Most people know that exercise is good for them but sometimes don’t know where to start. Today, with so many exercise modalities, options are more extensive than a few decades ago, and it can be easy to become so overwhelmed by choices that you get stuck doing nothing.
That’s definitely not the way to go! Any exercise, regardless of modality, and performed correctly, is better than none at all. Every little effort counts.
Where to begin depends on your goals and the equipment available to you. If you want to run a 5K, then you need to be jogging outside and/or on a treadmill. If you aim to lose weight, you need a consistent cardio and strength routine. And if you need to increase core strength and/or flexibility, you might try yoga or Pilates.
An ideal, well-balanced exercise routine includes three categories of exercise: cardiovascular activity, strength training and flexibility. Within these categories, several modalities exist.
- Cardio – jogging/running outside or on a treadmill, cycling outdoors or on a stationary bike, elliptical, climber, rower, lateral trainer, upper-body ergometer, vigorous dance, kickboxing, aerobics classes, jumping rope, swimming, cross country skiing, inline skating and more
- Strength training – free weights, selectorized machines, plate-loaded machines, kettlebells, medicine balls, resistance bands/tubing, suspension straps, calisthenics/body weight
- Flexibility – stretching machines, freestyle stretches (or with straps), yoga and Pilates
Among these categories, one modality isn’t necessarily better than the others. It’s a matter of what’s available to you. Ideally, you can vary modalities when possible to incorporate cross training for greater benefits to your body and mind. But if you just aren’t a runner, you don’t have to force yourself to run. Simply choose other modalities that you enjoy and change your routine periodically to stay challenged and fresh.
Different modalities provide important variety that can help you get results and stay motivated for a lifetime of valuable exercise.