This may sound blasphemous coming from a fitness instructor, but maybe lifting weights in the gym on a regular basis isn’t for you. Weightlifting is not mandatory to live a healthy life. Are there added benefits weightlifting can bring? Yes. Can well-being be achieved without having to get to the gym and repetitively picking up the same thing? Yes. Find what makes you happy and unlock a world of opportunities that will make your life better and healthier. Below are a few recommendations that may breathe new life into a passion you have long forgotten, or peak an interest you never knew you had, and will also keep you active and healthy for your recovery.
- Watersports– A few options of watersports include surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, and fishing. These sports can benefit your life if given the opportunity. Speaking from experience, the first time you ride a wave to shore or reel in the big catch is quite an adrenaline rush and physical challenge. Sailing and paddle boarding will take you a place of tranquility on the water as you are constantly challenged with pulling yourself through water, or pulling ropes to swing the sail. Sometimes you will forget just how hard the task is as you find the peace being on the water can bring. Water has the enticing power that will challenge your body while relaxing your mind.
- Hiking/Trail Running/Cycling– Have you ever dreamed of far off remote places that few have seen before? Maybe the thought of the sun beating down on your back as you trek through a forgotten path to the best view of a serene location is more your speed? Regardless of where you go, hiking brings about physical demand of carrying a load over a period while connecting back with nature. Studies on “ecotherapy”, or being outdoors, show that spending time in nature helps reduce depression in 71% of those being tested(Rachel Bragg, 2013). Even as little as twenty minutes can have a dramatic effect on how a person can feel.
- Cooking– Food is a vital piece of nutrition, and nutrition is a vital piece of living a healthy life. Making the right choices can lead to lower body fat percentage and decreased risk of cardiovascular and metabolic disease. Also, creating a fancy dish will improve levels of self-confidence and make the chef feel accomplished. Add in the concept of cooking for a social event can lead to an decrease in depression from being around a supportive group of friends and family.
- Learn An Instrument/Take a Yoga Class– Find a new hobby that connects to music. Music has a direct impact on mood, and health. A calm melody during rhythmic movements helps with stress reduction for the entire body. Playing a tune on a new instrument can increase self-esteem, and promote mental well-being. A simple new hobby will provide dramatic results on the happiness of your life if you let it.
- Volunteer Work– It is said, “no joy can equal the joy of serving others”. If you’re reading this article, you can probably think of a time in your life when you could have used a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on. Now that you’re in a better place, find a way to make the lives of others better. Be a sponsor, volunteer at a soup kitchen, clean up a local park or take time to deliver meals on wheels. Some work will include physically demanding jobs that will keep you fit, while others may require you to be around other people trying to make the best of the moment at hand. Either way, helping others will relieve stress, increase happiness and benefit everyone involved.
No matter how you choose to be healthy, remember to do the things that make you happy. People that consider themselves happy are typically at lower risk of disease, lead more active lives by choice, and can bounce back from stressful situations better than those that have a negative outlook. If the idea of taking a trip to the gym brings more stress than relief, it’s time you should find something more appealing. Find what makes you happy and healthy, and do that.
Rachel Bragg, C. W. (2013, May). Ecominds Effects on Mental Wellbeing: An Evaluation for Mind. www.mind.org.uk.