Go for the gold – Find fitness inspiration in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games

Go for the gold – Find fitness inspiration in the Summer Olympic Games

Looking for ways to add more fun to your fitness routine? Turn your eyes to Rio de Janeiro!

That’s the site of the Summer Olympics-and a source of some energizing exercise ideas.

As you cheer the elite athletes on to victory, consider giving these Olympic-inspired activities a try yourself:

Think boxing (an Olympic event) with a kick. Kickboxing is a popular fitness trend. This feisty whole-body workout blends aerobics with boxing- and martial arts-based jabs and kicks.

Walk a marathon-at your pace. Maybe you’re not ready to run a real marathon. But don’t let that stop you from crossing the finish line like the athletes in track-and-field events. Make it your goal to walk 26.2 miles (the length of a marathon race) over the course of several months.

Try table tennis. This fast-paced calorie-burner became an Olympic sport in 1988. Dust off that basement table tennis table. Or head to the nearest recreation center.

Give golf a go. Golf returns to the Olympics this summer after being banished from the game roster for more than 100 years. Consider adding it to your active lineup too. Be sure to walk the course to maximize movement.

Row like a pro. No boat needed for these Olympic-style cardio moves. Just hit the rowing machine at the gym. Sign up for a group class to multiply the fun.

Pedal your heart out. Olympic cyclists pedal for medal in road, mountain, track and other bike races. To get your heart racing, grab a helmet, hop on your bike and ride to glory (and good health).

Form a team. Many Olympic sports can be fun for the whole family. Try playing volleyball, badminton or soccer in your backyard. Shoot some hoops in your driveway. Or pack up the kids and tennis rackets and hit some balls at a nearby court.

Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American Council on Exercise; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; International Olympic Committee; National Institutes of Health

A worthwhile-and doable-training schedule

It takes a lot of time and training to be an Olympic athlete. You don’t have to mimic those efforts, however, to be fit.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity-like brisk walking or tennis-every week. And do muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, on two or more days a week.

Any movement beats sitting still. But you will gain the most health benefits if you exercise regularly. Staying active could help lift your spirits, trim your waist and lower your risk of:

• Heart disease.

• Stroke.

• Type 2 diabetes.

• Some cancers, including colon cancer.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 Olympic trivia

• The ancient Olympic Games began in Greece about 3,000 years ago. They were originally held over one day. The games were suspended in 393 AD. The modern games were revived in 1896.

• The Olympic torch, which symbolizes friendship and peace, will travel this year across Brazil-mainly by foot-for nearly 100 days.

• More than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries are expected to be in Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympic Games. Four regions of the city will be home to 32 competition venues.

• Some of the things organizers are expecting to need for the games: 25,000 tennis balls, 8,400 shuttlecocks (for badminton), 60,000 clothes hangers and 34,000 beds.

• During 17 days of competition, 306 medal events will take place-136 for women, 161 for men and 9 mixed.

Sources: International Olympic Committee; Rio 2016

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