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Want Better Workouts? Channel Your Inner Athlete


Posted on Nov 16, 2010 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

By Marie Elizabeth Oliver

Let’s face it; hitting the gym every day can get boring.  Sure, it’s easy to get hooked on the after-effects of a daily workout session, but toiling away on a treadmill (no matter how hilarious that Friends rerun is) doesn’t really count as fun. So why not take the advice of everyone’s favorite umbrella-welding nanny to help kick-start your workout routine? According to Mary Poppins: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun—and snap—the job’s a game.” Pretty genius.

If you’re looking for more scientific evidence, a recent study by the University of Copenhagen revealed that team sports drive motivation and long-term dedication to a physical activity where solo exercise, like jogging, can often fall short.

Even though your days of letterman jackets and pep rallies have passed, you can still take advantage of all the benefits of team sports as an adult. So dig your favorite jersey out of storage and relive your glory days. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting in shape in the process.

  • If you loved team sports (like soccer, volleyball, or softball) join an adult recreational league.
    These days, there are rec leagues for just about every sport—kickball anyone? Most of them allow you to opt in with an entire team or as an individual. Games usually run once a week for an entire season and end with a finals tournament. To get started, check out sites like Sportsvite.com that can help you locate a league and find a team in your city. If you don’t live in a major metro area or can’t find a league in your town, consider starting one up yourself. Pool staffs from local businesses against each other in the sport of your choice and let the fun begin.
       
  • If you loved cross-country or track, find a running club or marathon training team.
    Signing up for races can be a great motivational tool for runners, but why not one-up that by joining a team of dedicated joggers in your neighborhood? The Road Runners Club of America enthusiastically supports local groups and can serve as a resource to connect you with coaches and running events. Similarly, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training combines customized group endurance training with the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people living with cancer.
     
  • If you loved cheerleading or dance team, try a creative aerobics class. Dance-infused workouts, like Zumba, are growing in popularity for a reason. At Zumba sessions, instructors blare hip-moving music and incorporate step work into a high-energy class that’s part exercise, part Latin dance party. Check your gym’s class schedule regularly to see what’s being offered, and don’t be afraid to try something new.
      
  • If you loved swimming, share a lane with a masters club in your area. There’s nothing like a coach’s piercing whistle and another person kicking at your heels to turn ho-hum lap swimming into an adrenaline-packed cardio session. United States Masters Swimming operates teams in every region of the country and gives adult swimmers the opportunity to compete in more than 500 local and regional meets per year. Local training sessions are customized to individual members; so don’t worry if your butterfly isn’t quite what it used to be.

If organized sports aren’t your thing, you can still benefit from a little teamwork and coaching. Sign up to meet with a trainer at your local gym or find a workout buddy or two. Simply having someone to hold you accountable can make all the difference.


Your thoughts....

What’s the most fun workout you’ve tried? Have you stuck with it?



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Comments


I hated sports, I'm just not a team player :/  I like working out in the comfort of m own home on my elliptical with no one else there, or lifting weights in my living room.  I feel more motivated when I'm not worried about people looking at me, even if I know on an academic level that they are not, mentally and emotionally I still feel vulnerable when I'm around strangers.  I'll pass and stay home, but thanks!



Instead of going to a gym, I walk outside.  It is much more interesting, and it is free.  Not only that, now I know my town better than perhaps anyone else here!



I play basketball, go horseback riding and hiking when I have the chance, I have joined swimming lessons at the club next to my office, and when I have the time and feel like it I hit the gym in my apartment complex.  As I do a number of things, it is not a big deal if I just don't feel like going jogging on any given day. All together, I get about 6-8 or more hours of exercise in a normal week. 



I feel you on people lookng at your like it is to late for you, so I would rather stick to a team sport I know I am good at sex...



I am a member of my local Curves.  When I get there we are all chatting as we around the stations.  We keep each other motivated!  Hurray for Curves!



I love group fitness classes. It doesn't even matter what it is, but working in a group makes me challenge myself to be the best in the class! And it's paid off, because I just started teaching my own class last week!



My exercise buddy is my dog. Laughing She is my first dog and I just adopted her 5 weeks ago, so walking with her is a new thing in my workout routine. Because I don't have a fenced yard, I have to take her for a walk eeevery time she needs to go potty. I often get 60 mins of walking a day just from potty walks!

The past two weeks I've been trying to get her to jog with me. She's okay at it, but she has really short legs (Welsh Corgi) so she can't run too fast, and she wants to stop and sniff a lot. But still, it's more fun for me to run with her, and I'm the one encouraging her to keep going, which is great for me, since I'm a pretty slow runner.

Does anyone else rely on their puppy dog as a workout buddy? Smile



I've never been able to stick with an exercise program because eventually I would get bored - until I tried yoga.  There are so many styles and poses that I haven't gotten bored in three and a half years.  Also, I think that its focus on the mind and spirit keeps me coming back, too.  It is a sustaining exercise for the entire person.



I also really like yoga! I go once or twice per week. I don't do it everyday, i would for sure get bored/overly tired, but it's nice to change up my running routine.

