We all know we should exercise more. But still we all have excuses for why we don’t. For some of us, that excuse is I’m too busy, I’m too stressed out, or I’m too out of shape. For others, it’s Exercise is boring, or I hate to break a sweat. These excuses keep many of us from enjoying our optimal level of health.
But if we take the time to identify the source of our resistance to exercise, then we can figure out what type of workout is best for our personality and lifestyle. After all, there’s a perfect workout for all of us. Many of us just haven’t found it yet.
So, in honor of National Fitness Month, we decided to help. Read on to find the workout that’s best suited to you—so you can stop making excuses and start getting fit!
Personality Type 1: You like to get your workout over with as quickly as possible.
If the prospect of an hour-long jog makes you break out in a cold sweat, don’t despair: recent research has shown that super-short workouts can be equally as effective as longer ones. According to The New York Times, high-intensity short workouts provide “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time.”
“How short?” you might be asking. Well, just five to ten minutes of exercise has been shown to improve health outcomes—as long as the exercise is done in intervals, short bursts of relatively intense activity separated by brief periods of rest. Two such exercises have attracted a lot of attention in the past year: The New York Times’s 7-Minute Workout, and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 12-Minute Workout. Both workouts involve a sequence of a dozen or so familiar exercises (like squats, lunges, toe touches, and wall sits) that are each done for about 30 seconds, with a short rest period between each one.
Besides their short length, the most appealing part of these workouts is that they can be done at home with no special equipment, and they can be tailored to your fitness level. If you aren’t already in tip-top shape, you can start slowly and give yourself longer rest periods between exercises. As you become more fit, you can gradually increase the intensity of your workout, so that it’s challenging but not exhausting.
Still not convinced? Here’s what actress Helen Mirren has to say about the 12-Minute Workout: “It is the exercise I have done off and on my whole life. It just very gently gets you fit.”
Personality Type 2: You’re always too stressed out to exercise.
At the end of a long, hard day, it’s almost impossible to resist the siren song of the sofa. However, these are the times that our bodies and minds need exercise the most. So, if you’re too stressed and exhausted to go to the gym, try a gentle at-home workout that actually reduces your stress: yoga.
Yoga is fantastic for maintaining flexibility and lightly toning the body, and it’s gentle enough that it restores your energy instead of sapping it. By doing yoga in a quiet place while focusing on your breath and movement, you can calm your chattering mind and release your pent-up stress.
If you’ve never even touched a yoga mat, you can learn how to do it in the comfort of your own home with this beginner’s yoga DVD. As you begin, be careful not to push yourself too hard or try any complicated contortions. If you feel any pain in a position, simply stop and move on to the next. And don’t forget to use a foam roller after yoga to work out any knots in your muscles and decrease the likelihood of soreness the next day.
Personality Type 3: You hate to sweat.
If the unpleasantness of sticky, sweaty workouts has turned you off exercise, consider diving in to a swimming routine. This low-impact exercise is easy on the joints, tones the entire body, improves balance, and decreases arthritis pain. And you can access these health benefits without feeling a single bead of sweat roll down your face.
To get started on swimming, find a gym or community center in your area that offers aquatic exercise classes. Doing instructor-led water aerobics can be a great way to maintain your motivation and keep on track with your fitness goals.
Personality Type 4: You know you need to work out more—but you’d rather be doing almost anything else instead.
If you feel that exercise hogs your time and keeps you from your favorite hobbies, you might want to consider multitasking. An in-home exercise bike or elliptical machine lets you get a workout in while watching TV shows, listening to podcasts, or even reading a magazine. Having an exercise machine in the corner of your living room or garage allows you to hop on at any time and be entertained while working out. It goes a long way toward cutting boredom and making you forget how hard you’re sweating.
Personality Type 5: You dislike strenuous workouts.
If you seriously dislike getting your heart rate up, it’s still possible for you to maintain good health. Walking briskly for 15–30 minutes a day can be enough to improve cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, and balance blood sugar levels. It can also help you keep a healthy body weight and reduce the risk of obesity.
If a short walk around the neighborhood isn’t quite challenging enough for you, try Nordic walking (a full-body workout that involves light walking poles), or learn how to burn more calories while walking with this Walking for Weight Loss DVD.
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