Recreation is commonly defined as play and/or activity that amuses or stimulates. Recreation comes in many forms. Some people play video games, while others play badminton. For most of us, recreational choices involve a variety of activities. Some demand energy, while others require nothing more than open eyes.
Good mental health requires recreation of any kind. Without play, we’d go nuts. Good physical health requires recreation of the active kind. If your recreation preferences lean more toward the couch potato variety, it’s time to try some new options. While reading is a fantastic way to pass the time, it only burns an average of about 85 calories per hour. Why not find some recreational activities that increase your fitness, as well? Need some suggestions? Read on.
- Travel. There are few things more rewarding than traveling to new places. And it need not be an exotic locale. Have you visited the towns closest to yours? Check ‘em out. Some are so close, you can ride your bike there. This adds to the sense of adventure. If a drive is necessary, be sure to park the car and investigate the town on foot. You’ll definitely miss things if you simply drive through. Stop and smell the roses, or whatever local flowers are in bloom.
- Paintball. This is a super-fun –albeit messy– way to team up, act like a kid and burn calories galore. Paintball is a great cardiovascular and strength-training workout. Paintballers spent a great deal of time running around the course, so a moderate level of fitness is recommended to play.
- Snow day = play day. If Old Man Winter closes down the town, don’t hide inside. Throw on your snowsuit and get out there. Sledding and skating and snowballs, oh my! It’s very easy to play so hard in the snow that you get too hot and begin removing layers of clothing. Careful! Frostbite isn’t fun. Just take a break instead.
- Dance. Tango? Rumba? Swing? Whatever your thing, dance lessons are a great way alternative to ho-hum fitness routines. Ballroom dancing can burn anywhere from 250 to 400 calories an hour, while higher intensity dances like the samba or swing are comparable to an intense gym workout. Take a partner, or meet one in class.
- Have kite, will travel. Stash a kite in the trunk of your car to kick up the activity level anywhere you go. Whether you’re at a picnic, the beach or hanging around the park, flying a kite takes you from sedentary to soaring in one fell swoop.
- Singles matches. If you’re a tennis or racquetball fan, opt for singles matches rather than double. You’ll get twice the workout, thus burning double the calories. Game, set, match!
How’s that for fun? And, unlike the gym, you didn’t have to force yourself to do it. Hey, maybe you’re on to something. Experts say it’s much easier to stick to an exercise plan when it’s not perceived as a chore. Now get back out there and have fun, recreational warrior. Don’t forget to stretch afterward.
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