One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “What type of exercise is the best?” In today’s society people are constantly bombarded with the latest workout trends and fitness products to buy. This has become overwhelming. It is hard to get started or to make changes in your fitness routine when you are constantly overloaded with products and people telling you this or that is the best.
I am here to tell you that the answer to what type of exercise is the best is extremely simple—it is the type of exercise you will do.
When I meet people in my clinic who have never worked out before or have never been on a structured program, my first question is “What do you like to do?” Certainly I can read you the literature about what types of exercises burn the most calories or get you in better cardiovascular shape and so on. But the fact of the matter is if you don’t enjoy them, you most likely won’t do them.
I, personally, do not enjoy running on the treadmill. I find if my workout involves a long run on the treadmill I will find every excuse not to do it, and the excuses always win so I no longer plan for long runs on the treadmill anymore.
And since when did working out become so complex and expensive? I often hear from clients when discussing types of exercises they like to do that bike riding is one of them. But they can’t do it because all they have is an old bike that is in the garage somewhere. If it has two wheels and a chain and the tires are inflated then you can ride that bike. You do not need clips and bike computers to go and ride a bike for exercise. Just hop on the old rusty bike and go for 30 minutes.
You don’t need to join a fancy expensive gym either. Most people can do body weight exercises like walking up steps, push-ups, running in place and get a very good workout.
Exercise is also not a competition. Do not be discouraged because someone does a particular exercise faster or better than you. I am not a fast runner but I enjoy going out and clearing my head. I will never be a fast runner but I don’t run to compete, I run for me. I see so many people that get discouraged with walking and/or running because they are not 7 minute milers. It doesn’t matter if it takes you 20 minutes to walk/run a mile; all that matters is that you are out there doing it.
Exercising should be about enjoyment, about releasing endorphins, about 30 minutes a day of ‘you time.’ It can be whatever you want it to be. A long walk, a racquetball game, a swim in the pool, anything. Exercise does not have to be complex. I see some people at the gym that I swear their trainers are just making them do things to get a good laugh. Squats, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, jump rope are all excellent forms of exercise that people have somehow overlooked. So if you are finding yourself overwhelmed or intimated by the latest exercise craze just take a step out your front door and take a walk. It will make all the difference.
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