For our inaugural blog post, we decided that we'd address a question PT's get asked on a regular basis. A lot of our patients either weren't big exercise fans before starting PT or they've just been hurting too bad to do any exercises for awhile. As people start getting past their pain and get in a little exercise routine, we commonly get asked by our patients what is the best form of exercise. The answer to that question is simple and is the same for EVERYONE. The best form of exercise is... wait for it....THE ONE THAT YOU WILL DO. Unless you are Michael Phelps or LeBron James, specificity in training and exercise isn't all that important. For the other 99.99999% of us, what matters is simply finding a method of exercise that you enjoy, or at least tolerate. Compliance and consistency are the keys, not how many sets and reps you do.
Here's the bottom line... find a form of exercise you like and go do it. If you hate running, don't try to be a runner. If your butt hurts when you ride a bike, get off the bike. Don't punish yourself. The fitness world has embraced this idea so well in the last few years. There is every option imaginable out there right now for group fitness classes and routines. You've got CrossFit, Boot Camp, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, Line Dancing, Tia Chi, Pole Dancing, Insanity, P 90X, 8 Minute Abs, 7 Minute Abs, Surfing, Swimming, Biking, Running, Lifting, StrollerFit, Hiking, Silver Sneakers, Chair Exercise, Rock Climbing, Skateboarding, Water Aerobics, Step Aerobics, Sweatin To The Oldies, and the list keeps growing every day. There is literally something out there for EVERYONE. Movement is exercise, so find something that makes you move and keep doing it.
If you've always liked basketball, dust off your Chuck Taylors and find a pickup game.
If you like to swim, slip on the old Speedo and hit the pool.
If you like to dance, grab the baby oil and glitter and join a pole dancing class.
Or I guess you could try Zumba, too.
Exercise is about being healthy. So much of that is mental as well. You see the runners with their "Cheaper Than Therapy" shirts on. It's true. When the body is moving, the mind is healthier as well. People have gotten this ridiculous notion that exercise has to be something you hate and dread. It doesn't. If you do it right, it should be strenuous, but it doesn't have to be unpleasant. And if it's almost even kinda fun, you're a whole lot more likely to do it.