Rejuvenate Your Love of Exercise With These Tools

Get moving (and have fun!) with the help of these exercise tools.

Rejuvenate Your Love of Exercise With These Tools

Exercise of any kind should be fun. After all, it’s basically playing. But it doesn’t strike a lot of folks like that. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports only about 22 percent of Americans meet even the minimal physical activity guidelines for aerobic and strength-building activities! And the less you get up and move around, the harder it is to feel like doing it—or even to be able to do it—in a way that feels satisfying.

That’s why we’re so enthusiastic about some cool tools that will make it a whole lot easier for you to start—and continue—to add at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day to your routine. The benefits are enormous: You can dramatically reduce your risk for diabetes, cancer, a lousy sex life and depression.

We got to thinking about all of this because of a new study out of Switzerland featured in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine that found that for out-of-shape, overweight participants, using a pedal assist e-bike at least three days a week to commute to work provided as much improvement in cardiorespiratory function as a regular bike!

Just think of how much more confidence you might have setting out on a bike, knowing that if the going gets too tough, the bike will help you keep going. We’re not talking about motorized bike/scooters that propel food delivery guys at 30 miles an hour through busy urban centers. We’re talking about pedal-assist technology that requires you to move the pedals, but after you set the level of assist, the motor helps them turn and keeps your momentum going uphill or when you’re tired.

If biking appeals but sounds daunting, this may be the way to get you out the door. Just remember—wear a helmet, get padded-crotch bike shorts and an ergonomically designed seat, and take a water bottle with you on every ride.

More of a hiker or walker—in theory?
If you’d rather set out for a walk in the park or in a local forest preserve, but find you tire too easily or your joints get too sore to cover much ground, walking poles can transform your experience. Make sure to check out tips for optimizing your walking techniques on Sharecare.com.

Walking poles are made to assist on both soft and hard walking surfaces. With so-called Nordic walking poles, there are three strides you can do: Nordic walking, exerstriding (both more vigorous) and hiking (adds stability). You’ll want to choose a grip that suits your activity. Make sure it lets you hold the pole with a positive angle to avoid stress and overuse of the wrist joint. You want different grip designs for fitness walking and for hiking and a half-glove for fitness walking and a simpler strap for trekking.

Your assisted walk will burn more calories than walking without poles and they’ll help you take weight off your joints, maintain your balance and increase your endurance. One study found going downhill they can cut pressure on knees by up to 25 percent and on flat ground by 5 percent. So grab a pedometer and aim for a goal of reaching 10,000 steps daily over time.

Pool player?
If you want to get your exercise in water (so good for sore joints!) but don’t yet have the stamina you wish you had, then you’re in the market for these great tools. They can help strengthen and tone muscles and improve your cardiorespiratory health.

  • Fins: Flippers increase your propulsion and help improve ankle flexibility.
  • Hand paddles: These can strengthen your stroke, and if one arm or hand is weaker than the other, use a paddle on your weaker hand to help balance your stroke.
  • Kickboard: They are very effective in building leg strength, without worrying about breathing with your face in the water. You can go as slow or fast as comfortable.

With these tools, you can revamp your exercise routine. Keep track of your activity with the Sharecare app for iOS and Android.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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