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Have Fun Getting Healthy

By Sheryl Kraft

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Are you tired of hearing the pleas to get out there and exercise for your health? Yeah, I know. While I happen to be one of those people who actually likes going to a gym, I know so many people who say that's boring, tedious, mind-numbing work.

Lest you take me for a total hero, there are plenty of days when I do have to push myself to go. I'm not always rah-rah … but I get through (usually) by reminding myself I'll leave there feeling much better than when I walked in.

Just because it might be tough to get out there and invade the gym, that doesn't give you license to play couch potato. Or, if it's too late and you're already playing couch potato, how about getting up the next time Dancing With the Stars is on and joining in?

Dancing, studies show, has many advantages for your body and mind. Step by step, here's what dancing can do for you:

  • Shed pounds
  • Strengthen your bones
  • Increase your aerobic fitness and flexibility
  • Increase your muscular strength
  • Improve your muscle tone, balance and endurance
  • Improve cardiovascular condition
  • Protect against dementia
  • Reduce stress and depression
  • Increase energy
  • Strengthen your immune system

Think about it: have you ever seen anyone frowning while dancing?

While visiting the award-winning spa last week, I got in touch with my inner child by immersing myself in the various dance classes they offered. Dancing brought back that long-forgotten joy I experienced years ago by letting loose and allowing my feet and rhythm guide me.

With the myriad and countless choices at The Ranch, I was reminded that there is way more than just the gym to get fit and feel good. "Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls," said American mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, in a very fitting quote that is posted on the spa's website.

Do something you love while getting fit. Have fun! Play volleyball or other team sport. Splash in the pool, settle down on a yoga mat and stretch your body. Pick up a tennis racket or even a hula hoop; go for a hike or tour your own city; take on tai chi; beat a drum; pick up some weights; hop on a bike; get dirty in your garden or challenge yourself to a half-marathon. Even the drudgery of housework can be a workout if you put on your sneakers and turn up some energizing music while you vacuum and scrub!

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Comments

If someone came up with a motivation and discipline pill? It would be a hit!

Boy, you really do travel around, Sheryl. I know, I know I have to get more exercise. And I do love dancing so maybe I'll check out what is local for me. Thanks for the inspiration.

I love to dance and still try to find the time (and space) to do it on a regular basis. However, today I'm off to the gym. Maybe a little two step there? Ha!

I am not big on exercise but I believe if you can make it fun it is an easier pill to swallow!

I have Just Dance 2014 and Just Dance 2015. It's my go-to exercise (most of the time) when the weather doesn't allow me to take my dogs on regular walks. At least that's the plan. Sometimes I just dance around for the heck of it (and freak my dogs out). But it's movement, and that's what counts!

I wish I loved - or even liked! - the gym. I do love playing tennis and I love doing Jazzercise and Zumba, both of which I should get back to! Thanks for reminding me that they're fun!

Who doesn't love to dance? I'm a crap dancer, but I admit to dancing around in the privacy of my own home when Happy comes on.

I do yoga, pilates, and try to do a little walking....but my favorite is scuba diving! I wish I could do it every day!

I never was very good at dancing. My feet get tangled trying to do a simple grapevine in aerobics classes. But, I used to love playing tennis. It would be great fun for me to get back out on the courts! It is much easier to exercise when I'm doing something fun!

It's all much easier in the summer for me. I enjoy walking, swimming, and kayaking outside. In the winter, I have to force myself to get exercise.

Thanks for this reminder. I haven't been dancing enough of late.

Yeah, I'm with Brette. I tend to do better when the weather warms up, but I do have a border collie puppy in the house now, so we run around a LOT. That's pretty fun. Not formal exercise per se, but I definitely sit around less with her around.

So true - getting and staying healthy doesn't have to be drudgery! Especially with warmer weather approaching, like the others said.

The having-fun part is really, truly the key.

Also, having friends to exercise with makes a big difference. My good friend Betsy and I have a standing date for our Sunday morning walk -- and it's become a tradition we both love.

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