This week, one of my clients mentioned to me how confused she is about which types of exercise are best for her. It seems everybody has a different opinion as to what the best type of exercise is and how much you should be doing it. Even the “experts” disagree on these issues, so it is difficult to discern sometimes what you should be doing. Most of the time, we’re told by doctors that in order to improve our health, we need to “diet and exercise” – and then we’re left to our own devices to figure it out from there. Then, when you start visiting various professionals, some might tell you to do yoga. Some say pilates. Some say weight lifting. Some say to work your “core”… I imagine that most people don’t even really know what their “core” is or how to work it.
I don’t have a definitive answer for you, but I can give you a tip. You must first ask yourself what your priority is when it comes to exercise. Do you have a nagging injury that needs to heal? Then you should visit a chiropractor and/or a physical therapist, as well as your doctor, of course. If you have a clean bill of health, and you are interested in weight loss, then I would suggest a combination of strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility. However, it is very important to pay attention to strengthening your core (i.e. those deep stabilizer muscles in the abdomen, low back, hips, and buttocks) because that’s the foundation. I personally like to use the stability ball during weight training, because I feel like it “kills two birds with one stone” in that regard. If you are interested in more flexibility training, as well as a great way to relax, then I would suggest yoga. If you want a strengthening/toning program that will not necessarily cause you to lose weight, then pilates might be for you.
So, to help clear up the confusion somewhat, my answer to this dilemma is to choose your exercise based on your fitness goals. Also, find exercises that you enjoy – because as I have always said, the best exercise program is the one you’ll stick with!