Once your body is healthier, you can really focus on making it stronger, and it will be much more effective.
Yoga – The most obvious choice, and the most widely available. Throw a stone and you will likely hit a Yoga school. Colleges have them, community centers have them, fitness centers have them, hell, even my mothers work has a class now.
Pilates – Less zen than Yoga, but very effective.
Dance – It can be difficult to find adult dance classes, but they are out there. Ballet is the best for overall form and flexibility, but there are so many other options. I have been dancing since I was six, and done almost every form out there.
Also, martial arts has varying degrees of focus on flexibility and balance, some styles are very acrobatic, so you could kill two birds with one stone and find a style that works this area as well.
Basic Strength Training/Gyms
If you live in an apartment, you might be lucky enough to have a quality fitness center at your disposal for no extra cost. The alternative, if you can afford it, is a gym membership. There are several to choose from, and most offer a trial period for you to try them out to see how they suit you. Here is just a sampling.
Equinox – Offers one day trial.
Lifetime – Offers one day trial.
X-Sport Fitness – Offers seven day trial.
24 Hour Fitness – Offers seven day trial.
LA Fitness – Offers three day trial.
Crunch – Offers one day trial.
YMCA – Guest passes vary by location.
Best Fitness – East Coast chain, offers fourteen day trial.
Gold’s Gym – Offers seven day trial.
Of course there is also the option of setting up your own home gym. Things you might need:
- Free Weights – These can be expensive, so I recommend starting with a relatively low weight for you and purchasing higher weights as you gain strength.
- Resistance Bands – A variety of strengths.
- Yoga Mat
- Pull-Up Bar – Even if you cannot to pull-ups yet, you can attach a resistance band and do pull-downs.
30 Day ___ – There are several of these out there over both platforms, I personally have squats and planks downloaded. Complete a daily challenge and mark it done after.
Swimming – If you are lucky enough to have a pool at your disposal, I highly recommend swimming. It is great cardio, and low impact, but have a healthy snack planned for afterwards because it makes you HUNGRY. I used to take swimming class in college, and I felt so bad because I would always show up late for my next class (Italian), with a bag full of food. Still, my professor understood.
Running – Higher impact, but super effective. You can find several follow along programs, and you can run indoors on a treadmill (if available) or outside. If you are going the running route, I also highly recommend working towards a race to give yourself a goal. Some that I recommend:
- Hot Chocolate 5K/15K – Did the 5K in November, 2015, doing the 15K this month.
- Rock’N’Roll 5K/10K/Half Marathon – Did the 10K in July, 2016.
- Runner’s World Race Finder – Plug in your information and find a race nearby.
- Yes Fit – If you are not ready or unable to participate in an organized race, Yes Fit has virtual races where you complete a set distance (running, walking, or biking) at your own pace. They even have free races available, where you only pay if you want a medal or T-Shirt.
- Virtual Strides – Another virtual race site, though this one does not appear to have any free races. Still, there are several for just under $30, which is not bad considering you receive a medal.
There are also obstacle course races/mud runs. These are less focused on time (unless you are hard core and trying to meet a time) and more on total fitness.
- Warrior Dash – 5K race, I did this one in June, 2016.
- Spartan – I have not done this yet, but Opie has, and I have been planning to one day.
- OCR Finder – Interactive Map of OCR/Mud Runs
I personally feel that it is important for everyone, especially Jedi, to at the very least, know how to defend themselves. Even if you are not much of a fighter, you might not have the choice in certain circumstances and better to know how if necessary. Plus, there are several styles that focus more on the spiritual side than the combat, you just have to find one.
You do not need to take Martial Arts for very long to get the basics down, and most schools will have you sign a contract for year, so you could take one year, get a good grasp of basics, and decide later whether you want to continue on with it or not. There are SO many forms that it is impossible to give suggestions. The best advise I can give, is to do the research, find a short list of styles that appeal to you, and then see what is available in your area (trust me, it can be difficult to find some styles). Find a few school possibilities and then go check them out. Many places will let you observe a class, some might even let you try one out. Find a school that values learning the style over just testing for rank.
You might start with one style and find it is not for you, but you still want to learn more, try another form. I have taken Capoeira, Karate, and MMA. I would consider going back to any of these, but I would also love to try new styles as well. Recently I was turned on to Ba Gua Zhang, but I have yet to find any good Ba Gua Zhang schools where I currently live (why do I love rare styles?), so I am in the process of searching myself. Do your research.
Here are a couple of starting resources:
- Wikipedia List of Martial Arts – Sorted by country of origin.
- Black Belt Wiki Styles List – A list of various forms and short descriptions. Far from a complete list. You can also click on links at the bottom to show styles by specialty or country of origin.
- “Dojos” – A directory of sorts, you can search by location and style. Not necessarily a complete list though, so definitly do more research in your area before settling on one school.
- Black Belt Wiki Directory – A small directory of schools by Country (and State for the US).
- Martial Arts School Directory – Another directory, drop down menus allow you to customize search.
At Home Programs
If you can afford one of the video programs, they can be beneficial. Most of these work cardio, strength, and flexibility.
P90X – There are a few versions out there now, there are a mixture of videos that you do according to their schedule for a total of 90 days. I have all of them, have done the first one twice.
10-Minute Trainer – By Tony Horton (P90X), ten minute videos of very intense workouts. If you only have 10 minutes here and there, these will really go a long way. I have these, they hurt.
Insanity – I cannot do this program because of a limitation of my own, but those who have swear by it. From what I understand, the title is truth.
Zumba – The Zumba craze. Fun, dance themed workouts. You can also find classes just about anywhere, AND video games.
Hip Hop Abs – Shaun T (Insanity) dance themed program. Very basic moves.
Cize – Another Shaun T Program, more focused on choreography than Hip Hop Abs. Sort of an advanced HHA.
Windsor Pilates – Pilates Program.
Tone It Up – They have several videos out now, usually filmed at the beach, but these are tough workouts.
Tone It Up – I mentioned this in the previous post. Again, geared towards women (but nonetheless effective). They have a few DVD’s out, but have a whole series of video workouts available free online, and are often featured in Self Magazine.
Tone It Up – Like the above link, here is their YouTube channel.
General Fitness Apps
S Health – Samsung specific General Health App.
Apple Health – Apple specific General Health App.
Google Fit – Android General Health App.
A HIIT Interval Timer – There are many out there, try out a few, find one you like.
Everymove – Track activity, earn rewards. Android | iOS
Fitocracy – General fitness. Free workouts, or pay for coaching. Android | iOS
Daily Endorphin – Group fitness challenges. Android | iOS