Sure, serious physical training can get complicated and becomes dependent on many variables. At other times, no matter what age, it’s just about getting the heart rate up. Here are three quick tips for staying active.
Tip number 1: Don’t overthink it.
It’s possible to believe that a plan of action or a written fitness journal are needed to get active. Not the case. Setting goals or having a consistent routine works well for a lot of people-- especially if you are in training for a particular event, season, or other purpose-- but otherwise, that doesn’t need to stop you from simply getting up and moving.
Feel like getting some energy out? Did you just take a long car ride on the way to a vacation destination? Did you just spent 3 hours on a Netflix binge? Put on the right clothes and find a place to get sweaty.
An open field may be calling your name for a game of catch-- baseball... football... anything. Call up some friends to hit up the swimming pool or to start a pick-up game of your favorite sport.
No one available? Still tons of options to go solo, like playing frisbee golf, throwing or hitting a ball against a wall, or simply knocking out a few sets of push-ups and sit-ups in the sun. Make a game of it and see if you can beat your unbroken score week-to-week.
Tip number 2: Avoid what you hate.
This one comes with a caveat: If you are training with sport-specific goals, then by all means, attack your weaknesses. Meaning, if your fitness requires you to be better at an activity you detest, such as upper body strength, sprint conditioning, aerobic capacity, or squats, then you’ll need to make time for those dreaded movements. Similarly, it might be movements specific to sport skills you can’t stand, like defensive position, arm swing, hitting or striking movements, speed off the line, footwork, vertical jump, etc. If that’s the case, then this tip does not apply.
For general fitness endeavors, however, a lot of times people say things like, “Ugh, I hate running,” or, “I don’t like core work.” Okay! Find a way to get moving that is not a chore.
This means general play, especially if you’re an adolescent. Get outside and climb, play an old-school tag game with friends, choose the sport you do like, or just put on some music and get goofy. There are even video games that can get you up and off the couch. Whatever works.
As an adult, it’s about finding a routine that’s fun. It could even start with walking or hiking. Tired of the same old routine? Find ways to vary it up or come up with an event to train for. This should go without saying, but you’re much more likely to maintain a fitness habit if you find it enjoyable.
Tip number 3: Notice your heart rate.
Okay, here’s the ultimate key: Get your heartrate up to a point that is a noticeable increase. For instance, if you put your hand to your chest during activity, you can really feel it thumping.
If you need a better guide about a heart rate zones, that’s possible-- many people have FitBits or related wristwear that gives a good guess on heart rate as well. Without technology, you can measure your physical exertion with a heart rate check for a solid 6-seconds and then add a zero to that number. (10 beats in 6 seconds? That’s 100 beats per minute.) Or, more accurately, measure it for 30 seconds and multiply by two. Depending on age, fitness level, and goals, we want anywhere from 140 to close to 200 beats per minute.
All that said, most of the physical activity of your daily and weekly life doesn’t need measurement. In fact, it’s beneficial to leave your smart technology off from time to time to worry less about numbers and just develop an active lifestyle in a way that you love. Simply notice your heart rate has increased as you give your brain a break from the phone, internet, or TV for a few minutes every single day.
Shoot to accumulate at least one hour a day of physical movement, outside if possible, if you are looking to develop and maintain your cardio and muscular wellness.
“Growing Up Great!”
For more health tips geared towards adolescent boys, check out Growing Up Great!, a body-positive guide to getting through puberty confidently by respecting the body and all of its changes.