Exercising with others can make physical activity more fun and help you stay motivated – and when you’re feeling motivated, you’re more likely to stick to your fitness goals! Plus, being active and socializing are both activities that help keep your brain healthy. So why not combine them to enjoy double the benefits?
“Exercising with a group really made a difference for me,” says Diane, a 62-year-old retiree. Diane had been trying to get back into shape for a few years. She started doing yoga by following along with videos at home. She also made a commitment to walk 30 minutes every day and go to the municipal pool twice a week.
Although she had a solid plan and the right mindset, it was hard to stay consistent with her new routine. “I couldn’t keep myself motivated, so I eventually gave up,” says Diane. “Then I joined a walking club, and that’s what finally worked for me!”
So, what made the difference? The social aspect. “Being active isn’t a chore anymore. I actually look forward to it. I’m always excited to see my new friends and catch up. We have a lot of fun together!”
Other people’s company can provide a great boost of motivation and perseverance. It’s a lot easier to leave the comfort of your own home when you have a scheduled class or workout session to go to, especially if it’s something that you enjoy. Science has also shown that socializing stimulates the brain, which helps protect it from cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Feeling inspired? Check out these suggestions!
Walking clubs for all levels and interests
Walking has never been more popular. In fact, there are dozens of walking clubs across Quebec! These clubs are free or low-cost to join and cater to a variety of activity levels and interests, from beginners looking to take a stroll through their neighbourhood to seasoned hikers ready to summit their next peak. What these groups all have in common is a sense of camaraderie that promotes motivation and exploration. To find a walking club near you or learn more about this activity, visit the Meetup or Parks Canada websites.
Yoga, danse, and other outdoor activities in parks
Parks and other public spaces can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Your local park is the perfect spot for a picnic, a gathering with family or friends, or recreational or sports activities. In addition, municipalities, organizations, and leisure clubs often organize outdoor activities in these spaces, including running clubs, yoga, and dance classes, led by qualified instructors. Some municipalities even host free dance parties.
Pickelball: tennis for everyone
Pickleball has become very popular in recent years. This racquet sport is a bit like a scaled-down version of tennis, with elements borrowed from badminton and Ping-Pong. It’s played on a smaller court than in tennis, which means there’s less ground to cover, and players use small, lightweight paddles that are closer in size to badminton and Ping-Pong equipment. Increasing numbers of municipalities are adding pickleball courts to their facilities.
Tips for finding workout buddies
- Reconnect with a former workout buddy. Who knows, you might rekindle your friendship in the process!
- Join a sports association, club, or league in your neighbourhood or region. Softball, badminton, cross-country skiing, skating . . . whatever sounds fun!
- Sign up for classes offered by your municipality: cardio, tennis, swimming, dance, etc. Municipal facilities have a variety of classes at low prices.
- Join a gym. They have more than just weight machines, like Zumba, spinning, and aquafitness classes!
- Get active with your grandchildren and rediscover a favourite childhood activity, like soccer, field hockey, hula-hooping, or softball. Spending time together is also a great way to strengthen your relationship.
- Join a community garden to socialize, get some sun, and do some gentle exercise.
- Sign up for sporting events, whether it’s a 1 km walk for a good cause or a full-on marathon! There’s no age limit when it comes to physical activity.