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Categories > Aging Well > Healthy aging

Wanna play?

Think about what it was like to be a kid. What was your idea of fun? Jumping rope? Playing hopscotch? Climbing trees? Maybe you loved hide-and-seek, racing bikes with the neighborhood kids or playing tag. Looking back, it’s plain to see that all those activities were just that—activities. They burned calories, got your heart pumping, your muscles stretching and your lungs expanding.

If only you could recapture that playful feeling, exercise might seem like fun instead of drudgery. Guess what? You can! Try these tips for putting the fun back into fitness:

Join the competition. Try softball, volleyball, tennis or other sports. Find partners at the same fitness level as you so the games won’t be too vigorous. Even bowling or shuffleboard will help you get in shape.

Invite yourself to a dance party. Line dancing, square dancing, belly dancing, jazz, tap, ballet—there’s no end to the movements you can do to music. Join a dance club in town, take lessons at the community recreation center or just turn up the volume at home and shake it up.

Take a ride. Find a bike trail that suits you and pedal away. Remember the freedom that bike riding gave you when you were a little girl.

Let it bloom. Turn to the garden, where you can exercise your body—and your creativity.

Get a hobby. Find an interest, like bird watching, architecture or rock collecting, that will add spark to your city or country strolls.

Play! Your children or grandchildren can be a great excuse for hopping on a swing or a seesaw. Teach them the jingles you used to sing when jumping rope.

Go sightseeing. Take walking tours through neighboring towns and cities.

Play mind games. Distract yourself from the treadmill or stationary bike by coming up with your Top 10 list of movies or songs. Formulate your to-do list or tackle a pressing problem.