Sunday, March 05, 2006

9. Join groups that meet for recreational activities.

I've mentioned this tip several times throughout my blog. Joining or starting a group or groups that are built around some sort of exercise or activity is a great way to burn calories and keep your mind off of food.

I ride my bike on most Saturday mornings with a group of people. Over the course of the last few years, over 200 people have ridden with us at one time or another, but there's a core group of about 10 - 15 that come back week after week. I always look forward to catching up with everyone and having others to discuss cycling culture with (very few people in the general population know much it). As I've said, we meet on most Saturday mornings throughout the year - even during the winter. We also host a charity ride in May and participate with eachother in other events around the region including other organized events and weekend getaways. Not only do I derive great social benefit for having these people as my friends - as all are top-notch people that I've learned a lot from - but, it just makes it that much easier to get out and burn calories when you have friends that you want to spend time with and they just happen to share your passion for activity.

Clubs exist for all kinds of activities. They can be as informal as the group of people I ride with on Saturday mornings or much more organized and/or geared more toward competition. I know of clubs for running, road cycling, mountain biking, triathlons, kayaking, basketball, soccer, volleyball, rock climbing, skiing and so forth. And within each of these general categories there always seems to be several variations. For example, within my area of expertise - cycling - there are about a half a dozen competitive teams in my area, two major cycling clubs and numerous off-shoots of those clubs that have smaller numbers of people that are located closer together geographically.

All it takes is a little effort from you to find these out. I recommend surfing local athletic websites to find out about the clubs, meeting times and any requirements. Also ask around in your local retail establishments that specialize in your activity for such groups. They can usually point you in a good direction for your level of experience. Finally, don't forget to ask co-workers and friends. They can be founts of knowledge.

If you're still having trouble finding a group that meets your needs, start one up. Maybe you enjoy running, but there isn't a group that close enough to you to make it convenient. Just post a flyer at the local community center, ask stores to post flyers and see if you can get an announcement in the local newspaper. Set a regular time and place to meet to start your activity. Keep at it and soon others will join you. But, chances are there is already some sort of group in your area of interest already nearby. You just have to find it.

Remember, the group activity gives you extra motivation to get out and burn calories and at the same time absorbs some of the time that you may have been absorbing extra, unwanted calories, which is a double bonus for your waistline.

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