The number-one thing that everybody should agree on (full disclosure: they don’t) is that any movement is better than none.
That is, if you walk your dog, push a grocery cart, haul water or run after the school bus, it all works your body and is better than the alternative.
The reason I’m talking about this now is I’m back to my “default” activity I discovered three years ago, the first time I lost all the weight I’m fighting round-two on.
If you’re going for maximum fitness, you will do well to include weight-training (with serious weights that you have to think about) on a regular basis. If you’re going for best use of time for a “cardio” activity, you’ll do intervals on whatever device (bicycle, treadmill, city block) you’ve committed to.
But if what you like is neither of those highly efficient forms of exercise, it still has value.
What is the best form of exercise for you? The one you keep doing.
For me that’s walking. Treadmill walking. The kind of exercise a bunch of people I respect say will gradually become useless, because my body will adapt and “efficiently” skip seeing it as exercise.
I’ve read some of that research. I’m not disagreeing with their conclusions, but here’s the truth: I am a long way from “efficiency” right now.
So if I ever get so fit that walking can’t get my blood pumping, well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now I’m just enjoying how warm it leaves me for barn chores in the evening.
At -40º I’ll take all the help I can get.
Walking does three things for me that are good for my mental health as well as my physical health.
- It give me a chance to be alone
- I have a “free” space to read anything I want, or watch a show, guilt- and obligation-free. (This is why I prefer the treadmill.)
- The repetitious bilateral (left-right-left-right) activity is theorized to strengthen the brain’s integration of both sides (an intriguing theory to me, especially thinking a lot lately about how the left and right sides balance one another in terms of attitude). Basically, the idea is the continual, even activity may help even out some of the inequality that exists within the brain.
Dunno if such “evening” is actually possible, but it’s a cool idea, and adds potential value to a simple activity.
- And I just plain feel more rooted after walking.
The point is, do what you can. As often as you can. And think about how you feel. This is to take care of yourself, so don’t let it derail that effort.
If you’re still tired from your previous workout when it’s time for the next one, take a day off.
If you feel more hungry, eat more within your HEP.
Never use exercise as an excuse to eat junk (you’ll never guess the ratio right, speaking statistically), but remember to fuel your body.
Exercise is asking your body to do more. Don’t punish it by then expecting it to subsist on less than it did with less activity.