Which Kinds of Exercise are Right for You?
Some people enjoy jogging, while others cringe at the thought. Some like the discipline of lifting weights; others find it boring. Swimmers, basketball players, and dancers all appreciate the activities that make their spirits soar. Fortunately, there are almost as many different ways to get fit as there are people resolving to exercise in the coming year. And when you find the right exercise for you, you’re more likely to enjoy exercising and stick to a program.
Here are some tips for finding the best exercise program to meet your needs.
Determine your goals. If you’re looking to get physically stronger, then you’ll need a program that includes strength-training exercises (including, but not limited to, weight training). If you want to burn a lot of calories, however, you may prefer a higher-impact, aerobic workout. Having an end goal in mind should help keep you motivated.
Talk to your doctor. There’s a reason why nearly every book, magazine article, or television commercial discussing exercise and weight loss includes a disclaimer about talking to your doctor. It might help to go to your physical appointment with specific exercises in mind, so that you can discuss the potential consequences to your body. A runner may need to pay attention over time to stress on the joints, for example.
Think fun! There’s no right way to exercise, so don’t box yourself in to a routine you won’t enjoy because it’s the trendy exercise right now. If you want to try an activity for its benefits and not the joy of doing it — say, you want to increase your strength, but find lifting weights tedious — see if you can add music you enjoy, or alternate different routines in your workout.
Find a good time of the day. If you’re an early riser, you might feel better having a healthy breakfast after a workout. If you’re a night owl, on the other hand, you might do better stopping by the gym after work.
Look for social options. Many people find they are more likely to stick to an exercise routine if they team up with a partner or join a group. You can look on sites such as Meetup.com for groups devoted to different sports and activities, or check in with a local store that sells athletic gear.
Don’t beat yourself up too quickly. If you try out a new exercise routine for a few weeks and then drop it, you may not have found the right exercise yet. But be honest with yourself as to whether it’s the style of workout that’s distressing you, or just the physical effort of making the change to exercise with purpose.