Easy and Fun Ways to Get Fit

What is holding you back from getting fit? Is it the idea of exercise? The thought of working out can impart a feeling of obligation. As a result, your perception about exercise becomes negative. It turns into a dull and less enjoyable must-do activity.

This frame of mind can sabotage your goal because fitness is a product of exercise and proper diet. To keep your level of motivation, you must have the ‘fun’ factor in any workout activities you wish to do. It means choosing entertaining workout activities.

The best way to find enjoyable activities is to look back. Refresh your memory and recall your childhood days. What games did you enjoy playing with your friends?

Here are few of the children’s classic games that can be considered also as effective and fun way to get fit.

Hula Hoop. Remember how you and your girlfriends took pleasure in swiveling this big ring around your waist. For more effective hula hoop exercise, you can opt for weighted hula hoops. The circular trunk movement can trim your waistline and tighten your abdominal area.

More so, hula hooping for 30 minutes in low intensity can burn approximately 200 calories.

Jumping Rope. It is simple but very effective way to lose weight. There is no fancy equipment and special gear required except for a rope which you can buy for $20. It is relatively cheap and you can do this exercise anywhere.

Jumping rope is a great calorie burner. It is also considered as one of the best cardiovascular exercises. You can burn up to 1000 calories for an hour of jumping rope. It benefits your entire body, both the upper and lower major muscle groups. It also nurtures your body stamina and agility.

Trampoline. This is really easy and fun to do exercise. This is also known as rebounding exercise. There is no doubt that bouncing will rekindle your playful childish spirit. What a fun way to shed that extra weight!

On top of that, rebounding exercise offers many health benefits. It revs up your metabolism and heightens your energy level. It is also a great way to improve your balancing skills while it tones your muscles.

Swimming. Children like to swim especially during summer months. This activity is not only enjoyable but it is packed with health benefits. Like jumping rope, this exercise involves all your major muscle groups in the body. This makes swimming an excellent choice for an entertaining total body workout. It also enhances the blood and oxygen circulation in your body.

A 30 minutes moderate pace swimming can burn 240 calories.

Other classic children activities that you can consider for fitness are bike riding, basketball, football and dancing.

Just look back and remember those fun filled childhood days. You can always do those enjoyable, entertaining and easy to learn activities to keep you fit.

Reduce Childhood Obesity Through Food, Fitness and Fun

The ever growing problem of childhood obesity is challenging community based and commercial organizations. The health care industry is very concerned about this “epidemic” because the cost of care for these children continues to rise, and will continue to increase as these children grow into adulthood. Across Canada, 1 in 4 children are considered overweight or obese according to the Ontario Medical Association. What can be done?

Family cycling together – staying fit and having fun!There are a variety of factors that contribute to obesity in children. These include genetic, environmental, behavioural and social issues. It’s not just a matter of over eating or under exercising or a lack of willpower and self control. However, if the problem is going to be addressed, it does come down to personal and family commitment to making a change.

So, what can you do if you have a child struggling with their weight? The approach I would recommend comes down to food, fitness and fun for the whole family. This could be a significant lifestyle shift but if you’re concerned about your child’s health, it shouldn’t be a big deal. Here are some tips.

  • Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast.
  • Work on incorporating more home made meals into your diet instead of eating out or using heavily processed foods for major meals.
  • Try to include foods from at least 3 of the four main food groups in each meal. Plan meals and snacks so you’re choosing a variety of nutritious, tasty foods.
  • Limit the serving sizes of snacks and limit snacks to 1 or 2 per day. Choose things like fresh fruit and yogurt or cheese, a muffin or cereal with milk.
  • Allow your child to enjoy their favourite foods in moderation.

Of course, exercise and overall activity level is equally important as how many calories your child consumes. We all know we should be more active for our general health and well being. Here are some activity suggestions.

  • Encourage your child to aim for at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity 5 days a week.
  • For family activities, choose a variety your family will enjoy.
  • Choose activities that can be done from home like walking, cycling, hiking and playing games outdoors.
  • Limit screen time (television, video games and computer time) to less than 2 hours per day.
  • If your child has a television in their bedroom, remove it. A research study showed children with a TV in their room watched close to 5 hours more programming than those without.
  • Exercise with your child and set a good example for them. Community or in home exercise programs are an ideal solution.

As you can see, dealing with childhood obesity requires a lifestyle change for the family. You can not expect your child to do everything on their own. Your role as a parent is to support your child’s change to a healthier lifestyle. Ultimately it will benefit your entire family for years to come.

Indoor Rowing Competitions – Rowing Your Way to Fun, Fitness, and Fame

Gather a bunch of rowers deprived of their usual competitive outlet. Mix in the enforced indoor training of a New England winter. Add a dash of ingenuity and a healthy helping of high spirits. Mix well with a training machine equipped with new technological capabilities and the results could well be the start of a new competitive sporting event that attracts over 2,000 competitors every year. If the timing is right, it could even start a whole new sport with enthusiasts the world over. That’s exactly what happened when a group of bored athletes decided to spark up their winter training with a little bit of fun competition.

The Birth of Indoor Rowing

In the beginning, there was the Charles. That’s the Charles River of Love That Muddy Water fame. It’s the home of the annual Head of the Charles Regatta, the two-day river race event that attracts over 7,000 athletes each year to compete against each other in 24 races. It’s also the home turf – if one can refer to a waterway that way – of the Harvard crew. And it’s where, in 1981, the sport of Competitive Indoor Rowing was born.

