The Summer Olympics are here. Its time for team spirit, individual determination, amazing feats of athleticism, and for most of us, hours logged in front of the television. Since traveling to Beijing probably isnt on the agenda, we get into the Olympic spirit by cheering on the athletes from our living room sofas. And who knows? Maybe watching the best athletes in the world compete in every sport imaginable will inspire us to improve our own levels of physical fitness.
What type of Olympic-style fitness suits you? Taking into account that nobody expects you to complete three and a half revolutions off the diving board tomorrow, there may be some fitness activities available to you that mirror the Olympic sports broadcast this summer. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett offers suggestions for fans of these Olympic sports.
Rowing Using muscles of the arms, legs, and abdomen, rowing also offers benefit to your heart and lungs. A major benefit of rowing is that it places little to no strain on your lower back which is a major concern for many people. Before you don your wetsuit, however, make a trip to the local gym. Try a rowing machine for a couple of months. See if this form of exercise is something that fits your needs. If so, consider a rowing machine for your home, or brave the waters under the tutelage of a local rowing coach.
Gymnastics Sure, you dont plan to somersault off the balance beam anytime soon, but who says gymnastics has to involve flips in the air? Improve your balance by walking across a low balance beam in your local park. Improve your core stability with some Pilates-based exercises.
Track & Field Sprinting or jumping hurdles may not be on your agenda this week. Even so, there are exercises regularly performed by track and field athletes that can easily become part of your fitness routine. Take the standing lunge, this exercise develops your muscular strength, endurance, and coordination. Youll work almost all of your major leg muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors. Try three sets of ten on each leg. Once youve mastered that, then try upping your reps or use a step for added intensity.
Synchronized Swimming It looks like one of the most effortless sports in the Olympic Games, but its far from easy. Synchronized swimmers use an incredible amount of strength, endurance, and flexibility, not to mention the breath control. To gain some of these skills yourself, you dont even have to hop in the pool. Try a yoga class instead. Yoga poses will take your body into new places of strength and flexibility, and yoga is based upon the coordination between movement and breath.
Team Sports Revisit your school years by getting involved in a team sport. Form your own “dream team” with co-workers or sign-up at a community center. Volleyball is a great sport emphasizing technique, bodily control, flexibility, and agility. If you want more of a cardio workout, try tennis or soccer. All of the running will keep your heart rate up.