Whatever our location, age or fitness level, a hike can provide opportunities for calming solitude or connecting with people we care about. Individuals with disabilities can also get outdoors at accommodating trails such as those at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, in Delaware. There’s always something to be learned in identifying wildlife and plants.
A wide range of activities, including exercising and engaging in sports, can help us break a sweat. A low-impact option is spending time in a sauna. Notably, in a focused study, the sweat from an infrared sauna expelled more bismuth, cadmium, chromium, mercury and uranium than that produced by a steam sauna. The steam sauna caused higher levels of arsenic, aluminum, cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, lead, tin, thallium and zinc to be excreted (Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology).
You may not have heard of it yet, but pickleball is a mixture of tennis, squash and table tennis, and it’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the country. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) at usapa.org estimates that 2.5 million players are active now, with the number expected to multiply to 8 million by next year.
Nonviolent self-defense is akin to the dynamics of bullfighting. “The matador never matches his strength with the enormous animal; rather, he redirects the energy of the bull with simple and precise movements—counterbalancing—and letting the bull’s energy move past him,” explains Rose. He’s trained everyday people of all ages and walks of life in this approach, in the U.S., UK, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
“As they train, students begin to feel more secure wherever they go, because they are learning how to be safe even in the midst of physical confrontation,” says Rose. “They wind up feeling more empowered as they learn how to neutralize aggression simply and effectively.”
Meditation master Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, in Halifax, Canada, teaches an online course, The Art of Mindful Running. He points out that running, or doing any physical activity, in a meditative state can deepen, train and enhance the mind. “Within 20 to 30 minutes, you have an opportunity to work with your mind. Instead of just spacing out or trying to get exercise, you can actually say, ‘I am going to be present, I am going to relate to my breathing and my movement a little bit,’” says Mipham. “This is healthy both for the mind and the body.”
While a Gyrotonic workout has similarities to yoga and Pilates, it is also unique. According to Melissa Jutras, a Pilates instructor, weightlifting coach, personal trainer and gym/studio owner of Big Blue Strength, in Lexington, Kentucky, “Hatha yoga is a series of static postures, whereas Pilates and Gyrotonic movements focus on flow, using equipment to enhance core strength, stability, control, coordination and flexibility. The difference is that Gyrotonic exercises works on three dimensions with every circular movement, like the body naturally moves. It uses weights and a pulley system, whereas Pilates is more linear and uses spring tension.”
“Research with older people at both rehabilitation and nursing centers tells us that the human body wasn’t designed to begin a major decline in function until age 70, barring major illness or accidents along the way. Most of individual decline is due to lifestyle choices, not nature’s plan.”
“Kettlebells can replace almost all other exercise equipment in providing an all-in-one workout, combining strength and cardio benefits,” explains Shelly Bumpus, an Athletics and Fitness Association of America-certified personal trainer and owner of the Studio Women’s Fitness Center, in Scott, Louisiana. Bumpus often uses kettlebells in strength and conditioning exercise classes to afford a balanced full-body workout that’s fun and engaging.
Every January, we rally our hopes, vowing that this time our New Year’s resolutions will finally stick. However, “If you don’t have a plan, plan to fail,” says Kansas City, Missouri, personal trainer Jake Albracht. We can make our health and fitness goals for 2017 a reality instead of just wishful thinking.