One of my goals is to get as many of you as possible to adopt healthier lifestyles. That means eating better and exercising more. Planning on exercising is one thing… starting it and keeping up with it is an entirely different story. Over the last 2 years I have questioned you extensively to evaluate which exercises you enjoy and which you were able to maintain. Being told what to do by people in white coats is not always the process which leads staying with a favorite exercise. In this post, I thought I would let you know what your peers favorite exercises are in the hope that this information will prove useful to you in your quest to be more active.
Favorite Exercise #1: Running
I spend an awful lot of time discussing the upsides of exercise … and perhaps more important, concrete steps that you can take to start AND maintain an exercise program. We have had a fair amount of success by eliminating or minimizing a lot of the reasons why many of you stop exercising. IF you’ve never run before and you set out to run it’s going to be a painful experience and one you will likely not want to repeat.
We have found that getting you involved in a walk to run program with a simple heart rate monitor has been very effective. By monitoring your heart rate you minimize the chance that your heart rate will ramp up a level that exhausts you and leads to a painful experience.
There are many new runners out there. Knowing what pace or intensity to run and how to get to a certain distance is a crucial step to building a program you can stick with. Knowing how to choose the right running shoe can be difficult. I have run in many different shoes and enjoy Hoka, Saucony, Asics and Brooks.
Deciding to start an exercise program is the hard part. Staying with it should not be hard. Stay slow, monitor your heart rate, do not be afraid to walk half the time and you are well on your way being an active runner.
Favorite Exercise #2: Rowing
I was a bit surprised by this one. Many of you enjoy rowing. And it is indeed a great choice. As you can see here, there are an enormous number of choices available for rowing machines. Rowing machines offer a chance to exercise many of the muscle groups of the body, and depending on your pace, you can obtain a good cardio workout too. There is enough weight bearing and fluidity that it can be a great choice for an aerobic and strengthening program. Once again, I strongly recommend that you consider using a heart rate monitor to design a program where your heart rate stays in control.
Favorite Sport #3: Bicycling
Among those of us who are already active, cycling is second to running in popularity. But I have found that it is not as popular for those of us just starting out with an exercise program. Many of you cycle as a means of cross training if you do not tolerate running 3 or 4 days a week. If you ride hard or on hills then I again recommend a heart rate monitor.
Cycling outdoors can be very enjoyable… but you need to wear a good helmet. I was also a bit surprised at how many recumbent bikers there are among you. I have spoken to recumbent bikers who have recumbent bikes at home and out on the road. Most of you on recumbent bikes note that it helps if you have back or hip pain. Your butt will hurt when you first start, so get a good pair of bicycle pants and just stay with it. That pain will subside over time. Wear a pair of glasses to prevent the bugs from getting in your eyes too. The ones that get into your mouth is a small protein treat :-)
You do not need to spend a fortune on the bike !!! Shop around, ride a few and see what works best for you. Consider an indoor bicycle trainer so you can exercise if it’s raining or too cold.
So, I was a little surprised that rowing was as popular as it was. But it is a fantastic exercise.
Anyway… the best exercise for you is the one you are going to stick with… PERIOD ! :-))
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If you have significant medical or cardiac issues, consult your physician before starting an exercise program.
Be well … stay well.