Are You Choosing the Best Workout to Reach Your Fitness Goals?
All forms of exercise are great for both your mind and body, but different workouts will give you different results. Some workouts will be great for weight loss, while others will be great for posture, but rarely does one specific workout check all of the boxes for all fitness goals.
Ask yourself first, what do you aim to achieve with exercise? and then read below to learn which of the various workouts are best to help you to reach your goals.
Goal: Live a long life
Best Workout: Walking
Walking is one of the best, if not the best, form of low impact aerobic activity. It’s a great workout for many reasons, including that it works your entire body, it’s easy on your joints, you can do it anywhere, and it helps to keep your heart strong.
Put it into action: Go for a 30 minute walk or more most days of the week and aim to get 10,000 steps or more per day. To increase the burn, swing your arms to get your upper body even more engaged – you’ll burn more calories and get stronger arms in the process!
Goal: Lose weight
Best Workouts: Running, swimming, power-walking, dance
All of the above exercises are best in terms of weight loss because they use the entire body. The more muscles of the body you use, the more calories you will burn. To lose weight fast, you need to burn as many calories as you can, which is exactly what the above exercises do.
Put it into action: Aim to do one of the above exercises 3-5 times per week. Take it up a notch and burn even more calories by mixing up your workouts daily. Keeping your body guessing is what really challenges your body and causes you to burn more calories
Goal: Add muscle tone
Best workouts: Strength training, high intensity interval training (HIIT)
Starting in your 30s, you begin losing muscle and this decline continues as you age. This means that as you get older, it is even more important to have a strength training routine in place!
Both strength training and high intensity interval training will help you to build and preserve muscle and will give you those ideal rounded curves and defined shape. Another perk of doing these exercises is that they will cause you to burn more calories at rest and after your workout is done, so they will also help you lose weight and maintain weight.
Put it into action: Aim to do the above exercises on non-consecutive days, a couple of times a week.
Goal: Build strong bones
Best workout: Weight bearing exercises (running, dancing, hiking, lifting weights)
To increase and preserve the integrity of your bones, do exercise that makes you move your body against gravity while staying upright.
It is never to early to start thinking about how to preserve the integrity of your bones. How many times have you heard about an elderly person falling and breaking their hip or arm and then never quite recovering after? Probably a lot because this type of scenario is very common. If you are on the younger side, bone strength may not be a top priority in your life, but it definitely should be! Frailty and fractures in older age are debilitating and can lead to detrimental injuries that can derail the quality of life.
Put it into action: Aim to lift weights and strength train a couple of times a week, walk as much as you can daily, and maybe add in some higher impact activities such as running or hiking if you are physically able to do so.
Goal: Improve posture
Best workout: Pilates, yoga
Both exercises require good posture and form and are great for lengthening the spine. Pilates is all about the core, and the stronger your core, the better your posture. Yoga is all about lengthening and stretching, which helps with posture as well.
Put it into action: Do pilates or yoga 1-2 times per week for an hour.
Goal: Improve flexibility
Best workout: Yoga
Flexibility is often overlooked but is incredibly important for both feeling your best and being able to do the activities you enjoy. Being more flexible and having greater range of motion will make you a better runner, swimmer, biker, you name it! You will also have less aches and pains and will be less prone to injury when you are more flexible.
Put it into action: Aim to do yoga 1-2 times per week for an hour.
As you can see, there are many different reasons an individual might want to exercise. No exercise is necessarily better than the other, what matters is what you are aiming to achieve with that exercise.
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy League trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in women’s health and preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab.
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