Newsflash - There is no One-Size Fits All



While we are focusing our attention here on the fun that revolves around participating in a race, running is only one of many, many forms of exercise. Your regime should incorporate a good mix of cardiovascular exercises, some type of strength workout and a healthy dose of stretching.  I've added some additional downloadable material for your viewing pleasure at the end of this page. The most important thing about exercise is that it should be something that you enjoy, otherwise you won't repeat it. There are lots of things to take into account when deciding on an exercise program. Do you prefer to be indoors or outdoors? Would you rather exercise with a pal or alone? Do you like music or peace and quiet? Are you a fan of regular sustained exercise or intervals?



There is a long list of health benefits that comes from being an exerciser. Regular exercise of course promotes weight loss, but it also enhances mood, boosts the immune system, improves sleep, aids balance and improves bone density, to name just a few benefits. So many of the physical benefits enjoyed by an individual with a healthy body can be attributed to the impact of participating in regular exercise. One of the best advantages is the effect on stress levels.  We can all complain about stress in our lives in some form or another. The difference between us is how well we handle it. Acute stress may save our life one of these days, but chronic stress can kill us. Exercise and socialization are the enemy of stress and will add years to your life compared to your stressed-out counterparts. 


One man's meat is another man's poison as they say. I don't enjoy the solitude of long distance running, whereas others may crave it and it is that aspect that keeps them running for a lifetime. Where you exercise is up to you and it doesn't have to cost a dime depending what you choose. If you enjoy running or walking in your neighborhood or on a designated trail, your only expense is a pair of sneakers (but don't scrimp by the way, you can't put a price on a good pair of shoes). For me, who prefers group exercise, the monthly gym membership is worth every penny.  These days, you can create a gym in the comfort of your own home with all the online resources available. Whether you spend an hour a day walking your dog, or 20 minutes doing high-intensity moves like plyometrics, burpees, jump-rope or jacks for example, the point is, you are doing something!



There is no hard and fast rule regarding the best time to exercise.  Some people are morning exercisers, others do better right after their work day is over, whatever time that may be. I've taught a class at 7pm on a Monday evening for the past 20 years and it hasn't done me any harm, although I will say if you generally go to bed early, don't exercise too late because, as you can imagine, it's hard to wind back down again after a vigorous workout. Find a time that works well with your weekly routine that you can sustain long-term. Whatever you decide, make sure you put it into your schedule and stick to it.  It's all too easy to put the needs of others ahead of yours, but this is one selfish necessity that your loved ones will benefit from when you reap the reward of a longer, healthier life.

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