How do you find out what exercise suits you best?

I’m probably the best person to give you this piece of advice; for I have over the years tried my hand at almost every thing that there is across the spectrum of fitness. From Walking to Zumba, Spinning, and Weight Training I’ve tried it all. But over the years I figured that the reason I couldn’t stick to any exercise plan was mainly due to my disinterest in it, my low levels of motivation and the disappointing end result that came with those exercises that made me give up easily. There never really was anything that I considered fun yet effective. I’ve duly done my share of charity by donating exorbitant amounts (paying for the whole year) to fancy gyms and not showing up after 2 months and also engaging in a personal trainer who almost broke my back (after making me do about 80 crunches on Day 2 of my training!) So you get what I’m saying?

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But something different happened in December 2014, a friend and her mother recommended that I try yoga. Sure, I thought to myself. Yet another flavor that I need to taste. I found a place close to home and showed up for a trial class. By the end of one hour, I realized I had inhabited the space on the entire mat yet hadn’t moved outside its boundaries. The class left me sweating like I had walked out of a steam room and immense pain in the muscles I’d never known I had! Moreover I was spellbound by the flexibility of the other students who could do headstands with such ease and literally put their toes on their shoulders and walk! (Okay, I’m exaggerating – but you catch my drift?!).

That day I decided I would take this up until I turned out equally flexible – or – could show off my stunts at the next family gathering!

A month passed by, then another, soon I found myself attending these classes regularly and still enjoying it. Every class was different than the other, our teacher pushed us to do more. Soon I completed a year and lost about 8 kgs without sticking to a particular diet or without including any other form of exercise. I hadn’t changed my lifestyle and ate and drank everything that came my way. That led me to think about what I could achieve if I did follow a diet and probably walked a few kilometers. It’s been about a week now and I go for brisk walks, I’m still a work-in-progress but I know for sure that this is my poison. I love Yoga and will never give it up.

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Here are some things you may want to consider when you are figuring out what exercise suits you best.

  1. Don’t make it all about weight loss/weight gain. Sometimes you need to enjoy what you are doing, so if you like dancing you could enroll for Zumba, if you think you enjoy cycling do take up Spinning. This way you will keep yourself focused and stick to your exercise plan because you enjoy it. You shouldn’t have to do something you dread. I remember pushing myself and walking into the gym, I loathed the feeling. So, pick something you like doing. There’s always something for everyone.
  2. Pick up an exercise that shows you results, preferably in a span of 3 months. Remember not to aim for quick results as they can be harmful for your body. Anything that makes you lose or gain weight instantly is not natural. Give yourself ample time to obtain the results. That’s called being realistic.
  3. While it’s alright to push yourself to do more, be mindful not to overdo anything. Give your body time to recover from the strenuous workout sessions and occasionally surprise your body. So even if you are doing only cardio, we suggest you mix and match your exercises for the week so that it doesn’t get monotonous.
  4. One of the most important things is to get a good coach/trainer/teacher. It makes a lot of difference. One of the main reasons I have stuck onto yoga like a leech is because of my instructor. His knowledge on the subject, self-confidence in making us do various things and his virtue is remarkable.
  5. Pick a program that suits your lifestyle too. What I mean by that is, for instance, I have never been into jogging or running all my life and due to a knee problem I will never be able to take it up. So, training for a marathon is out of the window! If you’ve had previous injuries or medical conditions, you must consult your doctor before taking up any hardcore physical activities.

It’s just a matter of getting used to something and once you have made this part of your routine, then not doing it will become an odd thing. So, use your discretion and think about the long run before you pick your new workout schedule.

Tell us what works for you, we would love to hear from you.

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