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The Most Effective Exercise

Have the right motivation – know “why” you’re exercising.

The most effective exercise is the one that you will do… and do so consistently… and are able to do safely. There is no single exercise that is perfect for everyone, so what is effective will differ for each.

So, let’s take one point at a time.

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ex·er·cise /ˈeksərˌsīz/ noun
Activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.

What is your “why?”

Firstly, the most effective exercise being the one that you will do. You know, as well as I, that just because you are capable of doing a movement, does not mean that you will. Execution begins in your head. Not just knowing what the movement is and how to do it, but deciding to engage the muscle to action. This means you must want to and the “want to” comes from your “why.” When exercising, your “why” most likely is not a sense of immediate satisfaction, but rather the long-term achievement or goal. After all, the immediate sense could be of feeling awkward and that the move is difficult to do. The doing may cause you to get winded and uncomfortable. Later in the day, you may feel tired and sore because of the exercise.

But none of these are the “why.” These thoughts and feelings could actually deter you from going on. Bring your thoughts into focus. Focus on “why” you are doing the movement and what you will gain. If you do the exercise, you will lose unwanted fat, you will become proficient in the movement and you will be healthier. Might that mean that your jeans will fit the way you like? Maybe it means you will be able to get on the floor and play with your kids or grandkids. Or will you simply feel more confident? You’ve got to know what your end goal is. Know WHY you are doing the exercise.

Execute your plan

The most effective exercise is the one you will do consistently. Now that you have your WHY, you must execute the plan to get to the goal. With any exercise it will take consistency to reach the prize and keep it. When you are consistent, you get results. Remember to keep your Why in front of you and you will want to move towards it.

For example, I am not a big fan of sweets BUT I love seasonal fruit pies. I could easily eat a slice of pie with each meal of every day. How is that for consistency? But, if I did that, my result would be an unhealthy body and low self-esteem. I would enjoy the pie in the moment, but it would derail me from my goals for my health so it would not have been worth it. Conversely, I may not always feel like working out, and it might seem hard in the moment, but doing so consistently gives me the results I want and it’s totally worth it!

Be consistent and be safe

The most effective exercise is the one that you will do consistently, but also the one you can do safely. Every person has a different body and each functions differently. Additionally, your body may have a situation that is more unique to you. Some situations, like extra tight musculature or poor posture, can be corrected. Other situations, such as chronic disease, cannot so you must take them into consideration. Do what is safe for you. How do you know what that is? Be sure to get regular health assessments. If you have a chronic condition, you MUST heed the advice of your doctor. If you are not confident with what the doctor prescribes, then get a second opinion, but seek counsel from a professional.

Once you have a clear picture of your health, a Certified Personal Trainer would be able to design a program specifically for you. After all, exerting yourself in a way that is not safe could cause injury and sideline your goals or even keep you from ever reaching them.

Alameda Post - Denise Lum's fresh berry pie
The author makes one of these fresh berry pies almost every week during the summer. Photo Denise Lum

Last thought, if you were feeling sad for me because you thought that I deprive myself of the joy of eating pie, don’t you fret. I enjoy a nice slice of pie every couple of weeks and in the summer, remember I favor seasonal fruit pies, probably two slices a week. I just make it a point to work out consistently… and I am able to, because I do what I enjoy and can safely do. Do the same and before long, you will see the results!

Contributing writer Denise Lum is a Health and Fitness Coach raising her family in Alameda. Contact her via [email protected] or FitnessByDsign.com. Her writing is collected at AlamedaPost.com/Denise-Lum/.

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