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Playground Equipment Blog
Friday, January 18, 2019

Making a Hobby of Your Health

Next week is National Healthy Weight Week, which conveniently falls within January, which is
National Hobby Month. Those two things may seem completely unrelated to some, but any health expert will tell you that they actually have to go together.

This is an important point because, too often, we associate getting healthy with getting skinny, and getting skinny with short-term, reckless diets.

If you really want to trim inches from your waist or just get up the stairs without having to catch your breath, the best way to do that is by making a hobby out of healthy living practices. This isn’t a single, short-term life change but a whole revolution in how you approach your diet, your fitness, and your life. By making a hobby of your health, you transform a seemingly impossible and much dreaded task into a fun challenge you look forward to every day.

Your Diet Hobby

Many of us have a bias when we think about eating healthy. We conjure in our minds all the disgusting veggies our parents made us eat as children. Or else, we think about those abortive efforts earlier when we fixed salads for dinner and went to bed hungry every night.

But eating healthy doesn’t have to be unpleasant or a chore. In fact, it can be an adventure. Have you ever pondered taking a cooking course? Eating healthy can be as much fun as any Italian cooking class you might take.

Challenge yourself to find recipes that are tasty and filling without requiring unhealthy ingredients and cooking practices. There are plenty of great guides that show the parameters for a healthy meal and healthy diet. Take it as a creative challenge and find ways to make your favorite meals in a way that meets those limits.

If you need some help, there are tons of cook books focused on healthier diets out there and also more healthy recipe sites than you can imagine. Browse a few and introduce a “healthy dinner night” to your household. You can start once a month and expand from there once you’ve found a few recipes you like enough to cook over and over again.

Your Exercise Hobby

If there’s anything that keeps us from pursuing healthier lives, it’s exercise. The concept itself feels like such a burden. We’re already tired (more on that in a bit); we’re already busy. Who wants to take time away from our rare and limited free time to run five miles in the cold at 5 a.m.?

Here’s the thing, though: exercise doesn’t have to be a bore, a chore, or a burden. It can be fun. Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted to do was get outside and run around? That running around, that play, was exercise. The problem you may have is not a hatred of exercise but a lack of play in your life.

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in some video games and TV binging sometimes, but you may find you feel better and have even more fun turning off the screen and getting outside to play.

But isn’t that ridiculous? Adults playing kickball and tag on the playground, you just don’t see that, right? It’s not actually as ridiculous as it sounds. In fact, play is a highly recommended way to get into shape. To begin with, there are plenty of adult sports leagues for people of every level of experience, skill, and fitness. Did you love shooting hoops as a kid? Find an adult team in your community and get back to it. Miss the days when you could play soccer every weekend? Go find a team. You’ll be surprised how many indoor and outdoor adult sport activities are available. You can even find kickball leagues without much looking at all.

The same goes for playgrounds. While you shouldn’t be pushing kids off their swings and getting stuck on their slides, a lot of parks are now offering adult fitness equipment that you’ll be surprised to find out is basically kids’ equipment built for our bigger, adult selves. You can swing across the monkey bars, climb ladders, and spin a ship’s wheel like a real sea captain, all while getting healthier and stronger.

This is why you want to make exercise a hobby instead of a routine. Hobbies are fun, and exercise can be fun. Once getting in shape feels like fun, you won’t have to force yourself to do it. You’ll look forward to it.

Your Sleep Hobby

Any overworked, exhausted person out there is going to love this one. Make a note to remind yourself: you deserve and you need more sleep.

Common sense and experience tell you that more sleep means more productivity at work and in your personal life, but health experts have also long known that overall body and mind health has to incorporate sufficient sleep. Not getting enough sleep can mean more appetite, which leads to more weight gain.

Unfortunately, more than a third of us are sleep deprived. That’s not just making us hungrier, it’s also sapping us of the energy we need to get to that exercise that we require and to find the creativity for some of that healthy cooking.

Of course, when you’re tired you can feel like it’s hopeless to get back to getting enough sleep. Thankfully, there are some great sleep improvement tips out there.

Try, for instance, setting a stricter sleep schedule so you don’t stay up later than you should. You can also cut back on foods and drinks (and smoking) which keep you awake. Introducing a relaxing bedtime routine can also work wonders.

Your Stress-Free Hobby

If you can say anything about modern adults, it’s that we’re stressed. We work a lot. We don’t get paid enough. We have a lot of bills. And our brains never turn off thanks to 24/7 technology at our fingertips.

You know you’re stressed.—you don’t need us to tell you that—but you may not know that stress has a lot to do with how overweight and unhealthy you are.

So, if you want to lose some weight and feel better, you need to address your stress issues. Unfortunately, we can’t recommend you just up and quit your job and become a yoga guru (unless that’s really already up your alley), but there are plenty of ways to reduce stress in healthy and fun ways.

Here’s a bonus at the outset: just picking up the other hobbies on this list will already work wonders to reduce your stress. Eating healthy, working out, and sleeping more can put a serious dent in your stress levels.

That doesn’t mean you won’t ever have to deal with stress. Some parts of life are just stressful. Being a parent of young kids is stressful. Work can be stressful. Difficult family relationships can be stressful. Bills, debts, and other financial obligations are stressful.

In short, you’re going to feel stressed sometimes, even if you work out, sleep, and eat right. However, there are still a lot of ways to reduce even that unavoidable stress. Consider taking up meditation or getting into yoga (guru or not). You could also start journaling (getting out stressful thoughts is really helpful) or leaning into some quiet relaxation time. Put on quiet music (or enjoy the silence), light a candle, and just relax in a comfy chair or bath.

You can also cut out some high-stressor elements in your life like caffeine and smoking.

If you combine all these fun and healthy hobbies, you’ll find, perhaps much to your surprise, that your healthy weight becomes a far more achievable goal.

The key to all of these is that being healthy doesn’t have to feel like you’re taking on a new job. Being healthy can be fun. It can be a hobby. If you look at it the right way and follow the right strategies, you’ll be looking better, feeling healthier, and enjoying slimming down before you know it.
Written by: Ben Thompson

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