Everyone knows that they should exercise. It has been drummed into us that at least 30 minutes per day is essential for health and wellbeing. Exercise is extremely well researched and it is big business. You just have to look at the number of gyms, studios, competitions/events, youtube channels, magazines, and Facebook/instagram posts that are out in the world today. But, what type of exercise is the best? Well first and foremost for those people who don't like to exercise and would rather be doing anything else, the best type of exercise is the type that you will do on a regular basis. It doesn't matter if it is walking, hiking, dance, or pole fitness, if it gets you moving and it is something that you will do regularly, do that!
If you like to move your body and get a sweat up then this list is for you. I am going to break down some of the workout options so you can make the best decision for your workouts based on your personality, and time, financial and health constraints. To keep it simple I am only going to talk about those options that you pay for and are more organized and obviously it won't be an exhaustive list!
This is definitely the most expensive option and something that should always compliment other activities and workouts. Like anything, there are good ones and bad ones so it is important to do your research before shelling out the money. Personal training is for those people who like the personal attention of a trainer and can be really beneficial if training for a specific event or coming back from an injury.
Having a traditional gym membership is not something that I advocate many people utilize. If you are looking to see results and improve your fitness, a traditional gym is a hard way to make it happen. Like I said earlier, fitness is extremely well-researched and unless you are into learning about it, you are probably doing it all wrong! Spending hours a week doing cardio on the treadmill or elliptical and spending some time on weight machines may get you results initially, but sooner rather than later you will hit a plateau, get bored and stop going. The traditional gym gives you no accountability, little to no guidance, and no extra motivation.
CrossFit is a fitness methodology based around functional movement. If you want to get stronger and fitter for hiking, biking, hunting, or a specific sport, this is the type of workout for you. If you just want to lose a bit of weight and feel fit again, this is for you. If you miss the competitive aspect of sports but don't necessarily want to be tied into a schedule or season of recreational sports, this is for you. The great thing about CrossFit is you don't just get a workout, you get a community of like minded individuals. You become a part of something and as an adult, this can be easily lost in the day-to-day of life. You are held accountable for your workouts, missed when you don't show up, and there is objective measures to show you how much fitter and stronger you are getting. Can you tell that I do CrossFit?
These are low impact options that can be scaled in intensity depending on your goals. These both are great compliments to other forms of exercise and help not only strengthen the body but rejuvenate the mind. I have put them in the same group even though they are pretty distinct.
Things such as training for a marathon, triathlon, or long distance bike race are considered endurance events. While this can be the cheapest option because all you need to buy is a pair of shoes and then head out into the world to run, it is definitely the most time consuming. Getting your body ready for a race that may take anywhere from three hours or more is hard work and you have to be dedicated to it. This type of training can be extremely hard on the body because of the repetitious nature and make you prone to overuse injuries. In fact, up to 54.8% of male runners competing in the Rotterdam marathon reported having a lower leg injury in the previous year! These events are also for those self-motivated individuals who like to spend a lot of time with their thoughts and/or training partner.
Again, exercise comes down to personal preference and the best exercise for you is the type that you will do on a regular basis. For a lot of people that is doing a little bit of everything and that is also a great option! Keeping your workouts stimulating and challenging will keep you on track for your fitness goals.