This summer’s games are an opportunity for anyone to get swept up in the excitement of sport. But this year, don’t just be a spectator. From team sports to individual competitions, the Olympics showcase a variety of sports that can be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike. And with a new fitness routine, you can be a parallel participant.
As you cheer on your favorite athletes in their quest for a medal, get inspired to push toward your own health goal. Although such a small percentage of the world has the opportunity to compete on the world stage, we all have the chance to celebrate the joy of the Games in our own workouts. Here are a few popular summer games that can give your fitness routine a boost of motivation and creativity.
Distance running wasn’t always a passion of mine. I fell in love with it after watching it in Athens—specifically, witnessing marathoner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima recover after being attacked on the course to take home the third place bronze medal. Although he still missed out on first place, he displayed a level of good sportsmanship and inspiring athleticism throughout the race.
A marathon isn’t for everyone, but you can easily incorporate running into your fitness routine. Beginners can benefit from downloading a training app. The Couch to 5K plan makes the idea of running this 3.1 miles a real possibility by preventing new runners from starting out too fast while balancing their itch to meet a reasonable goal. If you’re more advanced, check out one of Hal Higdon’s training programs for half and full marathons. Regardless of the distance you’re training for, you can find even more motivation by incorporating a charity program into your schedule.
This is one of the most fun team sports for American fans to watch because some of the most well-known players from the NBA compete at an Olympiad. And basketball drills are easy to incorporate into your own fitness routine as they don’t require a lot of time or equipment.
One of the most effective drills is suicides (not as scary as they sound). Start at one end of a basketball court, sprint to the closest free throw line, touch the line with your finger tips, and then return to where you started. Immediately run back out, this time to the half-court line, and return. Repeat this pattern with the far free throw line and the far baseline of the court. Time yourself with each attempt to try to beat your best. Suicides can also be done outdoors by setting up cones at the appropriate spots on a blacktop.
Another great way to incorporate basketball into your routine, any time of year, is by joining a community league with your friends and neighbors. If your kids are as inspired by the summer games as you are, consider coaching them in a youth league at your local park district or YMCA.
Swimming is said to be one of the best all-around cardio workouts because it uses your full body in a great routine that’s easy on your joints. Bringing swimming into your fitness schedule can be done in a number of ways, and not just by swimming laps at your public pool or joining a water aerobics class.
Take the time to master a variety of strokes you’ll see hosted in Rio de Janeiro this summer—backstroke, butterfly, and freestyle, for example—as a way to keep your routine more interesting. Also, keep in mind everything is more fun with friends (just look at the camaraderie among the US Swimming Team!), so recruit a few swimming buddies to join you for a morning swim. You might encourage each other to reach new fitness heights in a race of your own.
If you prefer dry land, but still want the full body workout of swimming, try the USA Swimming workout for a dynamic circuit training that can be done in less than twenty minutes. Planks, squats, and Russian twists are all quality moves that help you develop that fit swimmer physique.
The games join the world together in a celebration of sportsmanship and competition while inspiring fans to push a little harder at their own fitness goals. When watching Olympic sports with your friends and family, allow yourself to become inspired to incorporate the motivation of the games into your own summer workout.
What’s your favorite international sport? How do you apply it into your workouts? Tweet us your answers!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.