I also play ultimate frisbee in a pick-up league in the summer. The system is very lax, so I don't feel bad if i have to miss a game (its just pick-up) but knowing that there will be people meeting to play motivates me to go. And if you haven't played ultimate frisbee, you may not know what a good cardio workout it is (LOTS of sprinting).



I've found that instead of team sports, since their is hardly any free time, have your team on a workout video. Cathe Freidricks' seem to be the most instense and engaging videos and they never seem to get boring.

The videos encourage you, and are more of a group setting while at home. You can go at your own pace and no one's laughing at your form or lack of abililty.Laughing



I suck at team sports, i'm too short, too small, and now too old :-). I was always the last one picked in school because i was the runt of the class so that always left a bad taste in my mouth. I find my best competition is myself and i am very good at motivating and pushing myself.

the only thing i've ever wanted to try that involved more than me is dancing, like ballroom or rumba or jazz.. maybe when i retire i'll have time, until then i'm my own best workout buddy...



This has always been my philosophy. I hate exercise, but I love to play. When my kids were young, we rode our bikes together, played tag, hopscotch, jump rope, basketball, volleyball, and whatever else. But they grew up and moved away. Now, I'm the only near-50-year-old in my hip hop dance class, and I'm having a blast. I love my classmates, and it turns out I'm pretty good for an oldster. :-) I also like to swim so I take a swim class, and I've abandoned my car for local transportation. I walk or ride my bike.



YOGA!  It suits my body and strengthens my spirit!



Figure skating! I was a competitive skater as a kid, and now in my 40's enjoying it for exercise. I can burn about 400 calories per hour, and have made many friends.



Original Post by: themcmaster

My exercise buddy is my dog. Laughing She is my first dog and I just adopted her 5 weeks ago, so walking with her is a new thing in my workout routine. Because I don't have a fenced yard, I have to take her for a walk eeevery time she needs to go potty. I often get 60 mins of walking a day just from potty walks!

The past two weeks I've been trying to get her to jog with me. She's okay at it, but she has really short legs (Welsh Corgi) so she can't run too fast, and she wants to stop and sniff a lot. But still, it's more fun for me to run with her, and I'm the one encouraging her to keep going, which is great for me, since I'm a pretty slow runner.

Does anyone else rely on their puppy dog as a workout buddy? Smile


I do!  I live in Northern Michigan, and the only thing that gets me active sometimes on the short, cold winter days of January is the fact that my dogs will go stir crazy if I don't get out and walk them.

That said, I also love to practice along with my TV-- I have countless programs DVR'd off FitTV, and I can do yoga, pilates, tai chi, aerobics, core conditioning, belly or Latin Dance--whatever I'm in the mood for!



I am a loner I suppose, I don't want anyone to chat with or judge me or coach me so I get on the treadmill at the gym, the ones in front of two tvs and I walk at least a mile....when I'm done there, I usually do some weight training but if someone wants to start a conversation, etc. I'm usually nice and high tail it out of there as soon as I can.  I just equate workouts with sweat and not looking very good, etc. so I wish no one could see me but, I can't afford a whole gym in my home.



Weight training is KING for me. I cycle as well on my off days, but most of the time it's Ivankos for me with minimal cardio. There's no other feeling like it in the world!!



Probably the sole reason I want a dog right now is to run with him!  I joined a kickball league over the summer, but it didn't really make me work out harder...just was a social outlet.  Howev, I joined a non-profit running group called Back on my Feet and running with them 3x a week definitely motivates me and gets me moving--and it's so early in the morning that I almost forget I've worked out at all by the end of the day!



I do! He's 4 now though. He can be the best and worst workout buddy though. Hes the best because he is *always* ready to go, but he is the worst because he is so very easily distracted!! I have had to make different trips with him. There is Mommy time and dog time. Mommy time is when we run and he doesnt get to sniff every blade of grass. Dog time is when we walk, and he gets to enjoy every drop of PeeMail in the grass and trees.

The great thing is, when people tell me the dog is looking chubby I know that I neeed to get the leash and the sneakers cuz Im probably getting a bit thick too!!



I find that taking classes at the YMCA has me motivated every day. I can go and do several classes in one day, meeting new people, and being pushed by the instructor. It really has me excited for my next work out!

The classes I've tried out so far and loved from the Y are ABsolution, ultimate cardio, zumba, pilates, and yoga. All work on different sections of the body, keep you working, and make you feel very good after a few days of doing these. I have found that I couldn't do too much at the beginning, but have built up to doing way more than I could ever do before. I started a week and a day ago on this, and I have already lost 5 pounds. Enjoying every second of it!=D



Belly Dancing!!!!



I recently started Zumba classes, and it is really fun.  It offers variety from exercising alone with a DVD at home.  Not to mention that it is a great workout.



Zumba is fantastic!  Mega-great workout and the best part - FUN!!!



I've been seriously thinking of joining a running club and other recreational groups. I also want to learn how to swim among many other things. Making fitness apart of your life is really important and along with a balanced diet the only key to life long weight maintenance... http://fullbodytransformation.wordpress.com/



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I vouch for yoga, ain't no better sport!



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