When I work with clients I get asked many things, and last week I got asked what I believe is the best exercise for people to do. We may have little control of the people and events around us, but we can control how we treat our body. And by practicing self care we build a strong healthy body ready to weather the storms that life inevitably throws at us.
So what was my response?
As a previous Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor (knee surgery changed the direction of my own wellness journey…) I know that exercise is the absolute cornerstone for anyone looking to achieve their very best level of health. But the best type?
Like anything, it all comes down to what feels good for your body.
It also comes down to balance.
Whilst exercise can become as complicated as you want to make it, the simplest way to know if what you’re doing is good….is to listen to your body.
If you’re body feels energised and recharged after exercise, that’s your body’s way of letting you know it’s a happy camper! But, if you feel like you need to sleep all afternoon after a mornings training…. well it’s most likely not the most supportive exercise choice.
The wrong type of exercise can hurt your health
I absolutely love high intensity training, mostly because of the way my body feels after. I feel like I could fly with the natural high it leaves me with.
However, in the past when I’ve suffered from a high degree of stress, this type of exercise can leave me feeling completely drained.
If you’re suffering from high stress or adrenal fatigue, high intensity exercise could cause some serious harm to your health. It can place additional stress on those adrenal glands of yours. And this my friend is not good.
My first choice is always walking, yes walking
Is walking even exercise I hear you ask? Walking is amazing for lots of ways including:
- You’ll burn through excess fat: brisk walking allows your body to burn fat at a steady rate. You’ll also be less likely to feel depleted at the end and therefore not tempted to snack on those sugary foods afterwards…
- It makes you fitter. Yes truly. Regular walking at a brisk pace builds your aerobic capacity (a fancy term which means your ability to move oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and to remove any waste). Overtime a higher aerobic capacity allows your body to work more effectively and efficiently. Double thumbs up!
- You’ll be detoxing your body at every step. Unlike your blood which has your heart as a pump to move all those nutrients around your body, your lymphatic system (which helps to rid your body of toxins and waste) relies 100% on your body movement to work. So get moving!
Walking is also low stress on the body, and helps you manage other life’s stresses – helping you to process your thoughts and gain a different perspective on things. I also use it as a time to listen to my favourite podcasts and gain inspiration for both my business and my life.
How much walking should you do?
We know of course that there is no golden standard (as we’re all so different), so make sure you listen to the messages your body gives to YOU.
As a starting goal, aim to walk 30minutes 3 times a week. If this feels too much, you can break that 30minutes into two x 15minutes blocks which you can spread through the day.