Does the name Mildred "Babe" Didrikson ring a bell? She was an incredible athlete back in the 1940s and ‘50s: outstanding in basketball, baseball, tennis, volleyball, and bowling; a diver, skater, and cyclist; winner of three Olympic medals for track, and the top women’s golfer of her era. So she knew a little about sports and being active. But for her, sport wasn’t always about winning—just taking part and enjoying activity was her main goal. Here’s what she had to say about the rewards of simply being active: "Practice, which some regard as a chore, should be approached as just about the most pleasant recreation ever devised."
There's a lot of wisdom in that statement. If we think of activity as a pleasant recreation and not a chore, we’re much more likely to keep it up. You already know that welcoming activity into your life can burn calories, strengthen and tone muscles, improve posture, and boost your health. But for many of us, the fun factor is key to making it happen regularly.
Sometimes, all you need is a fresh take on a familiar activity. Let’s say you’re a good swimmer, but have steered clear of the pool because you didn’t like being seen in a bathing suit. But… what about taking a water aerobics class with others who are also trying to lose weight? Would that up your comfort level? Or maybe you’re just bored with your usual walking routine or your yoga class. How about stepping up to hiking, or trying circus arts, which use some of the same skills you honed on your yoga mat? There are many ways to expand your exercise horizons that will play to your strengths and likes.
Remember when you were a kid? You’d play games like jump-rope, hopscotch, hide-and-seek, and Red Rover until the sun went down. You weren't self-conscious then, you were just enjoying yourself. Do you think you could rediscover that carefree attitude in order to get into some grown-up activities that you might really learn to enjoy?
Remember, if you’re a newbie, go easy on yourself—it’s natural to feel a little awkward at first. Everyone was new at their favourite activity in the beginning. The only way they learned to be good at a sport or pastime was through—you guessed it—practice. So get out there, find an activity that you think you’ll enjoy and embrace it. Practice makes perfect! As the Babe once said about her 150-yard golf drives: "It's not enough to swing at the ball, you've got to loosen your girdle and let 'er fly."