November 13, 2012

Exercising Options (Part 4)

Okay, so many, many exercise options exist in the world today. Thus far I’ve lauded the benefits of running, jogging, walking, cycling, and swimming. In this final post about exercising, I thought I’d discuss some of the less traditional options. As anyone can see, the main patterns in the benefits of exercising are that it improves cardiovascular health and the immune system, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, builds up the digestive system and raises metabolism, helps lose and maintain weight, and improves mental and emotional health. All I am going to discuss today also do these.

1. Outdoor activities

If the traditional modes of exercise do not appeal to you because you prefer the great outdoors, then look no further for some alternative options. First, and probably most obvious, is hiking. Hiking is more than just walking. You seriously works out all the muscles of your body. When hiking, you will go up and down hills, have to climb over rocks and downed trees, have to navigate crossing waters, and traverse complicated terrain. It’s well worth the effort because the feeling at the end of a good hike leaves you in a state of bliss.

Another outdoor activity is climbing. Rock or mountain climbing is a hard task, but definitely worth the time for those who dedicate to it. It is not easy as you must have the right gear and training in order to protect yourself. Rock or mountain climbing takes skill.

Then there are the water exercises like kayaking, rowing,  and such. Like climbing, these require the proper equipment and training to do it efficiently. Once you have both of these, though, water activities contribute to muscle building, toning, and weight loss in pretty dramatic ways.

Even fishing and hunting can work up a sweat if done correctly.

I’m sure I’m missing some other outdoor activities, but this is a solid start for interested parties.

2. Classes

So many exercise class options are out there. You can take Zumba, a form of dance and aerobics, yoga, Pilates, step, aerobics, spin, and oh so many more. What these classes do vary from stretching to dancing to simply cardio. What they also do is create a community amongst participants. For many, this helps them to stay committed and focused on the exercise. Local gyms, colleges, and YMCAs have plenty of class options, so check those out.

3. Weight Training

Though cardio workouts like what have been previously discussed are of super importance to health, you should also consider weight training especially if you want to build muscle. Without weight training, it is very hard to build muscle because the above and previously discussed exercises really focus more on toning.

When weight training, you can practice with free weights or with a weight machine. Both have their advantages, but I prefer free weights. They are just more natural. With this exercise, be sure to know your limits. Showing off will only cause damage.

4. Sports

Now, obviously, when people participate in sports, they are exercising. For those of us who are not pro, many clubs and leagues exist all around us. If softball is your thing, look for a local adult league. If you prefer soccer, I promise there’s a league close to home. Intramural athletics happen all over place at schools, gyms, YMCAs, and even just in our communities. Look into it.


For four posts, I have dedicated the discussion to exercising options. I didn’t use sexy titles or ideas to convince you, my dear readers, to exercise. I just wanted to give you options, perhaps some you had never before considered. Exercise is crucial to our physical, mental, and emotional health. We all deserve to be as healthy as possible. I hope one of these posts helps you to find your type of exercise.

Image Credit: wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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