Life’s all about choices. Everyone’s destination is the same; only the paths are different.
– Sushmita Sen
Should I run? Should I walk? Should I cycle? Should I gym? or Yoga? So many options to choose from? What should I choose?
As you must have read in The Starting Problem, we need to find a workout that we enjoy. I started running because the option did not have any financial investment required like subscription or membership initially. I did not need any equipment. But majorly, the reason I chose running was that, I travel a lot for my work, and I can run anywhere. I just need to carry my running clothes and shoes. Also, I began enjoying the workout, and slowly improved my consistency. So, in order to proceed we need to make a choice of what form of workout do we need to do. Let us look at the various forms in detail:
1. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic Exercise, is a form of exercise that speeds up your heart rate and intensifies breathing. It is a very important form of exercise, that particularly focuses on the heart and lungs. While doing so it also tones up your full body. The exercise improves blood circulation, improves blood pressure, burns body fat. It is one of the most effective form of exercise to be used for weight loss or control comorbidities. These include brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing or zumba or aerobics etc.
2. Strength Training
Strength training is basically building your muscle mass. As we grow older, our muscle mass reduces and that is how we get weaker after a certain age. This form of exercise actually helps us re-build the lost muscle. We use our muscles in every action that we do, like sitting, walking, talking, gardening, standing and so it is important to somehow build this lost muscle mass. These exercises improve our posture, balance, controls weight, and reduces stress and pain. These mostly include body-weight exercises like squats, pushups, lunges etc. While in the gym, we can add weights to these exercises which will add to our body weight while exercising.
Stretching improves the flexibility of the muscles. This is the most neglected form of exercise. None of us really pay heed to it from our childhood. Aging and working out regularly leads to wear and tear of muscle, which in turn reduces the flexibility. Muscles actually contract and dont function properly. Probably, the reason why we have more knee pains, or joint pains as we grow older. Stretching muscles periodically, improves flexibility and your range of motion. It further reduces risk of injury and pains.
Steadiness helps you prevent falls and reflexes, and that is what balance exercises are all about. The exercises make you more agile. As we age, our vision, hearing and legs and joints weaken and break down, and these exercises help us with the same. Tai chi or Yoga fall into these exercises. Frankly, the earlier in life you begin these exercises, the better.
I began enjoying my exercising because I was consistent. Slowly, I took up Gym training to develop strength, then cycling to make my legs stronger, and eventually yoga and meditation to improve recovery and flexibility. You also need to make your choice of a form of exercise and try to be as consistent as much as possible, and then expand the levels slowly into all forms of exercises.
Somehow, in the long run, it is important to include all the above mentioned forms of exercise for overall self improvement. It is a myth that Running or Gymming or Yoga can cater to only one of these forms. I have seen various trainers / guides / facilitators who specialize in their own technique but use all these forms to make you stronger.
So, now I am sure this post can help you make an informed decision of what workout you will be doing today. Make your choice and do not keep that decision pending.
Stay Fit! Stay Healthy!