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Best form of exercise to start getting into shape.

Updated on March 22, 2010
image taken from and used under Creative Commons- Attribution licence
image taken from and used under Creative Commons- Attribution licence

What's the best form of exercise to start getting into shape?

This a fairly common question you may hear in a conversation at work or on the train, or you may read it on an Internet forum or advice column. Without getting too cynical too early in the article, the responses seem to be a little lacking in objectivity, as people have a tendency to recommend whatever their own preferred activity is, often without taking into account the goals, needs or any complications of the person asking the question.

So I have decided to clear this matter up once and for all, and give you the CORRECT answer to the question! In my opinion, anyway! 

For an overweight person who has made the decision to get back into shape (perhaps on doctor's orders for health reasons) after a long period of inactivity, WALKING is without a doubt the best way to get started.

Why would I say walking, when I work as a Personal Trainer and should be encouraging people into forms of exercise that require a qualified instructor? For an out of shape, unhealthy and inactive person, the idea of beginning an exercise program is a very daunting task. Finding a gym or training studio and choosing the right trainer takes time, and people often have busy schedules (or are just prone to procrastination). Even after making the most firm decision to get into shape, it could take a week or more to find the right trainer in the right location at the right price, and by that time your resolve and enthusiasm may have waned enough that you forget about getting into shape again until the next Doctor's visit!

Walking though, is something almost anyone can get started with, IMMEDIATELY. I'm being serious here. If you've really made the decision to get active, finish reading this article, then shut the computer down and hit the pavement! If it's too late at night to go out, set your alarm a little early tomorrow morning and get a walk in before breakfast.

One of my favourite quotes is “Strike while the iron is hot”, so when you make that decision you need to take some action right away to turn the idea from something you INTEND to start doing, to something you ARE NOW doing.

Simply take a walk around the neighbourhood, most days of the week for as much time as you can spare, up to around an hour. 45 minutes is fine, 20 or even 10 is better than nothing. Push yourself a little and walk as if you're in a bit of a hurry to get somewhere. You can use this time to visualise yourself becoming a more healthy active person, enjoying whatever activities you choose. At the same time, make a decision to lay off the soft drinks (sodas) and junk food, and by the end of the week you WILL (well, you certainly SHOULD) see some results on the scales.

It really is that easy to get started, and taking this simple action will make you more likely to follow through with your plan to find a trainer, join a gym or pursue whatever particular form of exercise you have chosen to reach your fitness goal.

After walking? Or for someone who is just a bit out of shape, and not coming from quite such a severe level of poor health and inactivity? Well, I have two answers for this new question. The first answer is “the best exercise is which ever one you will enjoy the most”, because obviously you will be more inclined to participate regularly, compared to some other activity that you may find unappealing or unpleasant.

But with that being said, people are all different and not everyone will get results from the same forms of exercise. So particularly if you're unlucky enough not to be getting results from your favourite type of exercise, the second answer to the question is “ideally you would participate in a variety of different forms of exercise”.

All forms of exercise are beneficial, so base your fitness routine around which ever is your favourite, but also utilise other activities for the benefits they offer. A good Personal Trainer will be a big help in introducing a variety of activities to create a total health and wellness program, which may consist of cardiovascular, resistance training, stretching and flexibility, postural and biomechanical analysis, boxing and kickboxing training, interval training, nutritional advice and many more effective and enjoyable activities.

For now though, get out and take that walk.

Be active, enthusiastic and make the best of your life!



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