Fitness: Choosing Activities That Are Right for You
When you're active, life can be better. But it can be hard to get into the habit of daily activity. It's important to find activities that fit your lifestyle and your personality.
Answering the questions below may help you figure out what activities would be best for you.
- Do you prefer to be active by yourself or with others?
Joining a group or a class can help keep you motivated. But some people are more likely to stay with an activity or exercise if they do it alone.
- Do you like to be outdoors when possible, or do you feel safer and more confident indoors?
Many people love being outside. But you may not like it when the weather is too hot, too cold, or too wet. Or you may be uncomfortable being alone outdoors away from home. If you're mostly an indoor person, keep that in mind when you choose an activity.
- Do you prefer activities that involve some contact (soccer, basketball) or no contact?
Choose swimming over basketball, for example, if you don't like the idea of contact sports.
- Do you prefer to compete with others, compete with yourself, or not compete at all?
Some people do better if they have someone to compete with—even if that someone is themselves. Others do better when there's no competition to worry about. For example, choose gardening or dancing over team sports or tennis if you don't like competition.
- Do you like a mental challenge, or would you rather not have to think or concentrate while you are being active?
Many team sports exercise your brain as well as your body as you think about what your next move should be. Riding a bike requires you to pay close attention to your surroundings and where you're headed. If you'd rather shut off your brain and let your body do the work, try doing housework set to music. Or rake leaves, or go for a walk or a jog.
- Do you prefer to be active in the morning, midday, or evening?
We all have different body clocks that make us more energetic at certain parts of the day. And our schedules often are the key to when we can take the time to exercise and when we can't. Which part of the day is best for you? The better you plan your activity times to match your energy levels and your daily schedule, the more likely you are to keep up your healthy activity habits.
- Are you interested in taking classes or getting instruction to learn a new activity?
You may not know how much you'll enjoy a certain activity until you become familiar with it. A class or other type of lesson can help you find out. If you don't want to join a class, choose something you can learn or do on your own.
- Do you prefer everyday activities, such as gardening, to more structured activities?
Many people find that everyday activities are easier to keep doing. Other people are more likely to stay with an activity if it requires them to show up for a class or for a game.
- How much money are you willing to spend on gear or other expenses related to an activity?
There are activities to match every budget. You can walk around your neighborhood without spending any money. Try online video exercises. Or download a free app on your smartphone. You may be able to join a community yoga or tai chi class for a small fee.