Play games to get healthy

Posted May 28, 2012, at 2:54 p.m.

You are a woman and you don’t exercise as often as you should. What would it take to get you moving? Fun and games!

A new survey from the American Cancer Society found that 40 percent of women would be more physically active if exercise felt less like work and more like play.

“It’s understandable that you’d want your routine to be enjoyable rather than a drag,” says Shannon Wallace Jr., certified personal trainer and owner of 368 Athletics & 368 Bootcamps in Frederick, Md. “The more fun you have while you work out, the more chance there is that you will keep on exercising and reaping all the health benefits from your fitness program.”

If you believe that exercise is synonymous with boredom, think again. Wallace points out that while the words “boot camp” may conjure up images of all work and no fun, it is, in fact, an enjoyable and exciting experience.

“We don’t stick to one boring routine or push participants beyond their physical capabilities, and there is nobody standing over you with a whip!” he points out. “Every day at camp is different and we change exercises every few minutes, so your body doesn’t get used to one routine and stop responding to it.”

And just because the activities feel more like play than back-breaking labor doesn’t mean the workouts are not effective.

“We actually play games, do obstacle courses, circuits and relays to keep participants moving and using different muscle groups,” Wallace notes. “These activities incorporate cardio, strength and balance training, as well as core work – all of which help you lose weight, burn fat, and generally get fitter and healthier – while you play!”

A new study published earlier this month in the journal Cancer Research, suggests that overweight or obese women who lose at least 5 percent of their body weight may lower their risk of developing several types of cancer.

“We know that certain cancers, including those of breast, colon, esophagus, pancreas, gallbladder, and kidney, are linked to obesity,” Wallace notes. “And, of course, it’s no news to anyone that obesity can also lead to other serious medical conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”

He adds that while the above-mentioned study focuses on women, men too are at risk of developing cancer and other diseases linked to obesity and inactivity.

“The bottom line is this: whatever gender you are, get physically active. Choosing a fun exercise program that feels more like play than hard work can help you accomplish your fitness and health goals much quicker and more enjoyably.”

Distributed by MCT Information Services.

 

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