There aren’t many things that everyone has in common, but exercise, and the question of its importance in life, seems to be universal. This is sometimes the first advice that doctors dole out, citing that some activity would do a world of good to ease common afflictions that keep us from getting through the day or even sleeping well at night.
Late night television is full of infomercials selling the latest exercise routines and DVDs. The screen is filled with awe-inspiring transformations. Daytime talk shows have a parade of doctors and fitness experts reminding people that exercise is beneficial, even necessary, for our bodies to be happy and healthy. People give testimony to how exercising has improved their lives, helping mentally as well as physically. Physical fitness not only helps create a body which is able to go through the day easily, but it also affects our moods as well. There are many misconceptions people share about exercise and we are here to give the truth.
You may have heard that exercise doesn’t count unless you are sweating it out- or that your daily steps count as exercise. Don’t let your smartwatch fool you. While 20,000 steps a day is an impressive feat, is it really exercise? The answer is even though walking miles a day for a job is exhausting, if the heart rate never increases or the lungs never work faster, no real exercise has occurred. This should happen over a sustained period of time as well. Two minutes here and there may not be enough to get the blood pumping.
You may have heard that exercise doesn’t count unless you are working out in a gym or with a trainer. Think about an activity that will be fun. If doing 20 repetitions of the same move is going to be boring, then a step aerobics class may not be the best choice. Love the outdoors? Running may be the way to go, with running paths and hiking trails. Enjoy groups of people working out and sharing their exercise journey together? Gyms have a plethora of group classes, for professionals and even ones for complete beginners.
Many people have been led to believe that they need top-of-the-line equipment to start exercising, but there are actually many exercises that can be done with minimal equipment. Think about what kind of exercise is being done. Cycling obviously requires a bike and protective gear such as a helmet. Most practitioners of yoga or Pilates prefer non-slip mats so the movements can be done safely. Runners ought to have a good pair of shoes to avoid injury. DVDs or online subscriptions may also be part of the bargain if at-home fitness is the goal. An activity may require some investment, such as classes.
Many people have been convinced that exercise has to happen in the gym but one of the appeals of exercise is that it can be done anywhere there is space to move. The living room and bedroom usually have enough room for at least a yoga mat. Many at-home workouts are built around small living spaces to appeal to all consumers. All buildings are required to have stairs for fire safety. Gyms are nicely air-conditioned and fully equipped for almost any activity if paying for space is acceptable.
Many people may have heard that weight-lifting does not classify as a true exercise, but that isn’t the case. The simple answer is yes- weight lifting is exercise. The heart rate is increased and the breath shortens by the effort used to lift the weights, even if it is just bodyweight exercises such as a push-up. Weight lifting is not generally completed in 5 minutes, so the activity is sustained over a period of time. Combined with aerobic exercise, weight lifting can increase weight loss and strengthen the muscles need to complete other exercises. It’s a win-win situation.
You don’t have to join a gym to start working out but gyms can be a great place to start if you’ve never exercised before. The group classes offered can help with learning the moves associated with common routines and a crowd to hide behind until the nervousness fades. A gym also provides access to professional trainers and people who use the equipment on a regular basis. Joining a gym is not a requirement for exercise. Millions of people manage every day without setting foot in one.
With a little bit of space and planning, anyone can begin exercising. It doesn’t even have to be expensive! Exercise can be a gateway into a new activity, with new friends and places, and help improve overall health. With the endless possibilities presented by location, materials, and ability, exercise is literally for everyone.
The information contained in this article should not be used to replace the advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical doctor, certified personal trainer, therapist, dietitian, or nutritionist.