We all need it, some of us love it, and some of us hate it. But exercise is important. I think this is all common knowledge. But what is not common knowledge is how to figure out the best exercise plan for ourselves. There are so many types of exercises and so many exercise hypes, that it’s often hard to figure out which one is right for you. I know I have fallen for a lot of exercise hypes and ended up getting frustrated when they didn’t make me feel good. But when exercise feels good, it feels really good.
The first factor when figuring out which exercise works for you is the time of day. For some people exercise can be exhausting, but for other people it is exhilarating and helps them wake up. I definitely fall into the former category for the first month, and then it makes me feel great. You also need to factor in your schedule. Are your mornings sacred or are your afternoons and evenings reserved for friends and family. Classes are offered all day long at gyms and studios, but a lot more gyms are also open 24 hours for night owls or people who work a later shift.
The workout setting is also really important. A lot of women are scared of the big machines in a traditional gym, but some level of weight training is important. Classes usually offer weights without the fear of the loud machines. Some people also aren’t comfortable working out in front of people. There are a lot of apps that allow you to do classes at home (I love Daily Burn). Equipment is also becoming smaller and more affordable to allow for easy storage and affordability.
One of the most important things to decide when figuring out your chosen exercise are your goals. Most people want to be healthy, but what specifically do you want to accomplish. Do you want to slim down or gain strength? Do you want to complete a race or just improve yourself?
I prefer to exercise in the morning when I still have control of my day. I also prefer to exercise in a gym, but living in downtown Charleston it has become so much more cumbersome to travel, so I’ve begun exercising at home. My goal is also just to tone up. I am already pretty small, but I’m not strong. I also need to stretch more. I have slight ligament damage on the back of my neck and get really bad headaches unless I keep the muscles along my neck and upper back loose. For all of these reasons, I’ve found that pilates on DailyBurn is my best option. It noticeably decreases my headaches and makes me feel really good. I also am trying to start walking my dog several times a week for some cardio for me and her.
A combination of strength and cardio is very important, but it’s almost impossible to specialize in everything. Virtually every daily activity requires some strength and some cardio, and your day to day life can be improved with a healthy balance. But most importantly, remember to take rest days and stretch every day. Yoga is always a good choice, but there are a lot of stretching tutorials available on Youtube, here is one of my favorites.