, soccer, cycling, swimming, or running is an excellent way to increase your level of physical activity and fitness. Team sports are also a great way to meet others who are motivated to stay fit. Visit your closest community recreational centre or sports club for more information on organized individual or team sports.

Just the basics: Scientific evidence suggests that even low-intensity, general lifestyle activities have health benefits, including:
  • gardening and yard work
  • leisure activities such as golf, tennis, or bowling
  • housework, dancing, and walking up the stairs

Here are some tips for exercise success:

  • If you've been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity program.
  • Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting.
  • Add variety. Develop a repertoire of several activities that you can enjoy. That way, exercise will never seem boring or routine.
  • Wear comfortable, properly fitted footwear and comfortable, loose-fitting clothing appropriate for the weather and the activity.
  • Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way.
  • Use music to keep you entertained.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people. Decide what kind of support you need. Do you want them to remind you to exercise? Ask about your progress? Participate with you regularly or occasionally? Allow you time to exercise by yourself? Go with you to a special event, such as a 10K walk/run? Be understanding when you get up early to exercise? Spend time with the children while you exercise? Try not to ask you to change your exercise routine? Share your activity time with others. Make a date with a family member, friend or co-worker. Be an active role model for your children.
  • Don't overdo it. Do low- to moderate-level activities, especially at first. You can slowly increase the duration and intensity of your activities as you become more fit. Over time, work up to exercising three or four times per week for 30-60 minutes.
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success!

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