Finding the right exercise is not always easy.  Often I see people in my office who have quit exercising because they had a bad experience or were unable to stick with it for a variety of reasons.  Often my patients have a very narrow view of what exercise is.  My purpose in this article is to help you discover the best exercise for you.  I know if you can do that exercise will be a regular part of your life and you will experience many of the awesome benefits that exercise brings.

The purpose of exercise is to change the body into something better.  Sometimes exercise occurs when we are accomplishing a task like mowing the lawn. Sometimes it is done more intentionally for fitness. Depending on what exercise is done the results of the exercise are very different.  Some exercises are great for building strength, others are good for melting fat and others are designed to make a person less prone to falls.  Yet not every exercise can be done by everyone.  If I wanted to get in shape by cross country skiing I would be out of luck in this desert.  So often there are certain logistical factors that make some great exercises relatively impossible.  Other factors like the existence of damaged joints or poor fitness level can limit what exercise can be done.  I used to be able to play full court basketball, but doing that now is very painful for my knee.  So there are several issues that factor into the best exercise.

  • What is the goal?
  • Are there any physical limitations?
  • What are the logistical factors?

The best exercise could be p90x, rowing, walking, hiking, backpacking, belly dancing, basketball, swimming, bike riding, weight lifting, hide and seek, running around the yard screaming and waving your arms, circuit training, jumping jacks, vigorous horseback riding, playing catch, those Wii things, golf (if you walk), working in the lumber department at The Home Depot, shopping at that Swedish store where you walk for miles through a maze, cross training, yoga, badminton, racquetball, whiffle ball, mixing concrete, climbing a tree, rock climbing, house cleaning, free running, tug of war, performing a really exuberant part in a play, falconry, fencing, wrestling, skipping on the beach singing the theme song of “Chariots of Fire,” being a Wipe Out contestant, shoveling, football, dancing to Audio Adrenaline cranked to 11, running from the police, running after bad guys, moving, lifting people just for the fun of it, archery elk hunting (rifle is too easy, therefore cannot be considered exercise), paddle boating, skiing (water and snow), playing on the freeway, playing games like paintball or air-soft or martial arts, snowball fights, a good shouting match, really enthusiastic hugging, throwing things, moving big rocks, planting a tree, and finally, building a fire with sticks could be the best exercise!

  • What good is an exercise if it doesn’t accomplish the physical changes a person needs?
  • What good is an exercise if by doing it a person is repeatedly injured, or existing injuries are aggravated?
  • What good is an exercise if it cannot be done due to logistical issues?

It doesn’t matter how good an exercise is physiologically, if it doesn’t accomplish what is needed, or if it can’t be done.  Right?  Occasionally I find a person who is exercising and is frustrated because his/her purposes for exercising are not being accomplished by the exercise.

The best exercise is:

  • The exercise you will DO, and
  • that accomplishes your GOAL, and
  • that does NOT HURT you.

I would love to know what you think about this.  Does this make sense?  Does it raise any other questions?

Most of all I hope it gets you thinking about doing exercise.  There are so many benefits to exercise, and there are few things you can do for yourself that will give back as much.  See my article about the top 25 proven benefits of exercise HERE if you need some motivation to get moving!

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