The Joys of Schoolyard Sports
Ready to amp up your fitness game? Add some competition to the mix.
If yoga puts you to sleep and treadmill workouts feel like you’re on a path to nowhere, it might be time for some competitive exercise. By joining a team or trying out the new competitive equipment at your local gym, you can get in fighting shape while having so much fun you’ll forget you’re doing it. Trust us — even if your last sports memory is getting picked last for the flag football team at recess.
Need Some Move-More Motivation? Try ActiveLink™
You remember your high school science, right: bodies in motion tend to stay in motion. In other words, the more you move, the more you’ll want to move. Get motivated and track your activity with ActiveLink, the small but mighty addition to the Weight Watchers program that just might inspire you to get more active every day. It’s a state-of-the-art activity monitor and a seamless, personalized web experience designed to (literally!) move you closer to your goals.
How it works:
Start by wearing the ActiveLink monitor (it’s tiny, and easily fits into a pocket or even your bra!) for about a week to get an assessment of how much you’re currently moving throughout the day. Don’t go overboard – just go about your typical days, with your usual physical activity. This way ActiveLink learns more about you and your movements so you can set goals depending on how active you’d like to be.
ActiveLink tracks your every move, converting your motion into activity PointsPlus values. Plug the monitor into your computer so it can sync with your Activity Tracker, giving you the most accurate reading possible. After your initial assessment, ActiveLink creates 12-week challenges to gradually get you to increase your physical activity. You’ll also receive tips to keep you moving and motivated.
How to get it:
ActiveLink is available exclusively to Weight Watchers OnlinePlus
subscribers and Weight Watchers Meetings members who subscribe to eTools. The purchase of an ActiveLink device and an additional monthly ActiveLink subscription is required. Meetings members with eTools can purchase the ActiveLink monitor in select meeting rooms. (If it’s not available in your meeting room, click here
.) Weight Watchers OnlinePlus
subscribers can buy ActiveLink in the ecommerce store
Competitive sports offer a variety of benefits that solo sports don't, including a built-in support system. With teammates on your side, you don’t have to worry about a personal trainer or a workout buddy for motivation. “If you say you’re going to work out tomorrow morning, that’s one thing. But if you know you have a game at 7 p.m. tomorrow night, you’re going to show up," says Rob Herzog, CEO and founder of Zog Sports, a sports league for young professionals in New York City. “The majority of people who commit to a season make it to at least 75 percent of the games."
Games take the "work" out of workout, turning your active time into social time as well. “With team sports is you get to do workouts with your friends — or make new friends," says Herzog.
Of course, all this hang-time has the added benefit of some serious cross-training. Sign up for dodgeball, and your arms will start toning up from throwing and catching. In basketball, moving side to side and forward and backward give you lunge-like results, without the boredom. In soccer you’ll work your legs when running and kicking and your core when you’re trapping the ball out of the air with your mid-section. And did we mention the cardio perks? You'll get a great workout from doing 45 minutes of sprint, intervals, side to side movements in a soccer game. Herzog does add one caveat for those of us looking to firm up while having fun: avoid the sports that have long periods of standing around, doing nothing. “I wouldn’t recommend kickball or softball," he says.
Join a team
There are leagues for adult team sports throughout the country. Here are a few sources:
- Your local YMCA and Craigslist. On Craigslist, go to “activities" and search for your favorite sport. Existing teams looking for players will often post there.
- SportsMonster.Net. A database of teams, divided by city, sport and skill level, in cities across the country like Denver, Chicago and St. Louis. Options include soccer, dodgeball, hockey, Ultimate Frisbee and even broom-ball.
- Zog Sports. A recreational co-ed social sports league for young professionals in their 20s-30s, based in New York City and New Jersey but soon expanding to Washington, D.C. Options include football, soccer, volleyball, dodgeball and basketball.
- The Weight Watchers Community. Fill out your Profile if you haven’t already, then search for a Group in your location, or that is based around your sport. Can’t find one? Start your own, or ask around on the Message Boards.
- And if you can’t commit to a team, try to beat yourself. Wii Fit, Xbox Kinect, the Nike+ iPod Nano and some new iPhone apps all allow you to challenge yourself or compete virtually with others, says Gregory Florez, CEO of Fit Advisor, a health coaching service. He adds that self-competition can be simple. “If I wear my pedometer on a trip, and I walk 5,000 steps one day and 6,000 the next, I think ‘great.’ Who doesn’t want to say ‘I’m better today than I was yesterday?’" says Florez.