The fact is, there isn’t one exercise that’s perfect for everyone. It’s important to pay attention to the needs of your particular body. If you’re prone to osteoporosis, you’ll want to do weight bearing exercises like walking, running, dancing and weight lifting. Swimming and bicycling are non-weight bearing exercises, which don’t strengthen the bones.
They do, however, work your cardiorespiratory system and tone the body. They’re also great for people who are overweight or have joint issues.
People with arthritis need to move their bodies gently, even if it hurts, making sure they don’t push their joints to their end range of motion. If joints hurt non-arthritic people during exercise, they should stop immediately, and perform a modification or a different exercise. Older people may need to incorporate more balance and flexibility into their routine, while young athletes may need to focus on agility and power movements. Abdominal exercises are extremely important for the vast majority, regardless of age or ability, but are contraindicated for pregnant women and people with hernias.
There are four components to exercise for a really thorough workout: Strengthening, stretching, cardiorespiratory training (aerobics) and balance. It’s common for those who are naturally flexible to gravitate toward yoga and stretching, when what they really need is more strengthening exercises to balance them out. On the contrary, people who are naturally strong and easily build muscle tend to gravitate toward strength training, but should incorporate more stretching into their routines to keep them from injury.
To figure out what type of exercise you should do, the number one question to ask yourself is, “What do you like to do?”
If you like what you’re doing, you’re more apt to keep with it. Follow up with these questions: Do you need to adapt the exercise(s) to stay safe? Will it help you accomplish your fitness goals? Does your routine include stretching, strengthening, aerobics and balance work? Do you need a trainer to show you correct form, inspire you, give you new ideas or keep you motivated?
Exercise of some form should be done every day. That’s not to say that if tennis is your workout, that you should play tennis every day. It’s good to mix up your activities so you work your muscles differently.
Abdominal exercise, aerobics, balance and stretching should be done at least three times per week, but can be worked every day. Strength training should be done at least twice per week, but not more than every other day. For those who work their bodies hard, I recommend taking one day off each week for rest.
If you have an injury, don’t assume you can’t exercise. If one part of your body can’t exercise, then work the parts you can. People in wheel chairs should exercise. People with arthritis should exercise. People with cancer should exercise. Depressed people should exercise. People with heart conditions should exercise. People with hip replacements should exercise. Of course all these situations require a different form and level of exercise, but none the less, these issues should not keep you from doing something.
Exercise improves mood, combats chronic disease, helps manage your weight, boosts your energy level, promotes better sleep, and more. If you’re not sure what you can or should do, ask a professional for advice. I do not recommend learning from the Internet, as there is a lot of misinformation there.
Once you settle in on an exercise routine, do everything you can to make it enjoyable. Find a partner, or put on your favorite music, so you’ll want to do it. Once you start seeing improvements, you’ll find it easier to stay with it, and you’ll be a healthier, happier person.