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Go for the gold

Adventist Health Health and Wellness, Fitness

Looking for ways to add more fun to your fitness routine? Turn your eyes to Rio de Janeiro! That’s the site of the Summer Olympics-and a source of some energizing exercise inspiration.

Obviously, it takes a lot of time and training to be an Olympic athlete. You don’t have to mimic those efforts, however, to be fit. Instead, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, like brisk walking, every week. And do muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, on two or more days a week.

Any movement beats sitting still. But you will gain the most health benefits if you exercise regularly. Staying active could help lift your spirits, trim your waist and lower your risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Some cancers, including colon cancer.

Find fitness inspiration in the Summer Olympic Games

As you cheer the elite athletes on to victory, consider giving these Olympic-inspired activities a try here in Portland:

Think boxing (an Olympic event) with a kick. Kickboxing is a popular fitness trend. This feisty whole-body workout blends aerobics with boxing- and martial arts-based jabs and kicks.

Walk a marathon-at your pace. Maybe you’re not ready to run a real marathon. But don’t let that stop you from crossing the finish line like the athletes in track-and-field events. Make it your goal to walk 26.2 miles (the length of a marathon race) over the course of several months. This is a great way to explore your neighborhood or take advantage of some gorgeous views in the Gorge.

Try table tennis. This fast-paced calorie-burner became an Olympic sport in 1988. Dust off that basement ping pong table or head to the nearest recreation center.

Give golf a go. Golf returns to the Olympics this summer after being banished from the game roster for more than 100 years. Consider adding it to your active lineup too and take advantage of the many beautiful golf courses in Portland. Be sure to walk the course to maximize movement.

Row like a pro. No boat needed for these Olympic-style cardio moves. Just hit the rowing machine at the gym. Sign up for a group class to multiply the fun.

Pedal your heart out. Olympic cyclists pedal for medal in road, mountain, track and other bike races. To get your heart racing, grab a helmet, hop on your bike and ride to glory (and good health). Even if you just ride down the block to the Farmer's Market or join in an organized event like Sunday Parkways, you and your family will benefit from the exercise and being outdoors.

Form a team. Many Olympic sports can be fun for the whole family. Try playing volleyball, badminton or soccer in your backyard. Shoot some hoops in your driveway. Or pack up the kids and tennis rackets and hit some balls at a nearby court.

Olympic trivia

  • The ancient Olympic Games began in Greece about 3,000 years ago. They were originally held over one day. The games were suspended in 393 AD. The modern games were revived in 1896.
  • The Olympic torch, which symbolizes friendship and peace, will travel this year across Brazil-mainly by foot-for nearly 100 days.
  • More than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries are expected to be in Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympic Games. Four regions of the city will be home to 32 competition venues.
  • Some of the things organizers are expecting to need for the games: 25,000 tennis balls, 8,400 shuttlecocks (for badminton), 60,000 clothes hangers and 34,000 beds.
  • During 17 days of competition, 306 medal events will take place-136 for women, 161 for men and 9 mixed.

Need help getting your exercise routine started? Talk to your primary care provider or find one by calling 503-261-6929.

Sources: International Olympic Committee; Rio 2016