Is going to the gym really necessary at all? well it depends on what you are looking for – if your search is for more than an aesthetically pleasing body then it definitely isn’t. This got me thinking more and more about simple exercise, the type of movement we evolved to do and enjoy doing. After all we should do things for the fun of it rather than by necessity.
I know a lot of people who have stopped lifting weights or running because they don’t like the way their body feels – the tightness, lack of mobility, tension, low energy and the time it takes. So then what options do we have? Quite simply to move and do stuff you enjoy – movement that mimics our natural patterns and movements, exercise that challenges our cognitive abilities and agility.
We do not stop exercising because we grow old – we grow old because we stop exercising. – Dr Kenneth Cooper
Here is a list. The best types of exercise:
Things you do naturally - think about how we really evolved to move, exercise would force us to move in various directions. It would mix running, walking, jogging, some resistance and stretching. Naturally we would move in short bursts and take our time with movement – some things being fast and explosive, others slow and graceful.
Things that are fun - What use is anything if it’s not fun. Don’t continue doing something because you feel as though you should – unless you are having fun with it within the first few times of trying just move onto the next thing. Whether it is Yoga, a new sport or an activity unless you enjoy it move on to the next one.
Stuff that makes you move in different directions - Backwards, forwards, side stepping. All these things are great for our muscles and mind.
Works your reflexes without you realising - Most sports fall into this category, whether it is something that involves throwing, running, or racquet sports these things all work on your reflexes without you even knowing. This will keep you mentally sharp and is what makes activity enjoyable.
Makes you feel good - I stopped doing heavy resistance training a while ago as it made me feel tight and tense. This isn’t the case for everyone doing heavy weighted exercise but it was for me – if exercise isn’t making you feel good then there is no point doing it. The same principle goes for stuff like running which many people keep on doing in spite of it tiring them out and making their joints ache all day. Unless something makes you feel good in the long run don’t do it.
Are Social - Remember how good it felt to play team sports or group activities when you were younger? Well we never really evolved to do much activity on our own – things are far more fun when we do them socially. This maybe a team sport, a group class or just playing around in the park or at the beach with friends. Social activity helps us build strong bonds, and makes exercise fun and engaging. Plus it gives you more of a reason to show up and actually do some exercise.
Has some form of resistance - The resistance doesn’t have to be every time you train or do some kind of activity but I feel that some kind of resistance training is very important. Whether it be some push ups a few days a week or a short and simple bodyweight workout you throw into your routine each week. Resistance training improves bone density and speeds up our metabolism – two very important things.
Take what you can from this list and try to figure out what type of exercise would suit you. It can take a while to figure things out but it’s worth it…..
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