The time has come once again. That glorious moment when we put away our coats and pull out the shorts and bathing suits for the season. But as much as we love the beautiful weather, unfortunately for most the wardrobe swap comes with the dreaded feeling of “Time to get fit.”
The word “fitness” has become a scary one for us because we’ve let society take over. Images of diets, workout plans, body image, six-pack this, and toned butt that become so overwhelming that all that’s left is the feeling that we won’t ever actually be fit.
Realistically though a definition of fitness is comprised of a few more complicated components. I’m talking about cardio stamina, body composition, flexibility and muscle strength and endurance. More simply put, fitness is a means to gauge our body’s function. Notice the word “Beach Bod” isn’t mentioned.
So now the question becomes: what makes us fit?
Growing up, healthy-living advisers would always stress “young children should perform an hour of physical activity daily”. Between recess, allotted gym classes and after school shenanigans it’s almost inevitable this quota is met. However, the general tomfooleries passed off as “physical activity” for a child doesn’t necessarily translate for us mature adults who’ve grown out of running to the slide every chance we get.
Whether it’s in the mini stick wars during grade-school recess or the semi-competitive softball beer league we all inevitably join. For many of us, sports remain constant throughout our life.
But is sport really a means for obtaining fitness? Yes, absolutely! But it is only one tool in our repertoire. Fitness is an internal struggle, which comes from “defining your expectations” and “setting realistic goals”. If you’re trying to acquire that ultimate physique where you can gladly brag of your 6% body fat and can’t help but stare at yourself in the mirror, sports alone likely won’t get you there. However, if you come to the realization that your “dad bod” is a bit more gut then muscle, leaning on sports for some regular exercise can be your saving grace.
To get the most health and fitness benefit by playing sports, just work on the following:
1. Do something you enjoy
Regular moderate physical activity produces better results than infrequent, more intense exercise. And the best way to ensure consistency is to pick something you enjoy. Staying on track involves looking forward to your desired activity rather than seeing it as a chore you have to do. Playing your favourite sport for regular exercise is sure to keep that sweat dripping!
2. Use your sport as motivation for other healthy choices
Nothing like getting beat by an opponent to a loose soccer ball or missed would-have-been-spectacular leaping softball catch by an inch to motivate you to get stronger, faster, and fitter. Once regular physical activity becomes a part of your routine, a healthier life-style takes higher priority. Playing sports regularly may turn into exploring a regular trip to the gym.
3. Join a new sport with friends
Its human nature that we are resistant in adapting to the uncertainty of “change”, but no one said you have to do it alone! Including a friend in your healthier lifestyle will help keep you motivated. If joining up in a Sport and Social Club league peaks your interest, it’s always more fun to have a familiar face tag alone, rather than face the daunting task of being the lone ranger.
Fitness goals vary from person to person, but if you’re looking to add more exercise to your lifestyle, sports are the most social, fun and effective way to do it! And remember, you only need an hour a day!
~Written by Matthew Rupoli