Sure, we all know it’s important to exercise. It’s one of the keys to living a long life but also one of the best ways to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle and feel great. Some of us have our exercise routines pretty well locked in, but might lose motivation or get bored at times. For others, it’s always been hard to commit to exercising on a regular basis. So, today we bring you FUN fitness ideas: unique programs (and help for specific “problem areas”), cool ways to take advantage of the outdoors, and free ways to work out and find fitness partners.
FREE Fun Fitness Resources
- Find exercise buddies with Meetup.com. Checking our local Meetup groups for fitness activities we quickly found a walking challenge group in Brandon, “Happy Healthy Living in St. Pete” which has had meditation meetups, sunrise runs, and co-working days for a holistic approach, paddleboarding groups, kayakers, and any number of running groups, bootcamps and more. Joining Meetup is free and it’s a great way to find exercise buddies, try different types of exercise, and meet people with similar interests.
- Check out the many Pinellas County community fitness centers and “free fitness zones”–outdoor areas with special fitness equipment (free/no membership required). Fees are involved for some of the community fitness centers but they tend to be quite affordable and may offer senior discounts.
- Find videos online to workout at home. Youtube has an endless selection of exercise videos, as well as experts demonstrating techniques.
Unique Fun Fitness Ideas
Try a completely new form of fitness (some specially targeted at concerns you might have):
- The Feldenkrais method (which is taught at Largo’s community center) “uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning” to help break rigidities. It has been shown to improve back and neck pain, balance and functional mobility.
- Yoga or pilates can be very beneficial to creating strength and flexibility. There are so many types and options. Suncoast YMCA offers yoga classes for the beginner, yogalates, Hatha yoga, chair and senior yoga free for members. Hot yoga can bring a new challenge (but, like all other forms of exercise, check with your doctor first) if you’re ready to heat things up a bit! And, for us lucky residents of Tampa Bay…take advantage of the beautiful environment with beach yoga (check out Meetup for more beach yoga and exercise groups). You can find Pilates classes at various fitness centers and specialized studios for reformer Pilates. There is quite a bit of research on the positive effects of Pilates on postural alignment, body composition, back pain, and balance.
- Dance: Pure Barre is an increasingly popular program that uses the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to fun music. It is considered a total body workout and people tend to see great results…plus it’s fun and different (and can bring you back to your ballet days!). For those who love to dance, you might also want to try Zumba (there’s also aqua Zumba and a more low-key version called Zumba Gold) or many other dance-cardio classes. An evening out ballroom or line dancing is great for you too!
- Tai chi and qi gong are great for body and mind. The Taoist Tai Chi society offers classes at the Dunedin Hale Center and several locations throughout Pinellas County (and the U.S.). Tai chi’s benefits for balance and reducing the likelihood of falls as you get older are well-documented. It is also a great stress reducer. Qi Gong an “ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.” It heals body and mind, due to its focused attention on breathing and movement. Both of these are offered at a number of community centers in Pinellas County.
Fun Fitness in the Great Outdoors
Getting outside and exercising in the fresh air is one of the best things you can do! If you live in Tampa Bay, there’s nothing better than a walk on the beach; walking, running or biking on the Pinellas Trail (and others); joining a friend for a stroll across a bridge for a sunset view; or hiking around one of our many parks. What about trying paddleboarding or kayaking? Bring a friend or your EasyLiving companion, join a meetup or just get out and enjoy some quite time by yourself.
- Make a goal to do one active outdoor activity/week, especially checking out new areas (there’s probably places you haven’t explored within 5 minutes of home).
- Add simple outdoor activities to your regular routine: do some gardening, take a quick stroll after dinner, attend festivals where you spend time walking around, park further away when shopping, or walk for your local errands.
Ok, you’ve got no excuse now! There’s something for everyone (and every budget) on this list so get out there and get active. Join us on our Facebook page for ongoing fun fitness tips and to share your success stories.