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Go for the gold

August 05, 2016

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 2016 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 marathonat 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 Ping-Pong 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. 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.

 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 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.

 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.

“Many people try to do too much when starting an exercise routine,” advises Andrew Purdy, an exercise physiologist with Kettering Weight Loss Solutions, part of Kettering Health Network. “Don’t try and run a marathon your first day. Start with small increases in activity and gradually increase the time, frequency and intensity of your exercise.”

Any movement beats sitting still. 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, and type 2 diabetes.