Often times I’m asked, “What’s the best workout for fat loss?” To which I promptly reply, “45 minutes of vigorous running uphill paired with 30 minutes of lifting weights.” Just kidding. The truth is, there is no one best exercise. Although its not a particularly exciting answer, the very best exercise you can do is what is fun and enjoyable for you.
If something is fun 1) you’re more likely to stick with it 2) you’re less likely to overcompensate with your diet by eating more. In one study participants were asked to walk a mile, either for exercise or for pleasure. The participants walked the same mile at roughly the same speed.
However, the exercise group ranked the one mile walk as more strenuous and less enjoyable. The exercise group also consumed more food at the meal provided after the walk than the pleasure walkers did. Clearly, your mindset matters.
Now that we know that having fun is a key factor for a good fitness plan, let’s take a look at our options. Personally, I’m a gym-goer during the week, and a hiker/rock climber/dodge ball player on the weekends. I really believe you have to find the activity that is right for your personality and fitness level. If you hate going to the gym, that is A-okay. Don’t go to gym. Try some of the alternative activities listed below.
If you are a nature lover, try:
- Walking or rollerblading at the beach or park
- Stand up paddle board
If you are a thrill seeker, try:
- Rock Climbing
- Mountain biking
- Water skiing or wake boarding
If you are a former high school or college athlete, try:
- Adult recreational sports leagues
- Spin class
- Boot Camp workouts
- Running in local races- 5k, 10K
- Tennis, golf, volleyball
If it’s been a while since you’ve done physical activity, try:
- Swimming or walking in a pool
- Yoga or pilates for beginners
- Stationary bicycle
Whichever activity you choose, avoid seeing exercise as a form of punishment. You are exercising because it feels good, it helps your body stay healthy, and most importantly, it’s fun!