The fitness industry is booming.
Over the last 5-10 years we’ve seen a huge culture change. It’s now “cool” and “in fashion” to walk around in gym attire and post 100s of selfies on instagram of ourselves at the gym.
By no means is this a bad thing, getting more people healthy is great.
The problem is this:
The majority of people are over-looking their overall health for aesthetics.
The aim for most is to look better and not exactly become healthier.
There is a difference.
I know people who can press 120kg on the bench press but can barely run up a set of stairs without being out of breath.
My old physical education teacher used to always ask us this:
“Are you fit?” and the correct answer was always “Fit for what?”
A powerlifter is fit for lifting big weights but he isn’t fit for a marathon.
We have to look at the overall picture when it comes to the average joe.
The average joe isn’t likely to become an elite athlete in powerlifting, running, bodybuilding etc. So we must look at the overall health. Fit for life, fit for daily activity, fit for a jog, fit for a weights session. We must become fit in as many areas as possible to become as healthy as possible.
What I’m getting at is this, gym goers need to become aware of their cardiovascular health as well as the size of their muscles.
People also need to become mentally fit by doing activities that stimulate this. We can look better and become fitter, we don’t have to sacrifice everything for aesthetics.
Let’s also not forget the importance of nutrition along with activity. Your nutrition should be a priority. I’ll cover nutrition in another article but ensure you’re eating a diet full of wholesome foods, consume whey protein supplements post workout if needed, drink lots of water and keep your calories in check. Flexible dieting is a great way to bring balance to your diet.
Let’s take a look at 5 activities that can benefit us physically and mentally (that are not weights or jogging).
Most people don’t think of table tennis as an activity that can drastically improve their health.
How wrong they are.
Not only has playing table tennis been associated with improving diseases like dementia in elderly people but it also enhances cognitive functions like no other sport.
Playing table tennis has also been shown to decrease obesity when placed in schools and/or organisations..
The game can be played by anyone of any age and it requires hand eye co-ordionation, footwork, cardiovascular, intense focus, strategy and more.
A study shows that playing table tennis for 30 minutes a day can not only improve your fitness but it makes you a better strategic thinker. This is key for anyone as developing your strategic part of the brain can lead to several health and career benefits.
Some other benefits;
- Improved sleep patterns
- Increased cerebral blood flow
- Better co-ordination and upper body strength
- Improved balance which builds confidence and reduces falls
Next time you’re thinking of going for a solo jog during the summer, get the family around for a session of table tennis. Everyone benefits, you burn calories, stimulate the brain and improve your overall health.
Probably not what you expected to see on the list but playing billiards and having a pint has actually been shown to improve the quality of life in elderly men.
I’m not saying you NEED to drink a pint and play billiards, the study may be correlating the social aspect of playing and the impact it has.
Getting out of the gym and having a game on the pool table also burns calories along as as improving strategic thinking of the brain.
Mixing up your activities is a great way to develop overall health and playing pool is a great way of mixing it up. Play a few games a week with your friends and see what impact it has on you in a few months.
Video games, really? Is playing video games even considered an activity?
Many studies have been done on the active gamers, the people who play the Wii for example of Xbox Kinect.
The studies showed that not only did they burn 150 calories per hour but the mental stimuli was huge.
After all, having fun and doing activity is the best way to get fit.
Furthermore, a study conducted on trainee surgeons showed that the surgeons who played 60 minutes of video games performed 42% better than those who didn’t.
Video gaming has been looked down upon over the last 5 years but it’s a great tool to add to improve your overall health.
Some other benefits of video gaming:
You’ll make accurate decisions 25% faster
A driving game improved memory, focus, and multitasking.
Video games encourage physical activity
Video games improve vision
Kids who play sports games are more likely to then go play the real sport
Some notable gamers are:
- Phil Health (5x Mr Olympia)
- Jeff Seid (IFBB Pro, Men’s Physique)
- Usain Bolt (100m World Record Holder)
- Wayne Rooney (Professional Football Player)
- Leigh Halfpenny (Professional Rugby Player, Wales)
You get the idea. The elites utilise video gaming and it definitely positively impacts on their overall health.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
If you’re deep into the fitness industry you’ve definitely read an article on why HIIT is superior to low intensity cardio, aka jogging.
HIIT only requires 15 minutes of your time but maximal effort.
You burn more calories, your body utilises the free roaming fatty acids in your bloodstream and your metabolism is elevated for hours and sometimes days after a hard hitting HIIT session.
Doing HIIT also saved time. 60 minutes of jogging versus 15 minutes of sprints.
Sprints hurts more but jogging is very tedious and people stop going to the gym due to the boring nature of cardio. Save ¾ of your time and get better results with HIIT. You can do it inside or outside the gym.
I hope you’ve taken some advice from this article.
Mix up your activities to become and overall healthier person.
Don’t become fit in one area and sacrifice other areas of your life.
Comment below if you’ve done any of the 5 above activities.
Would love to know if you’ve benefited from them or if you have any other activities that don’t include weights that have improved your health.