If lockdown showed us anything, it’s that we get restless staying in one place, turning into a couch potato. Physical activity is not only for people who care about their weight or looks but rather a way for everyone to maintain a healthy body and mind. The following activities can protect your physical and mental health without leaving a dent in your budget or stealing too much of your time.
Running around the neighborhood
You don’t need a lot to start running, except for good shoes and appropriate clothing. Since you can run almost anywhere, it even won’t burden you with finding an ideal spot to practice this activity. Running around the neighborhood is good enough to strengthen the musculoskeletal system and get the blood flowing.
A 2018 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that runners live longer by lowering all-cause mortality. Just like any aerobic activity, it can improve sleep, burn calories, and enhance cognitive functions. The latter is crucial for reducing the risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s by stimulating the production of BDNF protein necessary for neuron development, thus improving brain health.
Walking a mile
Walking is often neglected as a great activity to protect your physical and mental health. However, this is something easily remedied by wearing comfortable shoes and taking one-hour walks every day. Even if you don’t have the time, you can squeeze in a mile walk in your schedule which will take you approximately 15 minutes at a moderate pace.
It brings significant health benefits to the table, like improved blood pressure, stronger bones, reduced risk of heart disease, and better pulmonary fitness. In recent years, you can find fitness videos to walk at home combined with some additional exercises to strengthen muscles and bones. Not to mention that walking can inspire new ideas and help you calm down after a stressful event.
Hiking on the weekends
Hiking may require more preparation, but this activity is worth every penny and time you spent on organizing. But once you start walking down the hiking trail in nature, you won’t care about the miles ahead or carry your stress with you. This cardio exercise can improve your heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Since you will be carrying your weight and your things in a backpack, it’s also considered strength training, building your muscle mass. However, hiking is beloved for having a huge impact on the mind since it takes you through natural landscapes and away from urban chaos. It can calm anxiety, reduce stress, and help with depression, as well as make your mind sharper and boost the production of feel-good hormones
Dancing your worries away
Dancing is more considered as fun than seeing for what it is: a considerable dose of physical activity. With benefits like improved agility, coordination, and flexibility, as well as weight management and increased endurance, dancing is good for everyone. From toddlers to the elderly population, this activity can strengthen muscles, joints, and bones while being gentle at the same time.
As mentioned, it’s a fun activity that will put a smile on your face and lighten the mood. For this reason, it’s a great way to lessen anxiety and depression, especially since it can include socializing. But what makes dancing great is that it doesn’t feel like an exercise, making it less of an obligation and so more attractive to people.
Yoga to start the day
If you are looking for an activity to wake you up in the morning, we recommend yoga. It will take not more than 20 minutes and a small space on your floor to feel energized and ready to start your day. Those who spend most of the day standing or sitting can use yoga to fight back pain, stiff muscles, and degrading posture.
Another benefit of yoga comes from special breathing techniques and meditation that can reduce stress and promote positive thinking. Many companies recognize yoga as good for employees and offer it for free at the office during breaks. Additionally, it’s an ideal stay-at-home activity you can do outside in the backyard, with your kids, and even your pets.
Cycling to a better health
While riding a bike is a great way to get from one place to another, its health benefits are abundant. Based on Harvard Health Publishing, this activity can burn 240–336 calories in half an hour, contributing to a healthy way to lose weight along with a proper diet. It’s also a way to strengthen your core and leg muscles, as well as recover joints from sitting too much during the day.
Instead of taking a bus or driving, ride your bike to work every day if weather permits. With convenient models, like a folding bike, you can take it inside the office and not worry someone will steal it from the parking rack. More importantly, spend your weekends in nature de-stressing on a cycling trail, and enjoying the fresh air and soothing landscapes.
Swimming is a whole-body exercise
While swimming may require a little bit of effort on your part, it’s an activity that affects the whole body and mind. Since this is a low-impact activity, it’s recommended for people with musculoskeletal conditions, like osteoporosis, and injuries. Besides increasing muscle strength, it also boosts flexibility, lung capacity, and circulation, lowering the risks of stroke, heart attack, and other life-threatening events.
Every stroke you make brings more feel-good hormones to your system, improving your mood and lowering cortisol. Go outside and take a swim in open water, like a lake, river, or sea to add the benefits of spending time outside into the mix. To make things more interesting and fun, try snorkeling or any of the water sports, especially if they require mingling with other people.
In the end
There’s a perfect activity for everyone that can protect your physical and mental health, as well as bring fun and joy. To find “the one”, try a few of them and see how it makes you feel, but there is no excuse to skip on being physically active. As mentioned, you can do many of them at home with a pair of good shoes and determination to make your life better.