The #1 Exercise—No Matter Who You Are

No.1 exercise

Kettlebells, Bikram yoga, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and CrossFit have all been the darling of the exercise world at one point or another, and some still are. Much like figuring out the superfood of the moment (I’m looking at you, wheatgrass), it can be sort of confusing figuring out how to be your healthiest self. But have no fear. I have a secret about the #1 exercise for you and every other human on this planet.

Before I spill though, let me ask a question: why does exercise even matter? According to Home Gym 101, there are a few reasons we should make the time to exercise:

  • To lower our risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and arthritis
  • To get better sleep at night (I may have mentioned the importance of sleep in the past)
  • To improve our mood: exercise kicks in those feel-good chemicals in our brain that combat stress and depression
  • To make us feel more amorous: exercise leads to increased energy and a positive self-image, plus it can make our bodies perform better (who doesn’t like the sound of that?!)

But as this article at Selene River Press points out, you can exercise all day, every day, but if you only eat garbage (I’m looking at you, doughnuts), then it ain’t gonna matter. You also need to supply your body with the nutrients it needs. So I guess this is where some of those superfoods can come in handy. Thank you wheatgrass, blueberries, grass-fed meats, and butter!

All right, the time has come. Are you ready to learn my secret about the #1 exercise that’s perfect no matter who you are? Shhhhhh…move a little closer, and I’ll whisper it in your ear. The #1 exercise, no matter who you are is…

Whatever activity keeps you motivated. Ha! Didn’t see that coming, did you? Yet it’s true if you really stop to think about it: any activity, as long as you do it regularly, is the #1 exercise for you.

Let’s look at a completely hypothetical example that in no way reflects actual events in my own life. ;) Say you think you should start running again, but there’s just one thing—you dread feeling that burning sensation in your lungs while you’re getting back into running shape. You dread it so much that all you do is talk about how great running is for your health—but you don’t actually go running. If this is the case, guess what? I—I mean you—should find another activity. Simply talking about the benefits of running isn’t nearly as beneficial as the act of running itself. Shocking, I know.

And so what if you’d rather take an hour-long brisk walk than a 30-minute run? At least you’re getting some physical activity, and I—I mean you—don’t have to force yourself to do it several times a week. Quite the opposite. You’d feel lost without your frequent delightful treks along the trails in your neighborhood. You go without even thinking about it. There’s great benefit to that. Maybe running will appeal to me—I mean you—in the future. Maybe it won’t. In the meantime, why not reap the rewards of whatever physical activity keeps you coming back for more? Throw in some jump roping, squats, pushups, and pull-ups for good measure, and always be on the lookout for new activities that peak your interest enough to, maybe, try them out.

No matter what type of physical activity you’re excited about, you can get a taste of it online first—there are tons of free resources out there. Here are just a few of them:

  • Fitness Blender is a great resource for HIIT workouts. They range from 10-minute sessions that focus on a particular muscle group to full-length workouts that focus on the whole body.
  • Mark’s Daily Apple is the creation of a highly respected guru of the Primal world. He shares all kinds of free information, including his Workout of the Week archives.
  • The mantra at 12 Minute Athlete is “Don’t waste life in a gym.” Instead, you can choose any workout from the extensive collection, and more are added every week. You can also get a free ebook called HIIT on the GO when you subscribe.

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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