The summer Olympics are more than entertaining – they are inspiring! After years of dedication and consistent training, athletes pour their hearts and souls into giving each event their all, with plans to take home medals and proving “anything is possible”.
The positive energy is electrifying, the vibe is patriotic and even though competitors’ size, age, and backgrounds vary greatly, they all have a couple of traits in common - determination and dedication. It is truly motivating to watch and makes many want to step up their own fitness games. You can have a lot of fun working out and being in great shape without the pressures of competing for the gold. Here are 5 Olympic-inspired workouts that you can do all year round. Check our your local gym or YMCA/YWCA to see which of these activities are available to you!
1 - Rowing
Rowing can be very therapeutic – the movements are repetitious and the backdrop is serene, making it great for stress relief and mental health. If you can't row outside, you can typically find rowing machines at your local gym. Rowing is actually a full-body workout (not just upper body), and it is low impact- making it great for your joints and muscles. In addition to being heart-healthy, rowing helps you to stabilize your body and build muscle strength.
2 - Cycling
Cycling can be done in the gym on a stationary bike, outside on the road, or even on rough terrains and trails systems – making it one of the most versatile workouts you can do! Studies show that cycling for just 20-30 minutes every other day can help you to fall asleep quicker and to sleep more soundly. In addition to being great for your heart, cycling has been proven to help build new brain cells in the hippocampus, which holds your memories and typically begins to deteriorate at age 30.
3 - Swimming
Swimming is not only fun and relaxing - it is great for your joints and improves flexibility and strength. It also helps to build up endurance and increase circulation, making it great for your heart! There are a number of healthy water-activities you can participate in if you’d rather not swim laps, for example: water yoga, water aerobics, and water running. Whether you are swimming in the ocean, a lake, a pool, or indoors, this is one activity you can keep up all year long.
4 - Volleyball
Volleyball is a great group activity that promotes fun and health! Team sports are shown to increase interpersonal skills and your drive to succeed, which are great qualities to have! Volleyball is excellent for improving eye-hand coordination and for toning and shaping your body. It is also great for your heart and increases your metabolic rate, which will help with other activities you participate in. Look into local indoor or outdoor leagues to make this activity a more regular part of your routine.
Like Volleyball, tennis is great for promoting a social environment and improving mental health. Tennis, is an excellent aerobic activity that lowers body fat, increases muscle tone and strength, and increases your bone density. This sport will lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure – making it great for stress management. Tennis also increases your reaction time, so your reflexes will be faster than ever!