Thursday, January 5, 2012

What kind of exercise is right for you?

No, this is not a cheesy quiz-type post similar to an article you might find in a magazine.  This is a free-form "gentle mental" (thanks Diane!) exercise to help you hone in on exercises that might be really effective and still really enjoyable for you at the same time.  Since not every type of exercise is right for everyone at the present time in their life, it is important to periodically review your plan and see where you can make tweaks.

  • What were your favorite activities as a kid?  Did you prefer team sports or individual sports?  Did you like to do things that required hand-eye coordination or lots of agility?  Did you love to dance?  Chances are, you might still love some of these same activities.  Many Rec centers and communities offer dance and sports programs for adults at a reasonable cost.
Cycling is something I loved as a kid, and still love!
  • Do you like to sweat?  Or does the idea of sweating firm your resolve to stay on the couch?  Physical activity and exercise can be as simple as taking 3 ten minute walks a day.  Research has shown that your daily exercise is just as effective when broken into 10 minute segments as it would be if performed consecutively.
  • Remember that schedule we talked about on Tuesday?  When could you fit in exercise?  What options for exercise are available to you during that time?  Are there certain types of exercise you are unable to do at that time (many people have told me they too get too hot if they exercise in the morning).  Is there any type of exercise you would enjoy doing that fits into your schedule?  If not, and you pick something you don't enjoy you are less likely to stick with it.
  • What are your goals?  If your goal is to be able to hike a fourteener this summer, you're going to need to develop stamina, core strength, back strength, and leg strength.  Youre also going to want to practice hill climbs.  Conversely, if your goal is to be able to do the splits when you're sixty, you're going to want to focus more on flexibility and body weight toning. 
  • Besides your goals, what do you hope to gain from your workout?  Do you hope to feel a sense of calm?  Do you want more energy?  Do you just need to have a safe space to work through your emotions?  Different types of exercise will offer you each of these benefits if you choose wisely.

Now that we've figured out what types of exercise might be best suited for you, get out and get started!

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