Is All Exercise Created Equal?
If your New Year’s fitness resolutions have already gone out the window, you will want to really think about the type of activity that you can stick to—activities you won’t just drop because you don’t like doing them. In other words, if you’re not a fan of running, don’t include daily jogs in your fitness plan. Of course, as you switch up your activity to try and get fit, you may wonder if your preferred activity can give you the workout you need. While not all exercise is created equal, it’s not necessarily the specific activity that matters; it’s all about how hard you’re working doing a given activity.
The exact activity isn’t what counts.
In general, fitness experts will guide clients to go with what they know and love in terms of exercise. If you like yoga, do yoga. If you enjoy walking or hiking, keep those activities on your schedule. While some activities like running and martial arts and contact sports are naturally bigger calorie burners, they aren’t the only ways you can get fit.
The level of intensity matters.
If you’re worried about getting enough exercise, you should be less concerned with what you’re doing and more concerned with how much effort it requires you to do it. Take walking, for example. If you go on daily walks at a leisurely pace, you aren’t getting valuable exercise. If you pick up the pace and walk like you have somewhere to be, then you are putting in more effort at the level of moderate exercise. This is what you want to shoot for—activity that takes a dedicated effort but that doesn’t wipe you out. Ideally, you should get about 150 minutes of this type of activity weekly.
You can do too much too soon.
You can substitute 150 minutes of moderate level activity with 75 minutes of vigorous activity for the same heart health and fitness benefits. However, if you try to dive into a full-intensity activity without ramping up with moderate activity first, you can do more harm than good. The key to fitness success is doing just enough to challenge yourself without overdoing it. As you get in shape, your baseline will change, so you’ll need to be in tune with what works for you.
If you can’t seem to stick to a workout routine, MeMD can help. Check in with a medical professional to learn where you need to start with your exercise routine or call on one of our behavioral health specialists to help you stay on track.