Many people think of sweating it out in the gym as exercise. If that does not appeal to you, consider one or more of the many alternatives.
Click here to read about the benefits of exercise.
Meditation, yoga and pilates can all fit into this category. None of them are rigorous enough to cause weight loss alone, so they need to be supplemented by cardio, strength training and controlled caloric intake.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that they are easy! Yoga and pilates may cause serious injury if done incorrectly. Always listen carefully to the instructions given. With yoga and pilates looks can be deceiving. An ‘easy’ position can be very difficult in practice, so take great care. Meditation can be hard in a different way. Blocking out distractions and your worries is not easy, so all three of these relaxing exercises will require a lot of practise.
You could join a yoga/pilates club or buy some DVDs. Always take advantage of any trial offers before signing up to the gym or classes, and do a lot of research before buying any DVDs. Celebrity endorsements and a few good reviews is not enough- thorough research will determine whether the routine suits you and your needs. You can do meditation for absolutely free. Just click here and follow the instructions.
Cardio falls into two categories: low and high impact exercise. The category each exercise falls under depends on how often your feet leave the floor. If you’re jumping around a lot, it’s probably high-impact. People with temporary or permanent injuries should stay in the low-impact region until it safe for them to progress.
There are many cardio exercises out there, so don’t feel that you are limited to the treadmill or other gym machines.
Arguably the most fun exercise there is, and everything is on your terms. You choose the music, you choose the dance moves, and it’s up to you how seriously you take it. Time passes so quickly when you’re having fun, so put on your favourite tunes and dance. Remember to warm up and cool down to slow/mid-tempos.
Your local fitness centre should have high and low-impact aerobics classes. Aerobics involves repeating a set of moves to some music. It is similar to dancing but more rigid and repetitive. If learning dance moves is too daunting, aerobics’ simpler routines are right for you.
Anyone can do this for free at their local park or in the street. You should be walking fast enough to be slightly winded, and going uphill is a bonus! If the thought of running or sprinting puts you off, start small. Focus on walking and jogging first, and build up to running and sprinting when you are ready.
These are machines on which the user must follow a set pattern. For example, on an exercise bike you must pedal continuously, a rowing machine involves you pulling on the handlebars until you slide back on your seat, etc. Ellipticals will not allow you to do different exercise from those they were designed to perform e.g. you cannot jog on a rowing machine.
If you don’t want to sign up to classes or design your own exercise routine, try exercise DVDs. There is a DVD to suit everyone: old, young, pregnant, post-natal, injured, beginner, intermediate and advanced. Read as many reviews as you can BEFORE buying to avoid disappointment. Don’t shun old tapes because there are some real gems from the past decade or two. Also, don’t be swayed by celebrity endorsements. Just because your favourite singer likes the routine, doesn’t mean that you will.
The modern alternative to getting fit and toned. There are various dance mats with games featuring chart music by artists you actually recognise. Now the Nintendo Wii has the Wii remote, board, and bands to enhance your fat burning the fun way. Nintendo DS is also great for those who want to keep track of their fitness with programs that can count your steps and plan your meals.
More exercise types are available here. Just browse the information and see what suits you. You might even come up with your own workouts. Don’t forget strength training or you’ll lose muscle mass and suffer from a low metabolism.