We get asked a lot about what sort of exercises we think people should be doing to get in shape. As with many of the things I talk about on the blog, there are no hard and fast rules. I am so sick of people in the industry telling people that they HAVE to do XYZ to achieve some result that some chart says they should WANT to achieve. It drives me CRAZY!
Everyone has different goals and different things they want to achieve so the answer to the question, to some extent, depends on what you consider “in shape” to be. For most people, we aren’t really trying to look like Cindy Crawford. We might just want to fit into our clothes a bit better, or get into our favourite outfit from a few years ago. We want to be able to keep up with kids or walk up stairs without feeling like our lungs are going to explode. In shape, to some people, may have very little to do with their actual shape!
Becoming fit and healthy means very different things to different people. The size and shape of their body will feel most comfortable at different places for different people as well. We always encourage our clients to focus more on the lifestyle change and health and fitness improvements, letting their body shape take care of itself as a result of the changes.
The type of exercise you should do to support your goals will obviously depend on what you are hoping to achieve and what “in shape” actually means to you. In the vast majority of cases, a combination of cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training will result in some great overall improvements. And yes, if you are eating mindfully and with moderation – you will likely see a change in your body fat levels over time if you are consistent.
Most important though, I think, is that you are doing the types of exercise that you enjoy, in a format that works for you. In my opinion, all exercise counts. If you want to dance as exercise, go for it. If you like to go for long hikes on weekends, awesome. If you like going to group training classes, register today. If you like running around after the kids playing frisbee, it all counts. Maybe you like lifting heavy weights in personal training sessions. Everyone is different.
Find things you enjoy and aim to be as active as you can be each day. If you have a bad day, don’t dwell on it – just try again the next day. Most of all, try to have fun with it. Try new things with your partner, a friend or your family on the weekends. You never know what you might find that you absolutely LOVE doing! Becoming more active in combination with eating more mindfully should start to show you some changes in your size and shape over time. Once you’ve made a bit more of a habit of being more active, you can start to tweak things a bit to further challenge yourself and your body.