Teachers are proponents of lifelong learning, so we at ThinkFives wondered what were the activities that teachers had tried reluctantly but turned out to like. Honestly, we thought we might receive answers like snorkeling, parasailing, or even skydiving. But instead, teachers listed many activities that are far more common.
One reason might be that teachers are extremely busy during the school year and that leaves very little time for outdoor activities. Summertime is often filled with teaching summer school or family vacations, which also limits opportunities for new activities. Healthy activities, therefore, filled their list. And when teachers could find the time for these healthier outdoor activities, they did indeed like them.
ESGI and ThinkFives surveyed hundreds of teachers to find out the Top 5 activities they tried reluctantly but liked.
People are less active nowadays. It’s a fact. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Research suggests that many adults spend more than 7 hours a day sitting down at work, on transport, or in their leisure time.
Additionally, obesity is a growing problem with 42% of the US population considered obese.
We all know that regular exercise can solve many of these problems, yet we resist. The couch is more inviting than the gym. But for those of us who have fought off the lure of fluffy pillows and made our way to a gym or park reluctantly, regular exercise is something that many enjoyed.
- Cardiovascular Health: Exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.
- Weight Management: Regular exercise can burn off a tremendous amount of calories, reduce appetite, and help with weight management.
- Brain Health: Exercise can reduce short-term feelings of depression and help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age.
- Depression and Anxiety: Regular exercise improves sleep, mental focus, and produces chemicals that can actually decrease depression and anxiety.
- Reduce Fatigue: Regular exercise even when tired, provides more energy to do the things you want to do and reduces fatigue.
You might be surprised to see cooking on the list. Yet you might also remember graduating from college, getting your first place, and then realizing your parents weren’t there to put food on the table. Some solved the problem with restaurants or more recently, Uber Eats. Others reluctantly took their place in the kitchen. Before too long they realized that they liked cooking.
Once you start cooking, you will benefit from the opportunity to be creative, and the sense of satisfaction knowing you can provide for yourself. It’s not surprising that one of the most famous cookbooks over the last century is “The Joy of Cooking.”
Benefits of Cooking
- Health: Cooking is much healthier than eating out. You have complete control over the recipe and the ingredients.
- Community: Cooking can bring the family together, allowing for family time in an increasingly divergent world.
- Savings: Cooking at home will be much cheaper if you buy all your ingredients and create your own meals at home.
- Time Management: Cooking more than one dish at a time will instantly challenge you to use your brain to work out the next stage of the cooking process.
- Cultural Awareness: Trying new foods and exchanging recipes with friends can expose you to new cultures and tastes from different countries.
What is yoga?
According to Yogapedia (yes this is a real site), “yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that originated in ancient India. The practice aims to create union between body, mind and spirit, as well as between the individual self and universal consciousness. Such a union tends to neutralize ego-driven thoughts and behaviors, creating a sense of spiritual awakening. The ultimate goal of yoga is to achieve liberation from suffering. Yoga focuses on bringing together body, mind and breath as a means of altering energy or shifting consciousness.”
There are 7 popular types of yoga ranging from the gentler, slower style using basic poses that are suitable for beginners to the athletic style that follows a set sequence, improving the body’s endurance and flexibility.
- Yoga improves flexibility.
- Yoga helps with stress relief.
- Yoga improves mental health.
- Yoga will likely increase your strength.
- Yoga may reduce anxiety.
- Yoga may boost immunity.
- Yoga can improve balance.
- Yoga may improve cardiovascular functioning.
- Yoga may help improve sleep.
- Yoga may improve self-esteem.
- Yoga can help with burnout.
Running is a great exercise that provides a number of health benefits, although many of us need to be prodded into running regularly. If you’re lucky enough to catch the running bug, there are many benefits.
If you’re a beginner, you should start with brisk walking, progress to jogging, and work up to running. This could take a few months but will lead to strengthening muscles, improved cardiovascular fitness, weight loss, and even competitive running.
- Strengthen Muscles: Regular running can strengthen core muscles and maximize your overall fitness.
- Improve Cardiovascular Fitness: Studies show that cardiovascular training with a minimum of 30 minutes, 3 times a week can increase aerobic capacity in about 8 to 12 weeks.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Running burns plenty of calories. Few sports can burn off as many calories and can turn fat into muscles.
- Competition: Running clubs may offer competitive events. Most clubs have sessions designed for beginners through to advanced runners. You can test your running skills against others in fun, social settings.
Number one on our list is hiking. Hiking is great for cardiovascular health and for some, it avoids the stress that running may put on your knees and legs. Studies have shown that going on regular moderate hikes can significantly reduce hypertension, improve glucose tolerance, and decrease ‘bad’ cholesterol levels over time.
Hiking also can be a great way to explore nature at its finest. Local parks, mountains, and beaches provide scenic surroundings that are all rewarding in and of themselves.
- Balance: As you walk along a trail, your leg and core muscles are constantly engaging and contracting to provide stability and balance over uneven terrain. As these core stabilizing muscles strengthen over time, balance improves.
- Exercise: Hiking is great exercise for almost every major muscle group in the body.
- Bone Density: High impact and weight-bearing activities like hiking help improve bone density by strengthening the bone tissue.
- Self Esteem: Hiking can lead you to feel stronger, more capable, independent, and ready to take on whatever the world throws at you.
What activity have you tried reluctantly but liked?