Exercise in its Many Forms

June 1, 2011 at 6:06 am Leave a comment

It has been proven, very likely with you as your own best test subject – if you don’t like the type of exercise you choose, you’re unlikely to follow through and continue to do it. That said, there are umpteen ways to get a dose of heart- and limb-healthy energy into your day, so you should be able to find something that makes you happy. Let’s talk!

Walking  is still one of the best forms of exercise. It’s easy on your body and you don’t need a gym membership to make it happen. It makes me a little crazy to think of all the people who get in their cars and drive to the gym to exercise when they could just walk out their door and have their workout in front of them. All you need is a decent pair of shoes, which you should have no matter what type of exercise you choose.

Cycling is even better for those with joint and muscle problems. If you are overweight, it’s even easier for your joints to handle cycling than walking. Of course, this requires the bicycle, but you can find pretty good equipment at bike swaps, garage sales and online. Buy something inexpensive to start and upgrade as soon as you know you’re going to stick with it.

Yoga has now been proven to lower blood pressure, help with weight loss, reduce stress (which causes a whole host of other health issues) and may calm an irregular heartbeat. (http://tinyurl.com/3l3x8vk for the article on this particular issue.) It’s great because it helps you get limber, makes you focus on your breathing to keep you aware and also requires very little investment. A yoga mat and comfortable clothes are all you need, although blocks and a strap are sometimes handy.

Tai Chi Chih is the beginning step for those interested in martial arts. It teaches you control and is gentle on your body, which makes it great for those who don’t intend to take up more vigorous forms of exercise. No equipment or special clothing necessary and you can do it indoors or out, depending on the season and the weather.

Swimming is a great summer activity. There are outdoor pools and, if you’re lucky, lakes to tempt you. It’s gentle on your body and the only “equipment” you need is a suit. With this exercise, you use your own body’s weight to firm and tone your muscles.

Hiking is like walking, but the irregular ground uses your muscles in a more complete way, making you more stable overall. Plus, hiking allows you to get away from city noise and pollution and truly reconnect with yourself, and maybe your dogs.

Jogging is a wonderful way to burn calories and get zen at the same time. I never believed it until I started jogging, but it truly puts you in a “zone” where you feel at peace and pretty darn happy. If you are feeling strong in your walking routine, you can start by adding in a minute or two of jogging for every five minutes of walking. This is called doing intervals and is a great workout as well. Eventually you will work your way up to running longer distances until you are comfortable with where you are. Try to find dirt or gravel paths to lessen the impact on your joints.

Trail Running is a blend of hiking and jogging, and would be my favorite form of exercise if I were in a little better shape. You get that magic blend of great workout, beautiful scenery, softer ground and the runner’s high. What more could you want?

Of course, there’s kick boxing, climbing, all kinds of martial arts and even dancing, so no matter what, you should be able to find something that makes you happy and keeps you going.

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Entry filed under: Eating.

Food of the Month: Raspberries Gluten-free Spinach Quiche

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