Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Lose weight the fun way with action packed, calorie killing sports & activities

Thrilling sports. High power sports. Rewarding sports.

We all have to be active in life. There’s no shortcut to that. Even if you can lose weight without physical activity that’s not the point. I don’t need to tell you that exercise has a hugely positive impact on your life in many spheres – I’m sure you’ve heard it all before.

Besides the obvious physical benefits of being active, the real jewel is how good sport can make you feel physically and mentally. The highs that you get from it, the confidence it gives you, the glow it puts on your face.

As an avid exerciser I think it is law to find workouts that excite you and that you enjoy. And that you can keep up easily. What’s life without fun? Especially when moving can be so much fun. Think dancing, musical chairs:-)

So in the spirit of seeking fun and excitement, let’s look at some sports that can transport you to a whole new world. Others make you work your butt off but they are still very enjoyable. Especially when you get good at them.

I often wonder what it feels like to do certain physical activities (those I haven’t tried). It’s the feeling and the pleasure of doing those sports that counts, I think. How do you get your dose of adrenalin and endorphins?

Reach for the sky

High energy sports are cool because they are very engaging. They require a lot of your attention, your power. You work hard, but in a good way. You can take a refreshing little trip into exercise-land. Also, vigorous sports have the advantage of using up significant amounts of calories. This makes it easier for you to be able to eat what you want without fear of weight gain.

What’s it like to…
Some of these activities I will talk about from personal experience, and some…not.

Be a ballerina (in the making). This sport is a killer! It takes everything you’ve got, physically. Maybe I wasn’t fit enough but an hour of dancing was always too much. It was always challenging to get through, but it felt good – no marvelous, afterward. You get intensely fit, and have a fantastically well shaped and well toned body. The ultimate dancer’s body. Your arms get surprisingly very strong even without you doing any weights, and they get contoured nicely, but in a subtle way.

Be a Formula 1 driver. I wish! If it’s anything like racing Formula 1 go-karts it must be intense. The word is exhilarating.

But researching on the real driving experience, it seems like this is one EXTREME endurance sport, and a ride puts your body through enormous stresses. One driver describes it as being very painful, and says that it takes a tremendous amount out of you physically, and mentally.

Drivers have to contend with high G-forces pressuring on their bodies for the 90 minutes duration of the race, particularly when rounding corners. Their bodies effectively feel a few times heavier than usual, requiring a great deal of muscular strength to keep themselves up. F1 cars are exceptionally bumpy, missing the cushioning engineered into normal cars. Being powerfully shaken and stirred for 90 minutes can’t be fun. Apparently it is also extremely hot in the cockpit, and drivers have to ride in an uncomfortable posture for the duration of the race. As you can imagine, it takes massive concentration to be ready to react in a split second at that speed.

Drivers get used to all these extreme conditions, so hats off to them. They need to be incredibly fit. And devote a substantial amount of their time to the sport if they want to be good. It’s also not a cheap sport. Either way, it is electrifying to watch.

Dance Latin & ballroom. It is a heady experience. I love dance, and I’m sure it is enjoyable for many people. Depending on your pace, you can get out of breath. It is sexy and has attitude, and Latin American music is delicious. I did it casually once a week for about a year, and it’s been a while. However, it is a sport that can make you glow.

Skip. This activity is favored by boxers. It is murderously taxing, and burns a lot of calories in just 10 minutes! Assuming a goal of 1000, depending on your fitness, at 200 it starts to get heavy. Nonetheless, a very efficient workout!

Hike and mountaineer. This is definitely a rewarding one. Being out in nature is always nice. Depending on where you are, you often see breathtaking views. You’re just in touch with the land. If you take a few days’ trek, especially in a mountainous region, it can be a test of endurance and character to make it to the end of the rope.

A really fun part of hiking is the camping, out in nature, bathing in rivers etc. Camp food always seems good, maybe because you’re grateful for it, being so far from normal comforts.

An inimitable experience is getting to the peak of a remote mountain with a priceless view. The fact that you worked so hard to get there, that you can finally put your backpack down and feel the wind and sun on your face…

Be a Tae-Kwon-do artist. This martial art is one of the deadliest. More than anything, it puts heavy emphasis on fighting with your legs, more than the upper body. I was trained by an excellent, slave driving master who had been trained in the Army. Tae Kwon Do might be nice. Fellow players seem to think so. But our training was so intense and grueling it took the fun out of the sport. You worked so hard you could practically throw up. If you don’t train impossibly hard you might enjoy the sport.

It seems like I’m driving you off TKD but I love it in principle.

The many drills you do – the steps, the kicks, the sparring… are very demanding. You need to be fit for this! It is one of those sports where one session feels like way more than you can do and you are completely spent afterward. Again, if your training is not so hard-core you may not find yourself at this extreme.

A really rewarding thing if you are a girl is having confidence in the lethal power of your legs. Some of those kicks, executed with power and speed, can literally kill people. So you feel the need to be restrained and wise. It is cool not to have to fight because people know you can kick ass.

Be a rock climber. Eeey! This is not for the faint hearted. A lot might depend on how well you are trained, what kind of rocks you climb etc.

My team tended to climb cliff faces that were practically smooth walls. There was nothing to hold on to! It felt absolutely precarious being there, like you’re held on by pure luck. You also have to trust the belayer with your life – physically, literally, which I thought was too much. I did not get far enough to learn how to climb alone and belay myself, and I have full admiration for the people who can do that.

In principle I love to climb and if feels natural, provided the rocks are not impossibly smooth and there’s places you can grip. This is a nice sport.

