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What Type Of Exercise Is Best For Me

by Warren Patterson 3 months ago in fitness

4 important questions to ask ourselves when deciding how to exercise

What Type Of Exercise Is Best For Me
Photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

Maybe you’re a newbie to exercise? Perhaps you’re someone wanting to rekindle an old love you had for fitness but are worried you’re not as capable as before? Or possibly you’ve tried exercising in the past, but you just couldn’t make a habit of it and could do with a little guidance? Whatever the case, I totally understand your dilemma — there’s so much information out there and it’s no surprise it can all get just a little too confusing. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? And who’s just trying to bag themselves a profit?

With all the advertisements and marketing gimmicks around, I think the part that each on of them completely miss out on is this — they don’t know you! They don’t know your circumstance, your situation or your past experience with exercise. Therefore, how can they know what’s best for you?

Rather than tell you what way you should exercising, I think it would be much more beneficial provide you with some helpful tools so that you can make your own informed decision. Use these tools to help you find out what type of exercise is right for you.

To break it down, I think there are 4 important questions that are worth asking yourself to figure out what activity you should do. They are:

1) What type of exercise do I enjoy?

2) What are my goals?

3) What can I sustain and maintain long-term?

4) Where is my current fitness level at?

Let’s have a look at each of them in turn and see how each of them can benefit you when it comes to fitness and exercise.

1) What type of exercise do I enjoy?

By krakenimages on Unsplash

This may seem a little obvious, but nonetheless I think it’s important because what we enjoy sometimes isn’t what we always decide to do. Maybe we’ve heard that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best method for weight loss, so we become swayed towards it even though we absolutely despise the workouts. Or perhaps we try running for long durations on the treadmill because we’ve been told it’s the best way to tap into them fat stores we’re so eager to get rid of. But if in the end we’re just left exhausted and our training is too long, compromising our precious time that could be used being spent with our family or friends then we have to ask ourselves — is it really worth it? What we’re most likely to stick to and probably going to give us that best life balance is simply what we enjoy. If that’s walking for you, then walk. If it’s swimming, swim. Exercise should be fun. Do whatever you like to do!

In saying this however, I’m also a realist. I understand that not everyone out there likes exercise. And I appreciate that some of you reading this right now don’t just dislike it, you even hate it! That’s certainly not uncommon. But the truth is that exercise is important for our health, and not just physical, but mental also. Because of this, I have to recommend that to try something. If you can’t find anything activity that you enjoy, then follow the rest of this post and try to find your form of exercise based on how you feel you answer the next three questions.

2) What are my goals?

By Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Our goals are a central point of consideration when it comes to choosing our activity. I think it’s also important that we make our goals specific rather than general. Specific goals provide guidance and motivation and can help us track our progress. So I would suggest that if you don’t have a clearly defined goal in mind to ensure you set one and then you may find that your choice of exercise naturally follows.

For example, if you set out to complete a 5k park run, of course running will be you’re craft or if you decide you’d like to improve your strength or physique, weightlifting will be best. However, let’s say you’re goal is weight loss, you may find that there are a number of different routes to choose from. You might take on light walking, jogging, strength training or HIIT training. Maybe you’ll even include a combination of all of these in your workout plan. The important point to remember in this case is not to overlook your current fitness and skill level (which we will expand upon shortly).

3) What can I sustain and maintain long-term?

By Alex Sheldon on Unsplash

As I’ve already touched upon, if exercise is leaving us drained of our energy and compromises the quality of our relationships, then maybe we need some reflection and reconsideration. Are we over-training, is the intensity too hard or the type not serving us well? Whatever the case we must not forget — balance is important! Fitness should always be something that enhances our energy, mood and relationships.

We want to choose a type and intensity of exercise that fits our lifestyle and that we can perform consistently over a long-term period. If this means that we become cautious in the beginning, going easy to allow us to become comfortable before progressing, then I think this is a great plan! This leads us onto our final question which addresses the importance of training in sync with our fitness and skill level.

4) Where is my current fitness level at?

By Luke Chesser on Unsplash

When thinking about what type of exercise is best for us, we do so with great consideration and appreciation for where our fitness and skill level is at. To use an analogy — if we can’t swim, there’s no point jumping into the deep end or we’ll drowned fast! Instead, be safe and put on the armbands. Start off in shallow water and progress accordingly.

If you’re new to exercise and have never lifted a weight before, it might be best starting off with a walk around the block. Then if you find that easy, perhaps you’d like to progress to some light body-weight activity. After you become comfortable with this you might decide you want to take up some weightlifting. If this is the case, just remember to be careful and take your time. It might be smart to train with an experienced friend, join a group exercise class or hire a personal trainer. As the saying goes, “it’s always better to be safe than sorry!”


Warren Patterson

Weight Loss & Nutrition Coach. Fitness junkie. Solo traveler. Dark chocolate addict. My Weight Loss Course: app.mastermind.com/masterminds/31006

Read next: Self-worth

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