We all know that exercise is meant to be good for you, and if you’re like me, then perhaps you often feel that you could (or should) be doing more.
But what exercise should you do?
Well, I get asked this question a lot. In fact, it’s one of the most frequent questions I get.
In short, my answer always ends up being – do the exercise you enjoy doing, in a time and place that as easy as possible for you to get to, with people you enjoy spending time with.
Another way to look at it is to ask yourself the following questions. What exercise do you enjoy doing? What do you have easier access to? Do you have any friends who already do that kind of exercise?
The reason I ask this is that in my opinion, people don’t generally continue doing any particular exercise because it’s good for them, they do it because they enjoy it.
Now, if you love to do something, the second and third questions are less important. But knowing you only need to drive 5 minutes down the road to do something you love to do with a good friend, will definitely help get you out of bed on a cold and dark winter morning. And it’s a good thing to stack the odds in your favour of keeping your exercise routines going when it’s not all sunshine out there.
While systems of exercise like pilates or yoga are theoretically good for you, if you don’t enjoy them, then it’s easy to lose motivation to keep going. And often you’ll come up with excuses for why you can’t go to the class. You’re too tired, or you’re still a bit sore from the last class. You have to work, or any of a million other retrospective excuses we can use to justify the fact that we just don’t want to spend time on that activity.
But these excuses tend to happen less if you see the exercise as fun and enjoyable. If you don’t see the exercise as exercise, but as something that you love to do. Then it’s a fun activity that happens to involve exercise and happens to be good for you. At that point it’s possible to enjoy that hard work and pain that exercise can involve.
The next part of the equation is – where and when does this activity take place? Is it a 5 minute walk away or do you have to drive for an hour? And does this activity take place at a time that you can easily make or do you have challenges getting to it? If it stacks up to be hard to get to, in time and place, well that’s another barrier to doing it.
The final bit is can you do it with a friend or someone you enjoy spending time with? This kind of links in with what we know as the 4 major determinants of health – exercise, sleep, diet, and social interactions. These 4 things account for the vast majority of our health and well-being and if you can combine 2 of them (exercise and social interactions) then all the better.