It began with the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Winter Olympics and grew out of the boredom of a group of athletes looking for a way to beat the winter doldrums. Concept 2, a maker of rowing machines, had just introduced their new ‘ergometer’, a rowing machine with a revolutionary new design. The athletes, members of the 1976-1980 U.S. Olympics and World Teams, used the ergometer to practice and work out. Their naturally competitive natures took hold and they organized the first ever Charles River Association of Sculling Has-Beens Indoor Regatta. (The name was later changed, says legend, to avoid making swing rowers feel left out. These days CRASH-B stands for Charles River All-Star Has-Beens.)

The first regatta pitted about 20 rowers against each other – not on the water, but on the indoor rowing machines that were their training ponies. It took place in Harvard’s Newell Boathouse, and it was a far cry from the event that has grown in 25 years to include over 2,000 competitors in 32 age and weight divisions and 35 races.

Along the way, it has spawned a new type of competition that has swept the world. Every year, between November and February, there are indoor rowing races in 31 different countries, in every state of the United States – and with the advent of the latest model of the standard ‘vehicle’ of the indoor rowing circuit, international indoor rowing meets held completely over the Internet.

Concept 2 – The Indoor Rowing Machine of Choice

There are no boats in indoor rowing. Instead, racers row on Concept 2 ergometers set up in lanes while their progress is tracked by the on board odometer in each machine. The Concept 2 Model D – the official ‘vehicle’ of the indoor rowing circuit – is even equipped with an onboard unit that uploads speed, pace and results to a computer, which is how the races are officiated.

Each rower fixes his attention on the small screen on his machine that tracks his pace and his position. Seated on a chair behind the racer, his or her personal coxswain calls out his distance, shouts encouragement and helps keep the focus on the race – and the noise and excitement level high. A large screen lets the audience watch the action as tiny, stylized boats sprint across a field of blue toward the finish line so that they can add their cheers and shouts to the hum and drone of 20 or more ergometers racing in place to be the first to reach 2000 meters.

Rowing has long been regarded as one of the best exercises for maintaining full body fitness. As early as 1856, YMCA equipment included machines that simulated the motions of rowing a boat through water. Those rowing machines were little more than stationary ‘boats’ with oars that used pistons, springs or some other method to simulate the resistance of pulling against water. That basic design remained relatively unchanged until 1981, when Concept 2 introduced their ergometer. The ergometer’s revolutionary design used a flywheel to generate wind resistance keyed to how hard the rower was pulling at the oars.

According to rowers, working out on the Concept 2 is about as close as you can get to being on the water without being on the water. In addition, Concept 2 uses a standard calibration, which means that a rower’s results will be the same from machine to machine. This, more than anything else, is what makes competitive indoor rowing possible.

Indoor Rowing Attracts A World of Competitors

Originally designed by rowers for rowers, the Concept 2 rapidly became THE training tool for off-season crew athletes whose rivers were frozen over. At the same time, its design and durability made it the machine most likely to end up on the gym floor in health clubs and gymnasiums around the world. While the first few CRASH-B events featured mostly off-season scullers, it wasn’t long before they were joined by competitive indoor rowers who had never been on the water.

These days, competitive indoor rowing features divisions for just about everyone from 14 year old high school freshmen to 92-year-old great-great-grandmothers. Indoor rowing offers fitness and fun for nearly everyone. Many races include a paraplegic division, and in April, 2005, S. Korea held the first ever Blind-Only Indoor Regatta. Indoor rowing seems to appeal to almost everyone who tries it, with its combination of smooth grace, hard training and fierce competition.

Indoor Rowing Events Worldwide and Right Next Door

Each entrant into an indoor rowing event must report his or her time on an erg for matching purposes. The race entrants are seeded according to their reported time in much the same way that tennis players are seeded to compete against others that match their skills. On race day, each racer will compete in heats against other rowers whose times closely match his own. The races are standardized – 2000 meters – and each race usually takes from five to seven minutes to complete. Each indoor rowing event will have up to 35 races over the course of the day, allowing hundreds of athletes to compete with each other.

In 2005, there were 50 indoor regattas in the United States that attracted over 10,500 rowers. Worldwide, there are 115 indoor rowing regattas in 31 countries. The grand-daddy of all races is the original CRASH-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championships, which attracted 1,934 competitors in 2005.

The Indoor Rowing season begins in November with the BIRC – The British Indoor Rowing held in Birmingham, England. The BIRC boasted over 3,000 entrants in 2005, making it the world’s biggest indoor rowing race, and Britain’s largest mass participation sporting event. Among the races that are held between November and the World Sprints in Boston are 20 official satellite races. The top four finishers in each satellite race qualify for entry in the CRASH-B, along with a free trip to Boston to participate.

But for all its international flavor, competitive indoor rowing is a neighborly activity. Across the country and throughout the world, local health clubs and rowing clubs and university crews hold Indoor Row-a-thons for charity, or sponsor classes for youth and seniors to encourage fitness and socialization. It’s all part of the sport – and fits well with the philosophy of Concept 2’s owners, who encourage the philanthropy by supporting nearly any event of which they’re aware.

Indoor Rowing Records Meet Personal Best

Ask any competitor and they’ll tell you that there’s nothing that compares with indoor rowing as a sport. The closest parallel is marathon running, with the pain and the triumph, the endurance and the satisfaction of setting your own personal best time and finishing the race is at least as important as hanging a shiny medal around your neck. In indoor rowing, you don’t have to win to be a winner. The thrill is in the doing.