It’s summer. The sun is shining, and the weather is just right for fun.
But if you’re one of the 50 million Americans that are living a sedentary life, you might not be getting all the benefits that getting outside can give you.
Steven Blair, an expert in exercise science and a professor at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health, calls this lack of exercise, “the biggest public health problem of the 21st century.”
And he should know.
Not only does he study the effects of exercise on your brain and physiology, but he contributed to the 1996 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health as the senior scientific editor.
Let’s take a look at the ways that you can improve fitness to benefit your health and your happiness.
Improve Fitness with Exercise and Health
There’s an extensive amount of research that shows that exercising — even as little as 30 minutes per day — can add a significant boost to your health.
Just by making it a regular part of your day — or week — exercise can:
- Help you live longer
- Contribute to weight loss
- Keep your muscles and bones strong as you age
- Reduce chronic disease risk
- Promote brain health
- Promote skin health
- Reduce pain
- Improve your sex life
With just a half-hour of activity per day, you could be on your way to significant benefits to your life and health.
Lose the Laziness for Longer Life
A study conducted around the exercise habits of 80,000 participants found that just 30 minutes of exercise translated to better health and reduced mortality.
In fact, men who were just moderately fit enjoyed six more years of fun in the sun than their couch-potato counterparts.
Trounce Obesity with Activity
Exercise is a proven way to get those extra pounds off and keep from getting metabolic syndrome, a disorder where your body finds it hard to lose weight.
What’s more, you’ll find as you exercise, your body will naturally become firmer and more toned, contributing to a positive body image and increased fitness.
Move More for Strong Muscles and Bones
As we age, our muscles and bones need some extra care to stay strong and healthy. Exercise, even a little bit each day, can help combat lax muscles by helping your body absorb amino acids more easily.
In addition, adolescents who exercised were better able to keep osteoporosis, or brittle bones, at bay later in life.
Reduce Chronic Disease with Regular Activity
A paper published in the International Journal of General Medicine showed that exercise through leisure activities helped to decrease risk factors like hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and more.
But exercise can help you even if you’re already experiencing a loss of health.
In people that already have coronary disease, exercise helped prevent heart attacks and stroke, and in patients already in heart failure, exercise increased quality of life and reduced need for surgery.
Big Payoff for Brain Health
By putting a halt to inflammation, exercise is a powerful way to keep your brain healthy far into later life. Exercise has many benefits for your brain, including clearer focus, improved memory, and improved outlook.
Go for the Glow
Everyone wants to keep the rosy glow of youth and exercise can help you do it.
By increasing your body’s absorption of antioxidants and reducing oxidative stress on your skin, exercise can keep the skin of your face and body looking years younger.
If you improve fitness, you improve your skin as well.
Increase Activity, Reduce Pain
Syndromes like fibromyalgia benefit from gentle, repetitive exercises performed regularly.
Get Some Action and Improve Your Sex Life
Who doesn’t want more — and better — sex? If you want to increase the passion, go for a walk, a run, or a swim. Exercise is correlated with more desire, better sex, and more sex.
No pills necessary — all you need is a little bit of daily movement to get a whole lot of action at night.
Although all of these benefits are fantastic, the link between exercise and happiness deserves some special attention.
Exercise — A Drug-free Way to Happiness
Getting physical isn’t just good for your body — it’s good for your mind as well.
There’s wide-ranging evidence that getting your move on can help fight depression, improve overall mood, and increase motivation.
Exercise works by lowering inflammation and increasing the release of endorphins — the “feel good” hormones — that can boost outlook.
Exercise is a natural way to release stress and anxiety while promoting a calm, centered mind.
But there’s even more benefit to getting yourself in motion. Exercise boosts blood flow to your brain, which contributes to clearer focus and sharper memory.
Getting some daily movement into your life is also associated with better, more restful sleep. This, in turn, contributes to a host of anti-aging benefits, including clearer, more radiant skin for those interested in keeping their youthful glow.
Let’s Get Physical — Improve Fitness the Fun Way
There are many ways to get some exercise. You can walk, run, hike, or bike. But one way in particular is so much fun that people don’t really think of it as exercise — swimming.
Specifically, swimming has been proven to be an excellent way to stay fit.