Be a rower – on water. Wow. This is one intoxicating sport. You also have to be fit for this one. Waking up at ungodly hours of the morning, you feel like a soldier. Getting hands on and preparing the boat yourselves is quite cool. The sea, the beach – these are always nice, as well as other water bodies. Rowing early, before the sun rises, you can get to see the sun rise over the water which can silence you. It’s a holy moment, a stunning one.

Rowing works your body all over, and gives adult girls cellulite-free thighs, which is very, very rare – in any sport. If you go on a long, intense ride you may need to step outside your body and row like an automaton. It gets that heavy, beyond your capacity to handle it, such that you need to leave for a while. But that was one unique, tough experience.

Normal rowing sessions are VERY enjoyable, and you always want to come back for more. You don’t always get dead. The sport works your body so thoroughly that after a session I need to sleep, despite being very, very fit. Rowing is second only to squash in the thrilling department. More on squash below.

Be a horse rider. I’ve been on a horse casually a few times without really any training. It’s a bumpy ride especially when you haven’t got the hang of the rhythm for moving with your horse. But I instinctively know that riding is an amazing sport and workout, and can take you to new heights if you know how to ride.

Researching on real riders, certain themes keep repeating themselves. There is a lot of passion for the sport. Almost everyone talks about the sport being incredibly therapeutic. People describe it as being calming, soothing, elating, refreshing. It is a wonderful antidepressant. It is an escape from all troubles and you can lose yourself in it completely. If you want time for reflection, it is best to ride alone. One rider describes the time away on a horse as meditation, which is exactly how I feel about my workout time.

It also seems to be an enviable feeling galloping across a field with the wind blowing in your hair, or jumping. More common words about riding are freedom, happiness, addiction, religion. Now that’s what a sport should be like!

An extremely enjoyable aspect is bonding with this powerful, majestic animal. Getting a partnership and learning to move as one.

Physically, this sport works you hard, providing you’re riding and not just out for a stroll on horseback. Riding seems to work your arms and legs, butt, back and abs – and who knows what other muscles. It’s good for your posture and flexibility. You also get extra workout from the physical labor you need to do to take care of your horse.

One rider reports that she always loses extra weight when getting back into riding after having taken a break from it. Now these first hand accounts of what a sport actually does for you are what really tells the story, better than official, scientific data on which sport burns the most calories…

Be a basketball player. This sport is intense. Visiting basketball after donkey years not playing it, it also makes you pant profusely, and you get tired very quickly. This was at a time when I was at peak fitness from doing other activities. You’ve gotta respect the sport.

Researching on basketball players’ feelings about it, passion comes up. Enthusiasts seem to love it and live it. It can really up your confidence, and it’s a fantastic, social skill to have.

Be a skier. Wow, I have always wanted to try this. It is one of those that work your body from head to toe, so I read. Those are especially beneficial.

What’s cool about it? The thrill of the speed and the primal fun of playing outside with snow in the crisp air. You get an adrenalin rush. Cross country skiing especially seems to be a rigorous cardio workout, and kills lots of calories. Between cross country and downhill skiing, you get to work out your thighs, butt, calves, arms, abs and feet. You also improve flexibility and balance.

A friend once told me that his dad came back with huge leg muscles after a holiday of skiing. This sport seems to be very effective at toning you.

Be a swimmer. I swim occasionally, and casually. Even when you are generally fit, you need swimming fitness in particular to cope. Swimming after a long time, I breathe like a fish out of water, profusely, like I’ve never breathed before (yay, oxygen is the bomb). It can be a joy playing in the water.

I also remember swimming a lot when younger and losing weight because of it. Other swimmers seem to concur that swimming can tone and shrink you. This is noteworthy because most sports and physical activity serve to maintain my weight in general. Two activities that really shed weight in my experience are squash, and running stairs outdoors with plenty of fresh air. More on squash below.

Be a surfer. I’ve always envied this sport from afar. Sports where you play with the elements are usually awesome. Surfers seem to get addicted to the sport.

People describe it as…indescribable. It is magic sliding on water, you could feel like you’re flying. It’s a fleeting experience but a delicious one, you want to go back for more. It’s a rush! The time in the water is peaceful and calming, it’s a time away from it all.

Words that keep coming up describing this sport: fun, joy, amazing, thrilling, awesome.

Physically, surfers have great bodies! You work hard on those waves. You work your upper body and arms while paddling, and leg muscles for guiding your board when riding. It’s a formidable cardio workout and gives you endurance.

I wanna be a surfer.

Be a squash player. I’ve saved the best for last, as this is my favorite sport so far. This low-profile sport is addictive. It is truly exhilarating, and is seconded by rowing and dancing in my opinion. You just play around and have fun and the next thing you know you have a great body.

Squash puts me in touch with my primal self, I feel very natural, as if I am my true self. It brings out the kid in me. It is just play and joy.

The point of this discussion is to take a peek at where different sports take you. How they make you feel as a person. We’re seeking the highs in physical activity. Sport is therapy and pleasure.

Squash to my surprise, can drastically drop your weight. Most sports and activities, even vigorous ones, tend to merely maintain weight.

You can find out more about the ins and outs of squash, how to play, exactly where it can take you, plus lots of general tips on exercise, stretching, breathing, as well as eating and drinking healthily, in the e-book “How to teach yourself squash, lose weight, and get a spring in your step.”

© Sebueng Lebona

Please click here to go and buy the book

No comments:

Post a Comment