Which exercise will you choose?

by Stuart Keene

Hello again readers! I hope you’ve all had an active week, or at least began a new routine or started planning a new one. Cricket training for me has been a major aspect of my exercise regime for many years. For those who are not familiar with the ins and outs of cricket practice, it can be quite strenuous depending on your aims for the session. I’ve always been a bowler which requires short sprint bursts, with an explosive action at the end. Top this with fielding and batting practice, you can be thoroughly exhausted after two hours.

However, in recent times bowling has finally taken a toll on my body and I have suffered from a knee meniscus problem, along with shin and foot issues. This season will most definitely be my last competitive one (maybe, probably) and I need to begin finding other ways to keep up my physical activity. Even from an exercise specialist’s point of view, I’m finding it fairly difficult. Team sports, and sports in general has always been my thing. I work in gyms, but quite honestly do not enjoy the atmosphere of them. So, what else is there?

A major drawcard to get people into a regular exercise routine is by getting into it with a partner/friend/family member. At my workplace, we encourage our clients (primarily male) to bring their wives free of charge. This has been an excellent strategy for several reasons. The main feedback I’ve received is that they feel responsible for bringing the other person along to the gym. If one person is feeling a bit lackadaisical, the other strongly points them in the right direction, until eventually it becomes part of their daily routine, rather than an extra chore.

If you are struggling to get into an exercise routine, why not invite a friend to join you? Do not be afraid if they are fitter/stronger/healthier than you, because being the wonderful friend that they are, they will most likely love to help you through the process and slow down when necessary.

Most people will think of the gym when they hear exercise, but there are so many other choices. Team sports are a wonderful medium to get back into exercise. Being in that team environment can be a bit daunting to begin with, but the fun factor will eventually override those fears in addition to the social interaction. Certainly one advantage sport has over gyms is the variations week to week. For many people, the monotony of gyms can become tiresome, so why not mix it up to keep that enjoyment of your exercise sky high?

For those without hugely sporty backgrounds, more gentle exercise could be your thing. Yoga and pilates have become massively popular forms of exercise, and for good reason. Don’t get me wrong, they are not EASY but they do avoid the high intensity that could be a foreign, and unwanted, feeling for some. There are many beginner classes and the better instructors will guide you through at a pace and level that is appropriate.

Swimming and hydrotherapy (do not get the two confused), are useful tools for both the rehabilitation setting and for general exercise. Most major towns and cities have heated pools now too so there is no excuse to avoid water in the cooler months! Freestyle, backstroke, butterfly and breast stroke are widely known and are fantastic forms of cardiovascular exercise. However, these may not be appropriate for people with certain injuries, or simply because you are a bit unco! This doesn’t mean you should give up on the water though. Simply walking on the bottom of a pool at pace can get the heart rate racing. You can actually perform any type of exercise in the water, but without the excess strain on the joints, making it a wonderful rehabilitation tool.

Love gyms but don’t have the time or the money? Buy yourself some home exercise equipment. You do not need an entire garage these days either to give yourself a decent kit. Elastic resistance bands are more than okay as replacements for dumbbells if you want to do it on the cheap or to save space. There are countless treadmills/bikes/x-trainers/rowers for sale online to choose from before you go to the shops.

Finally, simple ol’ walking or jogging could be the choice for you. You can put as much effort in as you like, it is relatively easy on the joints, gets you out in the fresh air (treadmills excluded), helps relieve stress/anxiety and most importantly gets that cardiovascular exercise we all need. If I was to prescribe one exercise for someone for the rest of their lives, it would be walking. As soon as we lose our ability to walk independently, our health dramatically decreases.

So, what form of exercise/s will you choose? Next week we will look at the clinical recommendations of exercise for various populations. Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type (FITT).

If you have any questions regarding today’s segment or anything else related, please don’t hesitate to comment below or shoot me an email stuart [at] toowoombaep [dot] com [dot] au