It’s low-impact, so it’s within reach for most people — even those with physical limitations — to enjoy. A study of women who were regular swimmers showed lowered body fat, increased fitness and flexibility, and lowered blood lipids.
And women with mild hypertension who practiced high-intensity interval training in the pool were able to lower their blood pressure through this exercise alone.
Swimming can get your blood pumping, your muscles working, and those feel-good endorphins flowing like a river. Within days of regular visits to the pool, you could begin to feel — and look — better.
Let’s look at some great ways to put fun — and fitness — into your pool.
Take A Daily Dip
The simplest way to get fit in your pool is the most intuitive — just get in and swim. If you’d like to cool off after a hot day running errands or doing yard work, then jump in when the sun’s high in the sky.
If you want to be careful of getting too much sun, then a morning or evening dip might work best for you.
To improve fitness, just be sure that you put it on your calendar so it’s part of your daily routine.
You don’t have to be a pro swimmer. Even a dog paddle down the length of the pool will get your heart rate up and your muscles moving.
Water Work Out
Water aerobics are a great way to get both cardiovascular and muscle-toning into your pool fitness plan. You can use equipment specially designed for the pool to add weight to your routine, such as special floating belts to help you stay upright in deep water.
Water fitness routines are available online from many sources.
Once you learn a number of exercises, you can put them together for an individualized exercise plan and set them to the music of your choice for an extra boost.
Water Sports — The Ultimate Combination of Exercise and Fun
One of the best ways to get a fantastic water workout and improve fitness without even realizing that you’re exercising is to make fitness a social, playful event.
Water basketball is a great way to get your heart rate up, burn some calories, and burn off some steam. It doesn’t take much to get a full-on water hoops game going in your own backyard pool — just a hoop and a ball and you’re ready.
You’ll want to make sure the equipment you choose is heavy-duty and ready to stand up to the sun and the pool environment because once you realize how much fun it is to get your exercise this way, you’ll be playing every day.
Dunnrite makes water basketball equipment for any pool size and type, and their equipment are built to last, so you’ll be able to get your exercise regularly for the most benefit.
If you’re more of a volleyball fanatic, Dunnrite has you covered there, too, with both deck-mounted and portable pool volleyball nets.
Pool volleyball can involve large teams, so you can get the entire family as well as a few friends or neighbors in on the action.
Both types of water sports are great for young kids and adolescents who don’t like the idea of “regular” fitness. Once engaged in a game, kids and adults alike forget about the fitness aspect and just concentrate on having fun.
Before you know it, you’ll have gotten more than your half-hour of exercise in without feeling like you’ve been chained to a tedious workout.
If you want to change up your pool basketball or pool volleyball workout, consider the following tips:
- Play at night, using phosphorescent swim shirts or glow bracelets to identify teams.
- Use music to keep the vibe high and lively.
- Make up your own rules.
- Play for simple prizes like movie tickets or an ice cream treat.
- In volleyball, cover the net with towels so you can’t see the opposing team.
- Play pool basketball with “watermelon” balls, a specialized water-filled ball that can be passed underwater.
- Play in a “league” with playoffs and a championship.
Pool Sports — Your Fun, Easy, Inexpensive Way to Fitness
There’s no need for expensive gym memberships and thousand-dollar gym equipment when you have the ultimate fitness playground in your back yard — your pool.
No need to travel long distances to a running track, gym, or basketball court when your own sports and fitness center is a few feet from your back door.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about bringing a change of clothes, enduring a sweaty ride home, or worse yet, showering in unsanitary facilities.
Instead, choose some pool aerobics routines, get some sturdy equipment from Dunnrite for your choice of water basketball or volleyball, and let the fitness begin.
With Dunnrite equipment, your setup will last for years of exercise and enjoyment, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. There are options for every pool type, and all the equipment is made to withstand years of summer sun and pool water.
Best of all, exercising in your pool won’t even seem like exercising at all, and you’ll be reaping the benefits of being more fit in no time.
In fact, with water sports, you’ll be able to make fitness a family affair and get everyone in on the action.
Establishing fun exercise activities for your kids when they’re at home will help keep them fit, build good habits for adulthood, and help the whole family reach health and fitness goals — together.