What is the Best Type of Exercise for You?

By Meredith Cox, Health & Wellness Columnist

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In today’s fitness-obsessed, protein shake-driven world, we are constantly being bombarded with information on the best type of exercise, the quickest way to get results, and the most efficient workouts. However, all of this information can be overwhelming and at times conflicting. Below is an overview of some of the different types of workouts that may work best for you, depending on what you are hoping to accomplish in your exercise routine.

Walking. This exercise is great if you live near a park or trail and have a lot of time to devote to an exercise routine. Walking has been shown to prevent the loss of bone mass and improve your blood and oxygen circulation, which in turn leads to more supported joints. This exercise not only has the physical benefit of toning your legs, but also can lighten your mood, as you release endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals that boost happiness. Walking is a great way to exercise but also can be used as an excuse to be social, as it is nice to take a brisk walk while chatting with a friend or family member.

Running. This one is for those of you hoping to lose some weight, as running is one of the leading calorie-burning exercises. Running also helps to strengthen your heart, increasing your athletic endurance. Although running is often considered a high impact sport, one can still enjoy the benefits of running without the added pain from pounding the pavement. Just remember to cross-train by incorporating weight lifting and biking into your exercise routine, in order to keep your bones and muscles strong.

HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training is the workout for you when you are pressed for time. This form of interval training alternates short periods of intense anaerobic exercise, like sprinting, with recovery periods. If you are looking to burn fat, this is the workout for you. The short bursts of high physical activity speed up your glucose metabolism and increase your “after burn”, meaning you burn more calories even after you stop the workout. Another perk of this type of exercise is that you can do it without any equipment. Common and effective HIIT exercises range from sprints to lunges to body weight training.

Swimming. This type of physical activity is great if you are looking for a low-impact, strengthening, and endurance-building workout. People with arthritis or sore joints often find swimming to be a great way to move their whole body without the pain and pressure activities like running can bring. Swimming is also a great mental exercise, as it allows you to clear your mind and relax. You can take advantage of this individual exercise by collecting and reflecting on your thoughts while exercising your body. This activity also uses water resistance to engage your whole body, so you can tone your arms, legs, core, and back all at the same time.

So the next time you plan to work out, think about what you want to get out of the training time, and choose an exercise that will benefit your personal body ability and mindset the most.

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