This is an article I wrote for the summer 2016 newsletter.
The theme of this issue is “Equipping Others.” In terms of fitness, we can equip and help others in their fitness journey. This can be done through creating opportunities for fitness when spending time with our family and friends.
Change how you socialize
As I started my fitness journey, I became more aware of my food choices. This led me to want to eat out less, especially as I browsed nutrition menus and saw the amount of calories and sodium in restaurant food. I quickly realized that when I met friends and family to hang out and catch up, it often was around food. One quick fix was to change where and how we met. Now when I meet them to catch up, instead of meeting at a restaurant or coffee shop, we meet at a park and go for a walk and are able to talk without the distractions and interruptions surrounding restaurant dining. Plus being outdoors is great for our health.
Speaking of being outdoors, why not plan a day hike with friends and family. There are many trails at different endurance levels that are very close to where we live.
Share your fitness journey
Another way we can create community in the area of fitness is to share our stories. I recently posted an article on my blog sharing results from my fitness journey. The largest result? I was able to stop taking blood pressure medication. The story led people to ask me more questions about my journey and path.
Add in some competition
There are tools like Fitbits that can be used to engage in some friendly competition with your community. It can be the extra motivation you need to get those extra steps in. I hear of people adding 15 minutes of walking just to finish number one in their community group.
Engage your family and friends
There are many fun things that also include physical fitness. This is true especially during the warm, summer months. You and your family and friends can go on nice walks in the evenings or go on bike rides on the weekends on one of the many bike trails in our area.
Here are some things you can do with family and friends.
Go for a walk
Walking for wellness is free, low impact, and something you can do on your own schedule. Remember, it does not have to be all at once. If you find 10 minutes three times a day, that is 30 minutes. Walk to wellness!
Whether you are alone or with family and friends, just turn on the music and dance. The thing about exercise is that it is just about moving your body. It doesn’t have to involve classes or gyms.
Whether with your family or roommate, doing household chores is a form of exercise.
Add in stairs
Encourage your friends and family to take the stairs with you.
Walk your dog
If you have a dog, walk your dog as a family.
Do a marathon, 5K, or other race/activity
Do you plan on walking or running in a race? Why not ask your family and/or friends to join you?
Enlist your family and friends to help you in the garden. Gardening is great exercise but be careful with all of the bending.
Have a weekly sport/game night
Why not play basketball with your friends and family? It is something you can do indoors and outdoors so weather is not an issue. You could also play video games that require dance and movement. You could also go bowling or ice-skating.
At the end of the day, it’s just about getting your body moving. Exercise is good for the body and the soul, and engaging your community is good for your motivation as well the health of your community.