As the end of February brings another American Heart Month to a close, we may have learned some sobering facts about cardiovascular health and the critical role of healthy habits. But it's also important not to feel discouraged or overwhelmed.
If you're in a rut or don't know where to begin, let's look at some fun and simple activities to try out as part of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Need some alone time? Go for a walk or jog. Need some moral support? Join a local walking or running club. And if you're heading outdoors for a run or hike, always be prepared and stay safe.
Comfortable with repetition? Check out aerobics, strength training, or HIIT workouts. Or, if you want to get back to the basics, try Primal Movement.
Hop on the bike or even a pair of skates for a dose of nostalgia to go with your heart health.
For the ultimate zero-impact workout, take a swim.
We'll forever vouch for this: walk or play with the rescue animals at your local shelter.
Help at a food pantry or work on a community beautification project.
Volunteer as a coach or mentor for a youth athletic program.
Get involved with community theater and work backstage…or onstage as the talent!
Travel to a new city or visit an area known for its walkability.
Check out a concert, festival, or cultural event that exercises your mind and body.
Go shopping! Seriously. Do a big lap (or three) around an outlet mall or shopping center, then treat yourself to a little something nice. It's for your health!
Try out a group or social sport like bowling, disc or mini golf, kickball, tennis, or the latest craze: pickleball!
Leave it all on the dance floor, whether you choose ballroom, line dance, freestyle, or even a little Cupid Shuffle. This writer swears by having a solo, 10-minute, early-2000s dance party before stressful Zoom presentations or work calls.
Nothing releases years of grown-up angst like a round of laser tag or paintball with your closest friends (or frenemies).
Got kids? Run around outside with them for an afternoon. After two to three days of intense soreness, your quads will thank you for it.
Get vertical and check out a rock climbing gym.
Need to release a little extra stress? Try axe throwing, which is pretty much what it sounds like.
Laughter - The Best Medicine
Take it old school and play a card or board game with friends.
Rewatch a favorite comedy movie. Annoy your friends by reciting every bit of dialogue you can remember.
Check out a live comedy show. But remember: don't sit in the front unless you're open to getting roasted by a comedian.
Pick up the brush and try an artistic venture like painting or pottery.
Learn to play a new instrument or pick up the ol' French horn from those middle school days.
Take a sushi-making, pizza-baking, or other cooking class.
Build a garden to learn to grow your food, herbs, or flowers.
Take a meditation or yoga class. Want to up the difficulty level? With temperatures set at 80 to 100 degrees, hot yoga could be just what you need for the extra stretch and sweat.
A Little Wine, A Little Chocolate
Today's Mantra: Just One New Thing
Pick one activity that makes you feel like moving. Just one. You can commit to spending the whole weekend building a new container garden or have an impromptu dance party ten minutes before your next Zoom. You can do it alone, with the family, or with a whole posse of coworkers.
Try just one activity, and if you don't like it, scrap it. No pressure.
And remember to keep it simple; we're basically looking for any fun activity that lets you use more than your sit-at-your-desk-muscles and get-your-work-done brain patterns.
Just one new thing… starting today.
Have you tried one of the activities on our list? Tried one we didn't list here?
Share how it went and reach out to: firstname.lastname@example.org