What’s the best exercise for you?
Exercise will help you stay healthier, preventing diabetes, heart disease, obesity and osteoporosis.
So how do you choose which is the best exercise? The one that you will do. If you don’t enjoy going to a gym, you’ll never go. Find an activity that you enjoy, walking, swimming, running, cycling, Pilates, yoga, tai chi, dance. Whatever the activity, if you enjoy it, chances are that you will stick to it. Take your dog out for a walk, ask friends or family to join you in walks. Explore a different part of the city that you live in. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. The bottom line is to stay physically active and move the body. If you don’t, as you age, it will literally be harder to do.
Running may burn the most calories, but, do you enjoy running, can you commit to a running schedule? Maybe you have arthritis and it is too painful to run. Walking is a great option for most individuals. Walking can be done anywhere at any time. If it is too cold you can always go to mall and walk indoors. You can challenge your walk by walking at a fast pace, going uphill. For individuals who have osteoporosis or at risk for osteoporosis walking with a weighted vest is a great option because the extra weight on the body will increase bone density. Always check with your physician before engaging in an exercise program.
Swimming is another option for individuals just starting out, or feeling too out of shape. There is more buoyancy in the water and the warmer temperature makes it easier for the body to warm up. You can swim any style that you are comfortable with and also do calisthenics in the water.
You don’t have to join a gym. Many cities have community or recreation centers that are free or very low cost. In New York City the NYC Recreation Centers have several locations with indoor or outdoor pools, gyms and classes. To join it cost $75 for the year, and if you are over 55 it only cost $10 per year.
To be fit and healthy it is good to do aerobic, strength and flexibility exercises.
Aerobic refers to activity that utilizes more oxygen. Aerobic activity improves our cardiovascular system. Our heart and lungs work more efficiently giving us more endurance. During aerobic activities, you have to exert yourself to a level that gets you slightly or very out of breath. Take yourself outside of your comfort zone, not 100% of the time, but it can be done at intervals.
Strengthening activities help build muscle and bone which can be achieved by weights, rubber tubing, and stretch bands. Strengthening activities also affects our body’s metabolism creating more energy, so more fat is burned. Yoga and Pilates can be strengthening activities, because you are working your body against gravity, creating resistance and building muscle.
Flexibility is the ability to move freely within a joint. Most individuals, including athletes and very fit people neglect this important component to their routines. By doing flexibility exercises you help to bring muscles back to their normal resting length and keep joints supple and able to move with ease.
Yoga is a great practice to help increase your flexibility and also build strength. There are many different schools of Yoga, from Power, Hot and traditional Hatha. Yoga Journal is a great source to learn the details of yoga.. If you don’t like a style of yoga try the different styles and different teachers. Many times these are free. Check in your area for yoga studios and look for introductory classes.
And finally, if you are having trouble staying committed to an exercise program, hire a trainer. A personal trainer can get you started on a program and create a schedule so that you commit to an exercise program. Make sure that the trainer is certified through a recognized certification (ACE, NASM, ACSM, AFAA,).
Stay active to age successfully and prevent illness.
Vivian R. Rodriguez is a Certified Personal Trainer (ACE, NASM, AFAA), RYT200 Yoga and Pilates instructor. Her company Balanced Fitness, Changing lives, Creating Healthy Lifestyles. firstname.lastname@example.org www.vivianrodriguez.com