Just like food, fitness is a big part of your overall health and well-being. Fitness is looked at in so many different ways whether it be running, walking, lifting weights, yoga, etc. But over the years, social media has put a stigma on what a “good workout” should look like. Just because there is a celebrity online showing you their daily workout routine, does not mean that you will get the same results as them nor are you guaranteed to enjoy that workout. Prioritizing the best workout routine for you is so important because exercise should not be something that you dread doing.
Benefits of Exercise:
- Reduce stress levels
- Control weight
- Boost energy
- Promote better sleep
- And much more.
So why turn it into something you don’t like? There is no doubt that there is a right and wrong when it comes to performing certain exercises in order to reduce injury, but there is no workout that is going to suit every individual.
So how will you know what exercise works for you?
To begin, it is recommended that individuals get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. This can look different for everyone. How do you figure out what to do? Let’s take a look at different ways to find a workout that is right for you.
- Figure out your goals:
- The first step in creating a workout regime is to find out what your goals are. This could be things like weight loss, weight gain, increase muscle mass, improve flexibility, improve endurance, or even just to get your body moving more. Once you figure this out, it will narrow down what might work for you and what you may enjoy.
- Time Management:
- Think about how much time you are willing to invest into your health and how much your current lifestyle allows you to do. Of course, there are big responsibilities like taking care of kids, cooking for the family, going to work, etc. so make sure to find time to work around that without overwhelming yourself. If the recommended amount per week is 150 minutes, this could look like 5 days of 30 minute exercise or 3 days of 50 minute exercise. This could be split up to best fit your individual schedule.
- Workout style:
- You might be a beginner and feel intimidated in the gym or maybe you just need some change in your workout routine if it has been feeling repetitive or boring. There are so many options including group fitness classes, personal trainers, outdoor yoga, and more. Find out what interests you most and try it out. Some people have more fun with a group and others might like to focus only on themselves in a more private environment. Either way, there is no harm in trying something out because you might be surprised at what you actually enjoy doing.
- Online fitness videos at home
- Group Fitness classes
- Strength training
- HIIT classes
- Personal training
- Cleaning your house (yes, this can be hard work!)
Once you figure out these three things, try out a few different options until you find where you are most comfortable, but still feel challenged. This is the first step in Prioritizing the best workout routine for you.
Questions to ask yourself when starting a new workout or feeling burnt out on a workout:
Over time, you might change your mind and want to try new things, but there are a couple of important questions you must always ask yourself:
- Is your workout routine making you happy?
- Does your routine have positive impacts on your body? (ex. mentally and physically)
- Exercise should not be about how you look, but more so how you feel. Exercise can make such big positive impacts on mental health and sometimes that is more important than anything else. Exercise to make you feel good, not to look good.
If you answer no to any of these questions, then it is important to re-evaluate what you are doing and find something that you look forward to. Exercise should be fun and many times there is an outside pressure that makes us feel as if we need to be doing the same things as other people, when in reality, movement is movement regardless of the type. One day you might want to go on a five mile run and the next day you might just want to do some stretches and that is perfectly okay. As long as you’re happy and focusing on your health, then that is all that matters when it comes to prioritizing the best workout routine for you. Sometimes you might skip a workout altogether because you feel as if you will not be able to complete it to the best of your ability. Instead of skipping the workout, focus more on different ways to get your body moving.
Movement is key! Simple ways to get your body moving more:
- Park your car further when you go to the store.
- If you work a desk job, set an alarm as a reminder to move around even if it’s just for five minutes.
- Go for a walk during your lunch break.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Skip drive-thru options and walk inside (bank, pharmacy, food).
- Walk around while you are on the phone.
Not everything has to be complicated. Small things like this can make a big difference and will improve your health more than you think. Especially for individuals who work long hours sitting at a desk, movement is so important to prevent things like back problems and even blood clotting.
Important tips when it comes to exercise and social media:
- Don’t believe everything you see online
- Photos don’t reflect reality. People will post their best angles with the best lighting and that is not realistic.
- Try not to compare yourself to other people
- Like mentioned before, every person is different and something that works for you might not work for someone else or vice versa.
- Look at credible sources
- If you want to get deeper into fitness, make sure you’re getting your information from people who are credible because if someone has a large following on instagram it does not mean they are giving out the right information. Look at their credentials and education to determine their true knowledge in the industry.
Prioritizing the best workout routine for you is so important for both your physical and mental health. Find what works best for you and whatever makes you feel happy. Exercise is about improving both your physical and mental health, therefore it should be a positive experience. Small movement is still movement, so there is no need to beat yourself up for not doing the things that someone else might be doing.
Alexandra Horn, Dietetic Intern