Do-it-anywhere workout styles for your health.
Have you committed to adding more exercise to your routine? A common barrier to consistently exercising can be choosing your exercise activity. Should I walk or run? Lift weights? Swim? Should I try a specific type of training that takes less time with quicker results? In the beginning, adding exercise to your lifestyle can be slightly uncomfortable. Maybe you want to go to the gym, but the weight machine instructions are intimidating. Or perhaps you are excited to exercise but can’t seem to get all the proper essentials packed in your gym bag before you get out the door. Whatever it is, naming what keeps you from staying consistent and attacking those excuses is an essential step to staying committed.
A recent research study compared several types of exercise: a moderate, continuous exercise program and several High-intensity Interval Training (HIIT) programs. Investigators wanted to look at the difference between how demanding the workouts were on the body versus how difficult they were perceived to be by participants.
If you are interested in a deep dive between the exercise types and their outcomes, look at the research cited below. But for an average person trying to add in exercise, here is the takeaway. There is a significant difference between time spent on an exercise vs. perceived difficulty. We may often feel like we are dying during an exercise program, but based on the work we’re doing, we may not be working as hard as we think. In other words, two things can seem really different in terms of difficulty to a participant, but they can still have the same health benefit.
In this case, participants were cycling, and the HIIT programs required short sprints on the stationary bike in intervals, while the 45-minute moderate exercise did not. Knowing this, consider your personality and goals. Would you prefer to do an exercise that feels harder if it takes less time? Or are you more likely to show up for a more moderate activity for longer?
It is a question of the real thing that keeps you from exercising – does exercising take too much time, or is it too uncomfortable? An hour-long Zumba class may take up more of your day than a shorter, high-intensity workout. But if you are showing up and enjoying the exercise, this might be a better way to create consistency for your personality. Ask yourself, “What is the top priority for me?” If showing up is the most important part of your workout right now, choose an activity you enjoy and figure out more specific exercise goals later. If efficiency or other goals are more important, tailor your training to those needs.
Take a few minutes today to consider whether you are satisfied with your exercise consistency. Next, consider what keeps you from showing up, and create an exercise plan you can stick to each week. Want to know more about the power of exercising? Check our blog for more health and exercise-related research and tips.